This latest tough and powerful model shows that the Korean manufacturer is a force to be reckoned with, says Steve Teale
Korea is certainly a rising force in the motoring world. Kia and Hyundai are established and ex-panding at a rate of knots and now SsangYong is catching up quicldy.
Yes, SsangYong. The name might not be quite as familiar as its rivals and its quirkyvehicles haven't always been to Europe-an tastes but it seemsthings are changing.
Tested here is Muss o, a pick-up truck which starts at under £20,000. Incredible when you look at the prices some of its ri-vals charge.
So, how does SsangYong do it? You might imagine it turns out a slapdash, poorly equipped model? Well, you would be wrong. Musso isn't perfect but forE19,995itis a terrific car and well equipped.
The test model is Rebel, which is midway up in the range. It costs £22,495 excluding VAT - well, this is aimed at the commercial market.
It is powered by a splendid 2.2 litre diesel engine which is smooth and powerful. Ride and handling is fabulous for a pick-up -much better than you might expect from any truck, let alone an affordable one.
It is a chunky, smart-look-ingfive-seaterwhichhas a one-tonne payload and can tow 3.5 tonnes. It is the cheapest pick-up in its class andhas one of the largest cabins.
It also comes with a seven-yearosopoo mile warranty. If you doubt SsangYong's quality, then this should be some com-fort. But don't doubt the quality forthis is a solid, dependableve-hide.
It is built on the same plat-form as the Rexton and it looks and drives like an SUV. One minor fault. It stalls ever so easily if you don't have quite enough revs.
And it takes a few seconds to warm up from cold for the ignition button to fire. If you were being really picky you might find the plastics of the cabin a little cheaper than some of its rivals but that has to be balanced against the fact that the fascia is beautifully laid out.
SsangYong might be a rela-tive new brand to us but it has been making 4x4 vehicles for more than 6o years. It can carry a Euro pallet in the loadbay - a benchmark for vehicles of this class - and it can tow 3.5 tonnes, which mean it is ideal for those who tow caravans, trailers and horseboxes.
The loadspace is 1,300mm long,765mm high and is 500mm wide. The vehicle is 5,095mm long.
It has the same chassis, engine and drivetrain as Rexton, SsangYong's SUV which was recently named as 43 (4 Magazine's 4x4 of the Year 2018.
What really sells the vehicle though is its warranty covering seven years and 150,000 miles, which must be a fabulous draw for people who demand reliable vehicles for tough conditions.
It is also well equipped with DAB audio and Bluetooth con-nectivity on all models. It also comes with remote central locking, electric win-dows, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers. Musso - which means rhino in Korean - takes its strong, tough and powerful image from the brand's heritage established over 60 years ago and from the original Musson of the 1990s.
The four-wheel-drive system draws on SsangYong's years of experience in all-wheel-drive technology. For better effieiciency and greater fuel economy, it features a selectable 4x4 system with power delivered permanently to the rear wheels, and front wheel drive dialed 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 safety.
Being robust and workman-like is no longer enough for pick-up trucks, with customers looking for a working vehicle that also looks good. The exterior of the Musso gives the vehicle a bold and muscular stance.
THE CAR IN FACTS
Price: £22,495. Range spans £19,995 to £28,245.
Engine: A 2.2 litre diesel engine
Transmission: Six-speed manual gearbox
Top speed: 115mph
Economy: Combined 32.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 186g/km