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First Drive: SsangYong Musso

Wednesday 26 October 2016

First Drive: SsangYong Musso
Summary

The Musso comes as an updated version of the Korando Sports pickup, gaining a name from SsangYong’s past. The Musso, which means ‘rhinoceros’ in Korean, brings with it an all-new engine, which is linked to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.

The new 2.2-litre diesel engine brings with it better towing capability, as well as a small boost of five per cent to the car’s fuel economy figure.

Looks & Image

SsangYong is currently struggling with its brand image. Of all the Korean manufacturers that have come to the UK, SsangYong is the one that has – as yet – been unable to improve its impression with British buyers. This could be partly down to the brand’s willingness to continue building utilitarian vehicles such as the Musso that we have here.

However, although the Musso lacks a little in terms of street cred, it’s certainly as well-styled as its rivals. This applies to the exterior, though the effect diminishes as you venture into the cabin. 

The interior is nicely designed, but its asymmetric layout is a little odd to begin with. Despite the switchgear coming with a solid enough feel, the rest of the cabin feels a little lacking in quality – though the same could be said of some rivals.

Space & Practicality

There’s no questioning the Musso’s load-lugging credentials. The cabin has plenty of space, so much so that three people sitting in the rear won’t be squashed. This means that the Musso is well suited to family use.

The load bay is large enough to accommodate a Euro pallet, with a total area of 2.04 square meters. That 1,312 litre bay is lined, with tie-down points too. It’s available with a range of load covers, which means if you want to keep items secure or take the dogs with you, you can.

The payload of 1 tonne mirrors that offered by its predecessor, however the Musso is now able to tow up to three tonnes, bringing it in line with more expensive rivals.

Behind the Wheel

Setting itself apart from other pickups in the sector, the Musso utilises an independent rear suspension system. This gives it a surprisingly good ride, even when running with a full load bay. We tested the car loaded up to its one-tonne limit, and it maintained a compliant ride, one that was noticeably better than that found on rivals with more conventional suspension setups.

The steering lacks quite a lot of feedback though, and can feel vague at times. At speed the car generates a fair amount of wind noise too, most as a result of the large wing mirrors. However, these points aside it remains more than happy to carry on at motorway speeds with little argument. 

A reversing camera is added in EX trim, which makes parking the Musso even easier, initially thanks to the light steering. The addition of front parking sensors would make it more of a rounded package though. 

Value for Money

he Musso range starts from £15,995 (excluding VAT) and features such standard equipment as 18-inch alloys, leather-look seats, as well as front and rear electric windows. There’s also manual air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and a multifunction steering wheel.

Bump up to EX specification, and black 18-inch alloy wheels will be added, as well as roof rails and leather seats, the front of which are heated. Also included is a 7-inch touchscreen, LED daytime running lights and a rear parking camera. Despite also featuring cruise control and rain sensing wipers, the EX retails for an impressively low £17,995.

The 6-speed automatic gearbox comes as a £1,000 option, while metallic paint commands a £500 premium.

Who would buy one ?

If you’re self-employed or have a family and are looking for a large, capable car, then the Musso makes sense. As well as being good value for money – especially if you can claim the VAT back – it’s practical and has decent levels of interior space, which is ideal if you’ve got a few people to take along with you. 

 

Facts at a Glance

Power (bhp): 176hp
Torque (Nm): 400Nm
Max speed (mph): 108mph
0-62mph: (estimated) 10.5s
MPG: 37.0mpg (combined)
Emissions (g/km): 202g/km

 

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