2018 SsangYong Musso review: tough workhorse smartens up
SsangYong – Korea’s oldest car brand and 4×4 specialist – is on a bit of a tear at the moment. In quick succession since 2015 it has launched the Tivoli, its extended XLV spin-off, facelifted the Korando mid-sized SUV, launched an all-new Rexton, revealed an all-electric concept vehicle and staged a one-make pick-up truck racing championship. Now, to finish off a busy few years it is preparing to launch an all-new version of the Musso pick-up.
Ahead of the truck’s official UK launch later this year we got a drive in a pre-production model to see how it stacks up. The Musso is actually based on the same architecture as the new Rexton and that’s immediately obvious from the outside. It shares the Rexton’s front end – tall, square and no-nonsense. It’s only once you get past the front doors that it changes, with a standard double-cab setup ahead of the pick-up bed.
- Price: TBC
- Engine: 2.2-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
- Torque: 310lb/ft
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Top speed: TBC
- 0-62mph: TBC
- Economy: TBC
- CO2 emissions: TBC
As with the exterior, the interior is essentially carried over from the Rexton. The Rexton moved SsangYong on massively in terms of interior quality and it does the same for the Musso. Out has gone the brittle plastics and a dashboard that looked like it had been arranged in the dark and in has come a clean, simple cabin with good looking and feeling switchgear a modern eight-inch infotainment system. The seats are big and comfortable, there’s loads of adjustment to get comfortable and rear legroom in the double cab is decent. It’s also astonishingly quiet. Road, wind and engine noise is amazingly suppressed for the segment, offer car-like levels of sound insulation.
The interior not only moves the new Musso a long way from the old one but also puts it ahead of several key rivals. It looks and feel nicer than the likes of the Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara, if not quite up to the standard of the VW Amarok. That gap to the VW is at least partly excused by the price difference. An Amarok with its big 3.0-litre V6 engine starts at £25,500 before VAT. The Musso will cost from less than £20,000 for commercial customers when it goes on sale this summer. For that you’ll get a 2.2-litre diesel (it’s the only option) and a six-speed manual transmission with selectable four-wheel-drive and high- and low-ratio. Specs are still to be confirmed but a six-speed auto gearbox, the eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, six airbags, heated and ventilated seats and Nappa leather will be among the features on offer.
The Musso is one of only a few pick-ups to come with multilink rear suspension as standard. It’s more advanced than the traditional leaf springs and offers a slightly more controlled ride, especially when unladen. It’s still clearly a pick-up, though, fidgeting and jiggling on dodgy road surfaces. That can be helped by filling the deep load bed with whatever you need to haul. It’ll carry a tonne of cargo and, as with most rivals can tow up to 3,500kg. That heavy-duty ability, the low list price and a segment-leading seven-year warranty make the Musso an impressive proposition for buyers in the market for a well-equipped workhorse.