Seoul, South Korea - Ssangyong is a little known, if somewhat obscure player in the world of pick-up trucks.

The South Korean manufacturer, currently owned by Mahindra, has been building SUV-based double cabs for almost 20 years and it even ditched leaf springs for comfier coils long before Nissan’s Navara hit the headlines for essentially doing the same thing.

But let’s be frank here, the Musso and Acton Sports double cab bakkies got more than just a few whacks from that so-called ugly stick.

But the SUV specialist is back for another stab at the double cab market just as things are heating up with various new arrivals, including Merc’s much-hyped X-Class, and though the jury is still out on the styling of this latest entrant, it is certainly a big step in the right direction in our opinion.

The new Rexton Sports, which goes on sale in South Korea shortly, takes Ssangyong’s bakkie effort a notch or two upmarket by, quite sensibly, basing it on the latest Rexton SUV.

The Rexton Sports will also be sold in Europe as the Musso, but currently it's unclear whether the new double cab will ever make its way to South Africa. A contact at Mahindra SA told us that there are currently no plans to import the Rexton Sports, but that its introduction at a later date could not be ruled out either. Ssangyong’s local operations have been scaled down in recent times, with only a single Korando derivative currently listed in the price guide.

Like the SUV that it’s based on, the Rexton Sports is powered by a 133kW 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, with buyers also having a choice between rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive.

The interior looks plush, by bakkie standards at least, with Ssangyong offering two-tone leather, trendy soft-touch dashboard surfaces with exposed stitching and a modern touch-screen infotainment hub.

But would you actually consider this over a Hilux, Ranger or KB? Let us know by dropping a comment on our Facebook page

IOL Motoring