We had a chance to drive the SsangYong Musso in early 2019 & in the short time we had it, just 60 minutes, we came away impressed. A longer loan was arranged with SsangYong HQ & we had the opportunity to drive it for a week in the Autumn of 2019. This we felt would give us a more comprehensive overview of the Musso. Would the longer loan still leave us convinced by the Musso ? Read on to find out.
As the pick-up market grows, so too does the choice of pick-up’s for customers. Whilst previous Musso’s were distinctly average in the sector, the latest version, launched at the end of 2018 makes a far better fist of appealing both to the user-chooser business owner & the pick-up workhorse customer.
There are three models in the range. Musso EX, Musso Rebel & Musso Saracen, with an excellent value for money price range of £19,995 for the EX, £22,495 for the Rebel & £24,995 for the Saracen, al plus VAT.
We tested the range topping Saracen, which share’s much of it’s design & layout with the SsangYong SUV the Rexton, which really is a good thing. Looks-wise though, the Musso is a chunky, narrow-windowed vehicle, sharing the basic pick-up look of the sector, but with smaller running plates & a higher rear end.
Buyers get a very car-like interior & SUV ambience with the Saracen, with the interior featuring Nappa leather upholstery, heated & cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, central locking including the tailgate, 18″ alloys, auto lights & cruise control. There’s a standout 9.2″ touchscreen infotainment system with SatNav, DAB, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. It’s all screwed together well & also feels built to last. It’s not as posh inside as the Volkswagen Amarok or Mercedes-Benz X-Class, but matches the cabins of the established market leaders, the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara & lower specced Ford Ranger.
The only thing it lacks is lacks is some of it’s competitor’s safety features. When compared to say the latest Mitsubishi L200, the Muso is found wanting. All models do come with six airbags, but there’s no automatic emergency braking, road sign recognition or blindspot assistance. If you want these then you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The cabin features an Aux-in socket & a USB outlet in the console, which I connected my i Phone to, to utilise Apple CarPlay. The screen also displays the rear camera image, which is really useful, as the Musso is a large vehicle. Bluetooth phone connection was simple & fast & handsfree calls were achieved via the steering wheel controls. The cabin is spacious, with loads of room up front. In the rear too, three adults will find it pretty comfortable a long as the front passengers don’t push the electrically adjusted seats too far back. Up front,there’s a storage area under the front armrest, a lockable glove box, two large door pockets & a small tray in front of the gear lever for odds & ends.
The Musso range comes with just one engine, which is a 2.2-litre diesel with 179bhp & 295lb/ft of torque. Our Saracen model was fitted with a six-speed auto gear box, which makes life on the road very easy indeed. Lower spec versions are fitted with a six-speed manual box.
To try & cancel out that unladen load area pick-up bounce, the Musso has a multi-link setup in place of more old-fashioned leaf spring arrangement. In theory this should reduce the harder rear passenger ride & to be fair to SsangYong, it works to a point.
The Rexton underpinnings, mean that the Musso is quiet on the road like an SUV & with it’s low centre of gravity, body roll is kept to a minimum. The steering is light for such a large vehicle & on the motorway in particular the Musso is pleasure to be in. Over undulating winding country roads the Musso is also appealing, again handling more like a large SUV than a pick-up, but, on anything bumpy or pot-holed, the rear passengers in particular, will experience an uncomfortable ride. Of course, we spent our entire week with our test vehicle unladen & I have no doubt that if laden, the shuddering would be reduced, but if I was going to be picky, this is the only thing that lets’s the Musso down. Having said that, this is problem in most if not all pick-up’s, so don’t let that put you off.
For this of you reading this who want to know how useful the Musso is as a workhorse, read on. The maximum official payload is 1,095kg for the manual & 1,085mm for the automatic.The Musso will also tow 3.5 tonnes of braked trailer & will do so with a tonne in the load bed, giving it a gross train weight of 6,750kg, which is very impressive. It’s equipped with a selectable 4WD system; 2Hi, 4Hi & 4Low, but doesn’t feature a diff-lock, although there is a traction control system which should come in useful. The load bed measures 1300mm in length, by a maximum width of 1500mm & comes with a load height of 765mm. Ssangyong also offers an impressive seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty. Fuel economy on the Saracen auto is a claimed 32.9 mpg, with our week in it seeing us return 27.9mpg.
That SUV driving set-up does have some negatives when you need to venture off-road. The 22.8° approach, 23.4 departure & 20.3° ramp-over angles are low, with the wading depth of 350mm the lowest in the sector.
Overall, the bumpy rear ride & the lack of safety equipment really are the only negatives we could find in what is, when compared to the competition, an incredibly good value for money as well as competent pick-up.
In conclusion, a week in the Musso proved what 60 minutes had already demonstrated, it’s really very good & well worth considering as a towing & on-road worker.