Big-value, second-generation SsangYong Musso pick-up has capacity to surprise
PUBLISHED: 08:51 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:51 19 July 2018
SsangYong's second-generation Musso pick-up offers loads of value for customers and loads of promise for the up-and-coming Korean brand in its drive to boost its UK image and sales, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
The Musso pick-up is a commercial vehicle but has a key role in driving SsangYong’s UK registrations.
The up-and-coming Korean specialist in SUVs, crossovers and 4x4s, aims to more than double its 3,590 registrations in 2017 over the next couple of years, ultimately targeting 10,000.
UK pick-up registrations topped 51,000 last year but there are only half a dozen players so SsangYong is looking to grow sales.
Enter the new Musso – Korean for rhino – which can beat or strongly compete in the sector. It has a payload up to 1,095kg, can tow up to the benchmark 3.5 tonnes, class-leading total load capacity of up to 6.75 tonnes, a powerful 181PS engine, leads with a seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty and is better equipped but priced around 10pc lower than most rivals.
Looks and image
The bold, muscular Musso is a monster pick-up, larger than its predecessor in every dimension. Based on the all-new flagship Rexton SUV with which its shares platform, engine and running gear, it’s far more stylish than the previous Korando Sports-based model.
Those SUV underpinnings also pay dividends in the way it drives because, as workhorse leisure vehicles go, the Musso is extremely civilised.
Under the bonnet
Just the one 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
With 181PS and 400Nm of torque from 1,400 to 2,800rpm, the Musso has the heart for hard work. It pulls strongly from low revs, with mid-range punch to get past slower traffic swiftly and safely, cruises quietly at 70mph and, even worked hard, is not coarse.
I’d recommend paying £1,250 for automatic transmission because, despite the manual box having a precise shift, the auto can pull 3.5 rather than 3.2 tonnes, only loses 10kg on payload at 1,085kg and more pleasant to drive.
How it drives
Car-like double wishbone front suspension and rear coil springs make it ride like an SUV, coping with grotty surfaces in its stride. But the back end is fidgety with the stiff rear suspension unladen – it felt more planted with a 700kg load.
There’s the inevitable body lean tackling twisty roads, but the precise steering has good feedback, and the Musso’s limiting factor is sheer bulk.
That said, for a pick-up with serious off-road hardware, it’s capable on road and impressive off it, swapping rear-wheel drive for selectable four-wheel drive with high and low ratios.
Space and comfort
Offered only as a double cab, front passengers are looked after well in a smart cabin very similar to the Rexton.
Headroom is also generous in the back and there’s ample legroom for six-footers unless those up front slide their seats right back. The rear bench is wide enough to take three comfortably.
The 1,300mm long cargo deck, complete with load liner and tie-down hooks, is now bigger – with plans for a long wheelbase 1,700mm version – and will take a Euro pallet between the wheel arches. A fold-down tailgate eases loading large loads.
At the wheel
The fascia is straight out of the range-topping Rexton with soft-touch materials high up on contact points. It’s functional rather than fussy –nothing wrong with that – with clear instruments and simple heating and ventilation controls you could use in work gloves.
The Musso is big but drivers don’t need to be to get comfortable with good seat and steering wheel adjustment.
Four trims are offered – EX, Rebel, Saracen and fully-loaded 100-model limited edition Rhino.
EX gets 17in alloys wheels, DAB/Bluetooth, six airbags, electric windows, remote central locking, air-con and auto lights and wipers.
Rebel adds 18in wheels, roof rails, eight-inch audio infotainment, reversing camera, heated and ventilated front seats and heated wheel and side steps.
Saracen has soft Nappa leather seats, powered front seats, heated rear seats, 9.2in screen with TomTom sat-nav, upgraded headlights, cruise control, metal front skid plate and chrome side steps, rear corner bars, mirrors and door handles.
SsangYong, still an anonymous brand for many people, is striving to build its image and all-round value products like the new Musso will help drive that, along with sales.
SPEC AND TECH
Price (excluding VAT): SsangYong Musso EX £19,995; Rebel £22,495; Saracen £24,995; Rhino £28,495
Engine: 2,157cc, 181PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel with part-time 4WD
Top speed: Six-speed manual 121mph (six-speed auto 115mph)
MPG: Urban 29.1; extra urban 40.1; combined 35.8 (25.9, 39.2, 32.9)
CO2 emissions: 211g/km (226g/km)
Insurance groups: 40 to 42 TBC (out of 50)
Warranty: Seven years or 150,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 5,095mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,175mm; H 1,840mm