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Musso-ing in on a growing sector

January 2019

How to define value-for money?
SsangYong’s Musso pick-up does exactly that and delivers far more than you might expect.
Roy Woodcock reports

APPLY the description value-for-money to any car and you run the risk of potential buyers jumping to the wrong conclusion. “So, pretty basic then,” is one of the kinder comments you’ll get, coupled with suggestions that said vehicle will be devoid of any of life’s motoring luxuries.
Korean company SsangYong is saddled with that value-for-money image and, in fact, proudly uses it when talking about any of the vehicles in their range. But don’t for one moment think you’re getting saddled with the equivalent of a motoring hair shirt. Far from it. 
Take the new SsangYong Musso pick-up, which I enjoyed driving when it was first unveiled back in July.
I’ve since spent a week driving one on the roads of East Yorkshire, which has confirmed my view that it is a highly-impressive vehicle that deserves to do well in an expanding sector of the market.
Yes, it’s value-for-money, with prices starting from £19,995 (ex VAT), but there are plenty of creature comforts that come as standard, with more and more luxury as you go up the range. Importantly, it can handle any terrain and any heavy work you can throw at it into the bargain.
SsangYong may be the least visible of the Korean brands here in the UK(after Kia and Hyundai) but importantly, for potential pick-up purchasers, it is the country’s only specialist SUV and 4X4 manufacturer so has an impressive track record when it comes to producing models like the Musso.
And the company has backed its faith in the model by introducing a sector-leading, seven-year/150,000-mile warranty.
Designed to carry passengers in comfort and transport loads securely, the SUV-based Musso combines a five-seat crew-cab body style with a workman-like load deck that will take a full-sized Euro pallet. It also carries a payload of more than one tonne and tows trailers of up to 3.5 tonnes concurrently, to give the highest total load capacity in the segment.
This combination of utility pick-up and SUV means Musso offers the perfect blend of functionality, practicality, performance and comfort to the driver and family or workmates.
Perhaps its only major downside is it will be expensive to run, given its fuel economy figures and high emissions.
Being robust and workman-like is no longer good enough for pick-up trucks, with customers looking for a working vehicle that also looks good.

The exterior design of the Musso gives the vehicle a bold and muscular stance and adopts the purposeful front-end design of all new SsangYong vehicles.
They also want comfort and expect high kit levels, particularly if this is going to be used as a “lifestyle” vehicle. The Musso won’t disappoint here, either.
It’s a bold, but true statement that the Musso probably has the best rear seats of any pick-up I’ve driven. Remarkably well-equipped, there are three styles of seat upholstery, including soft-textured nappa leather seats on top-line models.
Most models feature heated front seats, which, on the top models, are also ventilated and electrically-operated to make long journeys more pleasant whatever the temperature, together with a leather-covered and heated steering wheel, which will be greatly appreciated on a bitterly cold winter’s morning.
All models feature an advanced infotainment system that includes DAB radio, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come with the middle and top specification models, as does a rear-view reversing camera.
Everything is displayed on either an 8in screen or a 9.2in screen with Tom Tom navigation on the top models. Carbon nano-tube front speakers, front-door tweeters and rear-door speakers are also fitted.  The range starts with the Musso EX, which comes with 17in alloy wheels, a DAB audio/Bluetooth system, six airbags, electric windows, remote central locking that includes the tailgate, manual air-conditioning,
automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers and a full-sized spare wheel.
Musso Rebel (£22,495, ex VAT), as driven here, is up next and adds 18in alloy wheels, roof rails, floor mats, an 8in smart audio infotainment system with Google CarPlay and Android Auto, a rear-view reversing camera, leather-look seats, front seats that are both heated and ventilated, heated leather steering wheel, black side steps and Rebel graphics.
Top of the pile is the Musso Saracan (£24,995, ex VAT) with its 18in black alloy wheels and nappa leather seats, with power-adjustable driver’s and front passenger seats and heated rear seats. There’s a bigger (9.2in) screen with TomTom navigation, automatic projection headlamps and LED positioning lights, cruise control, metal front skid plate, bright finished tubular side steps, bright rear corner bars, bright
finished mirrors and door handles and Saracen graphics.
Derived from SsangYong’s successful Rexton, chosen by 4x4 Magazine as their “4x4 of the Year”, the new Musso powertrain employs a 2.2 litre turbo diesel engine manufactured by SsangYong, which delivers maximum power of 181PS and torque of 400Nm.
This highly efficient, quiet and roven e-XDi220 engine delivers progressive acceleration from a standing start, and strong low-end torque typical of SsangYong power units. It proved remarkably quiet under everyday driving conditions and felt very car-like.
The car’s four-wheel drive system features a selectable 4x4 system with power delivered permanently to the rear wheels, and front wheel drive dialled in electronically as required, with high and low ratios available as on and off-road conditions demand.
The system includes hill descent control and hill start assist to provide optimum grip, traction and safetyand, although I didn’t get to test the Musso off-road this time, when I completed a challenging course at the time the vehicle was launched, it proved able to cope with the most difficult terrain.
With SsangYong sounding very bullish in the UK right now, determined to add more new models to its range and build its network of dealerships, this new pick-up is a worthy torch-bearer. Value-for-money? Most certainly. Spartan? Anything but.

Model: SsangYong Musso Rebel
Engine: 2157cc, 4-cylinder diesel engine developing 181PS at 4000rpm and 400Nm of torque between 1400 and 2800rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual gearbox driving all four wheels
Performance: Maximum speed: 121mph
co2 emissions rating: 226g/km
economy: In town, 29.1mpg; out of town, 40.9mpg; overall, 35.8mpg
Warranty: 7 years/150,000 miles
Price: £22,495 (ex-VAT). Range from £19,995
Web: www.ssangyonggb.co.uk

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