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Read and compare reviews on the Ssangyong Rhino XL 2019 Model from top New Zealand automotive journalists on trusted websites.

2019 Ssangyong Rhino XL review – Rhino goes large

SsangYong Rhino XL nzautocar review


Ssangyong has introduced its beefier Rhino XL with added length to help it better compete with the big boys of the ute market. We measure it up.

Your starter for ten this month; which species of Rhinoceros is the largest? Those knowledgeable on the Rhinocerotidae family will answer the white rhino, at least among the extant species, but the correct answer is the sub-species from South Korea, the SsangYong Rhino, and in particular, the new XL.

While a male white rhino can measure just over four metres in length, SsangYong’s new Rhino XL variant stretches the tape measure out to 5405mm overall. With the stretch, the Rhino XL becomes the biggest in the class. Only just though, but hey, every millimetre counts when you’re comparing length, and it means SsangYong has both a short- and long- wheelbase ute to please a wider range of customers. SsangYong sees the XL as more a working rig while the SWB Rhino is aimed at those who use a ute’s capability occasionally.

While the regular Rhino isn’t exactly small at 5095mm in length, its tray is significantly shorter than the rest. So the XL gets a much larger box on the back, and also a stretch of wheelbase to accommodate it. They’ve added 110mm of steel to the ladder chassis (the wheelbase now out to 3210mm), and the XL is 310mm longer overall. There are no changes in the cab dimensions; the extra length is given over to the tray area alone. And so the quoted tray length numbers go from 1300mm to 1610 for the XL.

First drive: SsangYong Rhino, a rival for the ute establishment?

SsangYong Rhino XL driven review


The further one strays from the beaten path, the more likely they are to discover surprise.

The further one strays from the beaten path, the more likely they are to discover surprise.

Taupo’s Kitenui Deer Farm isn’t far from civilisation, but it sure feels that way. Acres of beautiful rolling hills, enough wild life to humble Noah’s Arc, and a cabin in the centre of it all lined with old guns, paintings, and pairs of antlers as far as the eye could see. It was here that we’d meet two of the most interesting people in New Zealand.

The first was property owner Murray Matuschka; farmer, artist, avid hunter, and someone brimming with fascinating tales — like when Burt Reynolds stopped by for a visit.

“Old Burt. I know he’s dead now, but he was quite funny.”

The second was conservation advocate Jamie Joseph who chases justice for rhino poachers in Africa with her Saving the Wild organisation. This involves crossing the enormous continent, exposing rhino horn trading syndicates and corrupt officials. An incredible pursuit, worlds away from the regulation lives most of us lead.

With all the enthralling stories, it was easy to forget that we had a vehicle to drive; the new SsangYong Rhino double-cab ute.

It’s fair to say that while SsangYong has come a long way, the brand’s standing in the Kiwi marketplace still sits well behind its Korean brethren. But, led by the recently replaced Rexton and now the new Rhino, it’s hoped a resurgence is on the cards.

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