The SsangYong Musso is a practical, stylish and economical pick-up truck that is very capable when put to work, yet still maintains many of the creature comforts expected in a modern car. Also available in LWB guise.
The goodPractical, stylish, and economically priced
The badSteering a little light
SsangYong Musso Rhino pick-up 2.2 Automatic (2020)
There’s no denying the fact that there will be some tough times ahead and people hunting for a new vehicle will be determined to get maximum value for their hard-earned cash.
And that is where the less opulent brands such as SsangYong could really come to the fore. The Korean manufacturer is renowned for developing great off-road vehicles at an affordable price, as well as spreading its wings with the smaller Tivoli, Korando and very upmarket Rexton models.
But one factor remains true to the company’s heritage and that’s delivering great value for money. The latest example of this thought process is the long-wheel base version of the Musso double-cab pick-up truck. Despite being one of the least expensive on the market, it offers class-leading towing and load capacity limits.
And those are important factors, not only to businesses looking for a workhorse of a vehicle, but also to families who want a trusty vehicle to tow their heavy caravans or horseboxes around the country.
The pick-up segment has been growing in popularity in recent years with more and more models flooding the market and even the likes of Mercedes throwing its hat in the ring with the mighty X-Class. Many buyers see these versatile vehicles as a good alternative to SUVs with the same amount of practicality and maybe a little more character.
And the Musso Rhino really does offer the very best of both worlds with world class off-road, towing and payload ability matched to SUV comfort and driving dynamics.
The Musso line-up starts from £21,995 (excluding VAT), but our range-topping LWB model was £29,995. It was powered by a strong 2.2-litre diesel engine delivering 181PS with 420Nm of torque and mated to an Aisin 6-speed automatic gearbox. It could complete the 0-62mph dash in 11.9 seconds while delivering a combined 28.2mpg with 262g/km of carbon emissions under WLTP testing.
Viewed from any approach, the Musso looks imposing and ready for the challenges ahead with its muscular stance and a bold front end that is becoming more recognisable these days with a distinctive grille, LED daytime running lights and sporty fog lights. There are roof rails, black side steps, rear privacy glass, plus 17-inch alloys and ‘Rhino’ graphics to complete the styling.
Climb inside and it’s difficult not to be impressed by the refined interior, packed with all the latest technology and infotainment systems imaginable. The Musso takes its inspiration from the upmarket Rexton SUV and that means it boasts a wealth of top-notch kit, including a 9.2-inch high-definition screen with TomTom navigation, power-adjustable premium nappa leather front seats that can be heated or cooled, heated rear seats, a rear-view camera and Bluetooth.
There is full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, one of the easiest cruise control systems around, along with chunky, robust controls and levers.
Because the Musso sits on the same platform as the highly-impressive Rexton SUV, it offers all the ride comfort of an upmarket SUV with nice agility out on the open road, along with fairly light steering which helps when manoeuvring the vehicle which measures 5.4 metres in length and weighs in at 2.26 tonnes.
The road holding is excellent with limited body roll into corners. In fact, at times it’s very easy to forget you’re driving a pick-up, which again is credit to the ride and handling qualities this model possesses.
It effortlessly eats away at motorway miles which will be good news for caravanners and not such good news for the rest of us! But it proves this Musso is a very multi-talented all-rounder.
Comfort levels are high with a well-insulated cabin which means little engine, road surface or wind noise filters through. The Musso LWB vehicle also features an upgraded suspension system that smooths out most uneven road surfaces and this model drives just as well unladed as it does with a full load in the back.
There is ample space within the cabin (which is one of the largest in class) for five adults to sit comfortably with USB ports to plug in devices and lots of handy storage compartments scattered around for stowing away bits and pieces.
On the practicality front, the Musso Rhino is class leading with the ability to carry a one-tonne payload while towing a caravan weighing 3.5-tonne at the same time. It’s also worth noting that the SsangYong is the only pick-up offered with a seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty which goes some way to showing the company’s confidence in its vehicle’s reliability and durability.
SsangYong has delved deep into its years of off-roading expertise to develop the four-wheel drive system on the Musso. For better efficiency and fuel economy, the vehicle features a selectable 4WD system with power permanently delivered to the rear wheels and the front wheel drive added when required. There is also a low ratio setting for more demanding off-road terrains.
Safety features are comprehensive with the likes of anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability programme, lane change assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, tyre pressure monitoring, Isofix fixtures and a full suite of airbags.
On the downside, the light steering is not so welcome on faster country lanes where a little more weight and feedback would be nice. And my other minor gripe after driving at night was the slight reflective glare in the rear windscreen caused by the infotainment screen. But they are my only real complaints after a week piling on the miles in the pick-up and I was being a tad picky in the process!
All in all, the SsangYong Musso pick-up is a fabulous all-rounder for anyone looking for a practical, yet refined vehicle capable of tackling off-road challenges while still looking good enough to venture out on the school run. Little wonder then that it has scooped an array of ‘best-value pick-up’ awards over the last couple of years.
SsangYong Musso – first drive (2018)
SsangYong has just upped the stakes in the pick-up sector by launching its new no-nonsense, rough, tough Musso model that perfectly blends the robust nature of a working vehicle with the softer characteristics seen in a family car.
Musso, which means rhino in Korean, looks the business with its muscular styling, chunky alloys, roof bars, neat light clusters, side steps, tinted windows and open back load deck.
The interior of the spacious double cab offers a wealth of on-board creature comforts and infotainment systems and there is even fine leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats and a heated steering wheel on the higher specced versions. Customers can select from four trim levels called EX, Rebel, Saracen and limited-edition Rhino with prices starting from a very tempting £19,995 excluding VAT.
There is only one engine available – a rather punchy 2.2-litre diesel unit that delivers 181PS and 400Nm of torque. Musso also features the same chassis and drivetrain as the multi award-winning Rexton and is available with a six-speed manual or an Aisin six-speed automatic gearbox.
We tested two models – the Saracen on road and the Rebel on a five-mile off-road course that suitably showed off its rough terrain skills. After all, the original pick-ups were popular amongst farmers and those regularly towing horseboxes or caravans.
When faced with steep inclines, shallow rivers, slippery grass banks and rutted tracks, the Musso was totally unfazed. It attacked every obstacle with confidence – the hill hold was excellent as we stopped halfway up a steep climb and then moved away again without any difficulty, the hill descent system was composed both in ‘drive’ and ‘reverse’ and switching between 2WD, 4WD and then again to 4WD with low ratio gears is a quick and easy process. Driving along fairly flattened dirt tracks at speeds up to 30mph was not an issue either with good comfort levels experienced within the car – I’ve tried that in other off-road vehicles and felt my teeth chatter!
Next up was the road route. For this we chose the high-end Musso Saracen priced at £26,245. This car is fitted with all the bells and whistles such as a 9.2-inch touchscreen with TomTom navigation, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, DAB radio and Bluetooth, cruise control, a reversing camera, automatic projection headlamps and LED positioning lights, a metal front skid plate, tubular side steps, rear corner bars and Saracen graphics. I wasn’t a big fan of the ‘Saracen’ and ‘4×4’ decals but it’s a matter of taste.
As the Musso is classed as a light commercial vehicle, there are no official 0-62mph sprint times, but it seemed responsive enough through the six-speed automatic gearbox and it tops out at 115mph (121mph for manual versions). There is ample power on tap and the engine is pretty refined even when driven quite enthusiastically. The gear changes are smooth and well timed and there are three driving modes called Eco, Power and Winter that alter the car’s handling.
Our road car was laden down with sand and that certainly helped with the road holding and it felt nicely balanced most of the time with just the occasional wobble! The firm suspension system does feel a little hard at times, but it’s not too bad especially for a car with such an attractive entry price. Others who drove the car without any load complained that the ride quality was not quite so good.
Obviously, practicality is going to be a vital factor for anyone choosing to buy in the pick-up arena and the Musso does particularly well here. It boasts a 3.5 tonne towing limit (which is the benchmark for those who tow large work trailers, caravans and horseboxes), but at the same time it can also transfer a one tonne payload in the back. And, according to SsangYong, that is the highest combined total load capacity for any pick-up on sale in the UK. There is a Euro pallet-sized load deck along with a load liner and tie down hooks.
As far as passenger comfort goes, the Musso scores highly again. The side steps make for easy access and all occupants benefit from generous amounts of leg, head and elbow space. There’s an array of storage compartments scattered throughout the vehicle such as a glovebox, door bins, cup holders, a central box, non-slip trays, sunglasses holder and pockets in the back of the front seats.
When it comes to running costs, the Musso can deliver combined fuel economyof 32.9g/km with carbon emissions of 226g/km.
The only real area where the Musso comes up a little short is safety features. Whilst it does have an ultra-strong chassis and energy absorbing steering wheel and steering column, it lacks some of the more common driver assist aids such as lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and emergency brake assist.
But that aside, the Musso is a fabulous all-rounder. It’s economically priced, well equipped, practical, it delivers off-road and it’s fun to drive. If that’s not enough it comes with an exceptional class leading warranty of seven-years or 150,000 miles and that will be attractive to any farmer looking for a long-lasting commitment.
SsangYong Musso pick-up EX auto
There’s no denying the fact – pick-ups are picking up the pace in the popularity stakes and the latest arrival courtesy of SsangYong is another corker.
Powered by a new 2.2-litre 178PS diesel engine, the Musso looks imposing from every angle thanks to its elevated double cab, 18-inch black alloys, roof rails, distinctive front grille, front and rear fog lights and LED daytime running lights.
The open-back vehicle looks robust, tough and ready for any task you throw at it and, with one-tonne payload along with a 2.7-tonne towing capacity, it’s quite the workhorse.
The interior is neatly kitted out with leather, heated seats – the driver’s seat is also power-operated. And creature comforts are plentiful, including the likes of automatic air conditioning, a seven-inch touchscreen with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview reversing camera, electric windows (front and rear), automatic headlights, rain-sensitive wipers and plenty more besides.
The Musso, which is priced from £15,995, is available in two trim levels SE and EX. We tested out the higher-specced model costing £18,995 and to be honest, despite its budget price, it was quite the all-rounder.
The automatic gearbox was nice and responsive and although there is no official 0-62mph time on record, the Musso does have a top speed of 119mph. According to official figures, it can deliver a creditable combined fuel economy of 36.7mpg with carbon emissions of 202g/km.
Comfort levels are good for front and rear passengers and the high-seated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility. As with all pick-up vehicles, its dimensions will mean parking spaces need to be extra-large but the reversing camera is certainly of great assistance. The Musso is quite agile and easy to manoeuvre and out on faster roads it has ample pace to keep up with faster moving traffic.
But it is also very capable when put to the physical test with the practicality of four-wheel drive and the luxury of multi-link rear suspension and progressive rear coil springs which helps to deliver a comfortable ride whilst still carrying up to one tonne of goods on the load deck. The Musso is the only pick-up in its price range to boast such a system.
Admittedly, there are a few issues that should be highlighted – namely the totally pointless door pockets that are deep and narrow so once a pen is dropped in there it will be lost forever. Then there is the handbrake which is positioned on the wrong side of the chunky gear leaver which means leaning across to engage or disengage it.
And whilst the finish may not be as classy as some more upmarket models, they can cost twice the price of the Musso and that’s certainly worth keeping in mind if you are going to pick fault with the hard plastic dashboard.
Another plus factor is the high level of safety features such as anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, electronic stability programme with active rollover protection, speed sensitive door locks, power assisted steering and numerous airbags.
All in all the Musso (which is Korean for rhinoceros) is another welcome newcomer to the rapidly increasing range of pick-ups on the market and is perfect for someone with a limited budget who wants plenty of value for their money.