NO LONGER just seen as a workhorse, the humble pick-up truck is in vogue as an active-lifestyle vehicle.

With its double cab set-up and a number of creature comforts, the SsangYong Musso Saracen of 2023 is not just designed to haul bulky goods onto muddy building sites.

Sure, it can still do a hard day’s graft, but the current design allows the Musso to be used as a family vehicle too, seating five people comfortably and being rather more refined than its predecessors.

Indeed, its on-road manners are a pleasant surprise for such a large vehicle, absorbing bumps reasonably well and not feeling too sloppy when cornering. It sits on a platform that’s based on that of the Rexton, which helps the driving characteristics feel more like an SUV than most pick-ups, which is clearly a good thing.

The Bolton News: Musso

It also gets up-to-speed pretty swiftly thanks to an impressive 2.2 litre diesel engine that puts out 202ps and offers a reasonable fuel economy return of 31mpg on the official combined scale.

In terms of torque, a whopping 400Nm is on offer to ensure great versatility of performance. The high levels of torque help to provide a 3.5 tonne towing capacity. It also has a one tonne payload.

Notably, the Musso provides the highest combined total load capacity for any pick-up currently on sale in the UK.

The rear can feature a covered top, or in this case, a roller which encases the payload bay.

The Bolton News: The SsangYong Musso Saracen on test in West Yorkshire

This latest model now offers more power and improved economy. Selectable four-wheel drive allows you to drive in 2WD mode to help save fuel.

Saracen models are equipped with automatic transmission and range change, powered, heated and ventilated front seats and leather trim, climate control, cruise control, privacy glass and parking sensors - with the latter being especially helpful considering the Musso’s length.

There’s also a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with 9.2-inch infotainment console, which are functional if unspectacular. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included.

With these creature comforts, the Musso Saracen is evidence of how far pick-up trucks have come from their utilitarian past.

There’s plenty of space and adjustment for front seat occupants, while rear legroom is excellent.

The Bolton News: The SsangYong Musso Saracen on test in West Yorkshire

The Musso also has a reputation for strong off-road ability, including features such as hill descent control and selectable four-wheel-drive.

Meanwhile a five-year, 150,000 mile warranty underlines SsangYong’s confidence in its durability and reliability.

In terms of looks, an imposing grille, daytime running lights and a nicely sculpted bonnet create a look that’s sufficient for the Musso to appeal more widely. The silver roofrails and side skid plates are a reminder of the vehicle’s rugged capabilities.

The 18-inch alloy wheels provide a nice finishing touch to the vehicle’s overall appearance.

For those in need of more load space, an extended cargo area is being added to the Musso pick-up range with the arrival of Saracen+ models which have an extra 12 inches of load bed length.

The Musso long bed Saracen+ uses the same chassis and platform as its regular double cab variants, but the new-spec Saracen+ has extra volume capacity in the load area.

SSangYong Musso Saracen

PRICE: £32,540

ENGINE: 202ps, 2,157cc, four cylinder diesel engine

TRANSMISSION: Six-speed auto driving all wheels

TOP SPEED: 116mph

ECONOMY: 31.5mpg combined

EMISSIONS: 236g/km

WRRANTY: 5yrs/150,000 miles