DUE to the current financial state of play, there's no denying the fact that those searching for a new vehicle will be determined to get maximum value for their hard-earned cash.
And that is where less lavish brands such as SsangYong could make a real dent in the market.
The Korean manufacturer has a reputation for developing great off-road vehicles with an attractive price-tag and the latest example of this thought process is the long-wheel base version of the Musso double-cab pick-up truck.
Despite being one of the least expensive on the market, it boasts class-leading towing and load capacity limits.
And it's those factors that not only appeal to businesses needing a workhorse of a vehicle, but also to families who want a trusty model to tow their heavy caravans or horseboxes around the country.
The pick-up sector has certainly grown in popularity in recent years with more and more models flooding the market and even the likes of Mercedes throwing its hat in the ring with the mighty X-Class.
Many see these versatile vehicles as a good alternative to SUVs with similar amounts of practicality and maybe a little more character.
And the Musso Rhino offers the best of both worlds with world class off-road, towing and payload ability matched to SUV comfort, on-board tech and driving dynamics.
The Musso line-up starts from £21,995 (excluding VAT), but our range-topping LWB Musso Rhino model cost £29,995.
It was powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine delivering 181ps with 420Nm of torque and mated to an Aisin six-speed automatic gearbox. It could reach 62mph from a standstill in 11.9 seconds with a top speed of 107mph, while delivering a combined 28.2mpg with 262g/km of carbon emissions under WLTP testing.
Viewed from any angle, the Musso looks imposing and ready for the challenges ahead with its muscular, athletic stance and a bold front end that is becoming more recognisable these days thanks to a distinctive grille, LED daytime running lights and sporty fog lights. There are black side steps, roof rails, rear privacy glass, plus 17-inch alloys and ‘Rhino' graphics to complete the styling.
Climb inside and the interior is beautifully refined as well as being packed with all the latest technology and infotainment systems imaginable.
The Musso takes its inspiration from SsangYong's upmarket Rexton SUV and that means it is kitted out with a wealth of high-end kit, including a 9.2-inch high-definition screen with TomTom navigation, power-adjustable premium nappa leather front seats that can be heated or cooled, heated rear seats, a rear-view camera and Bluetooth.
There is smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, one of the easiest cruise control systems around, automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, along with chunky, robust controls and levers.
As the Musso sits on the same platform as the highly-impressive Rexton, it delivers all the ride comfort of an SUV with nice agility out on the open road, along with fairly light steering which helps when manoeuvring the vehicle which measures 5.4 metres in length and weighs in at 2.26 tonnes.
The road holding impresses with limited body lean into bends. In fact, at times it's very easy to forget you're driving a pick-up, which again is testament to the ride and handling qualities this model delivers.
It eats away at motorway miles with ease which will be good news for caravanners and maybe not such good news for the rest of us! But it proves this Musso is a very multi-talented all-rounder.
Comfort levels are of a high standard with a well-insulated cabin shielding occupants from any engine, road surface or wind noise. The Musso LWB vehicle is also fitted with an upgraded suspension system that smooths out most uneven road surfaces and this model drives just as well unladed as it does with a full load in the back.
There is ample space within the cabin - which is one of the largest in class - for five adults to sit comfortably with USB ports to plug in mobile devices and there are plenty of handy storage compartments scattered around for stowing away bits and pieces.
When it comes to practical demands, the Musso Rhino won't falter with the ability to carry a one-tonne payload while towing a caravan weighing 3.5-tonne at the same time.
It's also worth noting that the SsangYong is the only pick-up offered with a seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty which goes some way to showing the company's confidence in its vehicle's reliability and durability.
SsangYong has drawn on its years of off-roading expertise to develop the four-wheel drive system on the Musso. To maximise efficiency and fuel economy, the vehicle features a selectable 4WD system with power permanently delivered to the rear wheels and the front wheel drive introduced when required. There is also a low ratio setting for more demanding terrains.
Safety features are comprehensive with the likes of anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability programme, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, blind spot detection, tyre pressure monitoring, Isofix fixtures and a full suite of airbags.
If I were to go searching for things to criticise then the light steering is not so welcome on faster country lanes where a little more weight and feedback would be nice. And my other minor gripe after driving at night was the slight reflective glare in the rear windscreen caused by the infotainment screen. But they are my only real complaints after a week piling on the miles in the pick-up.
All in all, the SsangYong Musso Rhino is the ideal all-rounder for anyone looking for a practical, yet refined vehicle capable of tackling off-road challenges while still looking good enough to venture out on the school run.
It can also put in a full day's graft when required too. Little wonder then that it has scooped an array of ‘best-value pick-up' awards over the last couple of years.
£29,995 (excluding VAT)
181ps, 2,157cc, 4-cylinder, diesel engine driving all four wheels via 6-speed automatic transmission
£3,490 set fee for all pick-up trucks
7 yrs/150,000 miles