KOREAN manufacturer Ssang-Yong has updated its Musso pick-up, backing it up with a seven-year/150,000-mile warranty. All Musso models are double-cabs, with part-time four-wheel drive. There are, however, four trim levels, all offering generous specification. At its launch, we had the chance to try the new truck on the roads of Wiltshire and on farm tracks across the Winkworth Farm estate The range uses the firm's own 2.2-litre diesel, delivering 181hp and 400Nm of torque. You can choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, for a premium of £1,250. SsangYong claims 35.8mpg for the manual, with 32.9mpg for the automatic. All have service intervals of 12,000 miles/one year. Musso can carry a payload of more than one tonne with either transmission, allowing VAT to be reclaimed for those that are registered.
However, if you want to pull the full 3.5t, that is only an option with the auto transmission, as the manual is limited to 3,200kg. All four trim levels undercut the cost of competitors such as Isuzu and Mitsubishi by about 10 per cent, claims the manufacturer, with the entry point Musso EX aging £19,995. As the truck is based on the new Rexton SUV, even the EX comes with 17-inch alloys, DAB radio with Bluetooth, six airbags, elec-tric windows, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, air conditioning and remote locking. Comfortable Move up to Rebel trim and you get 18in alloys, an 8in touchscreen infotainment system with Google CarPlay and Android Auto, roof rails, a rear-view camera, heated and ventilated leather- look seats, a heated leather-clad steering wheel and black side steps. The Saracen model adds black alloys, nappa leather electric seats, projector headlamps, cruise control and styling bars. We tried Rebel and Saracen models and both offered a comfortable interior. Though currently a limited edition, the range-topping Rhino (Musso is apparently Korean for Rhino) comes as standard with the auto transmission, 20in alloys with all terrain tyres, privacy glass and a choice of red or black paint.
The Rhino is a bit over the top for a working truck though, particularly the wheels. It is far better to stick with the mid-range models. SsangYong was the first to pro-vide a pickup with coil spring rear suspension and the new Musso carries on that tradition. This translates to a pretty smooth ride, particularly with a bit of weight in the back, and it all combines with reasonable off-road ability. You can change from two to four-wheel drive on the move, but will need to stop to select low range. There are no differential locks, just trick electronic driver aids, but the specification includes hill descent control and the truck seems fairly capable on the rough. SsangYong aims to increase its UK network from 60 to 90 dealers over the next three years. The firm has plans to more than double UK sales, to about 10,000 vehicles in that time and Musso is expected to spearhead the sales growth. It is a lot of truck for the money and deserves to take a bigger slice of the UK market.
Need to know ■ Model: SsangYong Musso ■ Trim: EX, Rebel, Saracen, Rhino ■ Price: £19,995-£28,495 plus VAT ■ Engine: 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel, 181hp @ 4,000rpm, 400Nm @ 1,400-2,800rpm ■ Transmission: Six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, shift-on-the-move two/four-wheel drive plus low range ■ Performance: 115-121mph, 32.9-35.8mpg combined, 211-226g/km ■ Payload: 1,085-1,095kg ■ Towing capacity: 3,200kg (manual) 3,500kg (auto)