The updated Musso offers a lot of pickup truck for the money, says Dan Gilkes.
When SsangYong changed from the previous Korando Sport pickup to the Musso truck last year, the company offered buyers far more than a name change. Musso represents a totally new appearance, both inside and out.
Power, from a 2.2-litre diesel engine, is increased to 181bhp at a rather heady 4,000rpm, with 400Nm of torque available from a much more useful 1,600rpm. You can choose between a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic, for a very reasonable £1,000 extra. If you are looking to tow, it’s worth considering that only the auto-equipped truck can pull the full 3.5-tonnes, with the manual limited to 3.2-tonnes. Both versions can still carry a full 1.0-tonne load in the back though, even when towing at full capacity.
That said, the SsangYong does have a fairly short pickup bed in comparison to some competitors. It would have been nice to have a ladder rack or styling bar to tie longer items to at the back of the cab on this working model too. The company is talking about bringing in a Musso Grand, with a longer bed, later in the year.
SsangYong was the first pickup manufacturer to offer coil spring rear suspension and this is carried over to the Musso, with double-wishbones up front. This makes for a very civilised ride, with accomplished handling for a truck of this size.
Indeed, the Musso cab is a comfortable place to spend the day, with low noise levels and a relaxed cruise. There is more than enough power to keep pace with traffic and the high riding position provides good visibility. It has fairly light steering, making it easy to manoeuvre in town and off-road, though it can initially feel a little light at speed on the motorway. A simple rotary switch brings the front wheels into play in four-wheel drive high, while you need to stop to engage the lower gear ratios for more serious off-roading.
All Musso models are double-cab and four-wheel drive and the range kicks off with this fleet-spec EX model, at just £20,995 without the VAT. Though an entry-level truck, the Musso EX comes with 17” alloys, manual air conditioning, electric windows, rain sensing wipers and auto headlights. The infotainment is a bit basic, but the radio provides Bluetooth connectivity for safe mobile phone use.
You can go up through Rebel, Saracen and Rhino trim levels, with specifications and prices rising in equal measure. Yet, for many, this EX manual truck offers all the pick-up that you need and at that price it comes in considerably less expensive than most of the competition.
The company claims a reasonable 35.8mpg should be possible, with CO2 ratings of 211g/km for the manual model. Service intervals come around once a year, or at 12,500-mile intervals and all Mussos get SsangYong’s market-leading seven-year/150,000-mile warranty, which should provide peace of mind for fleets.
Keep the spec sensible and you get low-cost workhorse capabilities with years of manufacturer support.