July 18, 2019

Musso raises the stakes

SsangYong believes its new Musso could be a gamechanger. And it could be right, says Simon Tooth.

SsangYong has unveiled its all-new Musso pick-up with a competitive price point and extended warranty. While the sub-£20k entry level and seven-year warranty will help, it’s the vehicle itself that should go a long way to strengthening the SsangYong brand in the UK.

The Musso – the Korean word for rhino – is built on the same platform as the new Rexton SUV, launched at the end of last year. While the pick-up it replaces was not a bad vehicle, the new Musso is a match for the likes of Isuzu’s DMax, Mitsubsihi’s L200 and Nissan’s Navara – all competent, practical workhorses. Musso is that too, with the added benefit of that keen pricing and extended warranty.

Payload is a little over 1-tonne and with a total trailer capacity of 3.5-tonnes (auto; 3.2-tonnes manual) concurrently, SsangYong is claiming the highest total load capacity in its segment.

The Musso has been scaled up in every dimension. Now a little more than 5m long, it has a load bed length of 1,300mm and width of 1,570mm. It’s deeper too, at 570mm, and takes a Euro pallet with no problem.

Inside the roomy cab, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity feature across the range, while all but the entry level model comes with an infotainment system that includes an 8” screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and wi-fi mirroring, or 9.2” screen with TomTom navigation on top-of-the-range models. Only available as a double cab, legroom in the rear is adequate although taller passengers might find space a little restricted.

The Musso’s styling matches its increased dimensions. It’s no shrinking violet and options like sidesteps and black alloys only increase its presence. It’s a good-looking pick-up with only an occasional lapse into chrome that looks a little out of place.

It is powered across the range by the same 2.2-litre engine found in the Rexton. This delivers a respectable 181hp and is available with either a six-speed manual or an optional Aisin six-speed auto (£1,250 + VAT). To optimise fuel economy, the truck has power delivered permanently to the rear wheels with the addition of front wheel drive selected electronically as required, with high and low ratios available as on and off-road conditions demand.

The Musso took an admittedly bone dry off-road route in its stride, the hill descent control system seemingly gaining in confidence the steeper the slope, treacherous not because of mud but a layer of long, dried grass. It was impressive too on tight turns on narrow tracks, surprisingly nimble despite its bulk. 

We’ve come to expect car-like levels of refinement in pick-ups and, on the road and without a load, the Musso is as quiet and comfortable as many of its top end competitors.

The new Rexton has been well-received and with its new Musso, SsangYong has raised its game still further.