Rebellious Musso leads Rebel charge
The Korean ‘Rhino’ is helping to spearhead an Eastern assault on the UK’s pickup market, says Julie Marshall
Along with the other Korean motor manufacturers Kia and Hyundai, Ssangyong has become a more recognisable name in recent years, although it does lag considerably behind the other two.
When the first Ssangyongs arrived in the UK they were less than favourably received by the motoring press and the public. They might have been cheap as chips but the lack of quality and the poor driving experience didn’t endear them to many.
They are still significantly cheaper than the opposition but everything else about Ssangyong has changed in recent years. The company is committed to refreshing its entire range of products over the nextf ew years and specification, ride quality and refinement are on a par with other manufacturers. A string of awards recently pays testament to a new level of confidence from the industry. Tested this week is the All-New Musso pick-up, so named to differentiate it from the original 1993 Musso SUV.
I’m a pick-up fan and have driven plenty of them on and off-road over the years. My favouritefor a long while has been the Mitsubishi L200 (Toyota’s HiLux, however, remains the world’s best selling pick-up) but after a week in theMusso, I felt my allegiance wavering, although not transferring altogether.
Musso-which, if you’re interested is Korean for rhino, is a 4x4 and utilises the chassis and drivetrain of the Rexton.
There is just the one engine, a 180bhp 2.2-litre diesel with a choice of automatic or six-speed manual gearbox. Musso is no stripped-out workers truck. It’s as though a pick-up bed has been tagged onto an SUV with all the resulting passenger comfort.
There is bags of room in the rear seats although this is at the expense of the loadbed which is a bit smaller than others in the sector. It will still take a full-sized Euro pallet, carry a one-tonne load and tow a trailer of up to 3.5 tonnes though.
The specification is high. Even the entry-level model EX has DAB radio and Bluetooth, front, side and curtain airbags, automatic lights and wipers, air conditioning and remote central locking.
One trim up, the Rebel features roof rails, smartphone connectivity, rearview camera, heated leather steering wheel and front seats, and side steps. Next up, the Saracen adds heated rear seats, TomTom navigation and cruise control.
The Rhino limited edition adds a bit of extra bling. Prices range from £23,994 to £33,894. We tested the Rebel with an automatic gearbox which proved faultless. The loadbed came stacked with bags of sand to improve the ride which was appreciated.
I’m sure it wouldn’t have been half as composed without them.
Musso is surprisingly quiet and offers a relaxing drive with a decent turning circle. We managed around 26mpg over the week with our sand in the back.
The Musso is what it is, a comfortable, if you’re after a well specified, value for money truck then you could do a lot worse.
THE CAR IN FACTS
● Price:£28,494 (£29,011 as tested)
● Engine:2.2-litre diesel
● Transmission:six-speed manual
● Top speed:115mph