Musso drives like a good pick-up should and proves that cheap does not have to be synonymous with nasty. By Matt de Prez
With a starting price of £19,995 (OTR) the new SsangYong Musso is the cheapest double-cab pick-up on the market, a title its predecessor also held.
Unlike its predecessor, the new Musso doesn’t use its low price as a caveat for poor quality.
SsangYong has made a considerable effort to improve the Musso, using its new Rexton SUV as the base.
Claims that it “drives like an SUV” are a little far-fetched, unless you are comparing it to one from the 1980s, but the Musso certainly drives like a good pick-up should.
Refinement has been a key aspect of the new truck’s development. Its engine is uncannily quiet; to the point where you have to question if it is actually a diesel. We pulled over to check.
Sure enough, under the bonnet sits SsangYong’s own 2.2-litre diesel motor. It produces 181PS and 400Nm of torque.
It comes with switchable four-wheel drive and a choice of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
On the motorway there is little wind noise and, overall, drivability is very positive.
The ride is much better than before, although heavy duty rear suspension – required for the Musso’s high payload – means that it still jiggles about a bit too much when it is unladen.
SsangYong intends to revise the suspension settings prior to the first customer deliveries later this month.
Nonetheless, it means the Musso is capable of carrying a one-tonne payload and a 3.5-tonne trailer, at the same time.
As a double cab, the Musso’s load bed size is limited. It measures 1,300mm x 1,570mm, with a depth of 570mm – less space than you get in a Toyota Hilux double cab.
Passenger space is more than sufficient, though. The Musso’s interior is as accommodating as that of a large SUV and the fit and finish is vastly improved.
There are still a few hard plastics but no worse than you’ll find in any of the market-leading pick-ups.
Base models (EX) feature digital radio and Bluetooth, plus electric windows, remote locking and automatic wiper and headlight activation.
The Rebel, costing £22,495, comes with imitation leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a reversing camera.
Range-topping Saracen models cost £24,995 and feature nappa leather seats with electric adjustment, a 9.2-inch infotainment screen with sat-nav and cruise control.
Fleets should expect up to 40mpg from the Musso, with CO2 emissions rated at 211g/km.
SsangYong has increased its warranty proposition, so customers now get seven years or 150,000 miles of cover.
The new Musso is proof that cheap doesn’t have to equal nasty.
While the drivability changes are more relevant to the retail market, with competitive running costs and a class-leading warranty, fleet operators should feel more confident than ever that the Musso could add value to their operation.
Model tested: SsangYong Musso e-XDi220 EX