SsangYong Musso Rhino, outstandingly good value

In Car Reviews, Pick-Ups, SsangYong by Neil Lyndon

“Where’s the water tank?” was my first question when the latest Ssangyong Musso Rhino pick-up arrived at our house for a week’s test loan.

Car Reviewed: SsangYong Musso Rhino LWB Pick-Up

This may be hard to believe, but I promise you that when the last Musso came my way in 2018, it had a massive translucent water tank strapped down and securely padlocked in the back. The tank filled almost the entire area of the loadspace.

The story behind that water tank was as odd as the presence of the thing itself. Apparently, the agency handling Ssangyong’s PR at that time had decided that the ride of the Musso was so dire and jiggly that the vehicle couldn’t pass press scrutiny without being weighted down. That the decision to put a water tank as big as a kids’ play pool in the back obviated three-quarters of the point of a pick-up seemed to bother them less than the prospect that the car might be drowned in torrents of journos’ derision.

Ah, happy days!

Alas, the latest Musso Rhino comes without the option of the water tank. More’s the pity – because the ride remains so bone-rattlingly harsh that it makes the vehicle almost impossible to live with.

A small number of cosmetic adjustments have been made to the 2018 model. A revised front end with an aggressive black grille is the main change. More power, torque and fuel efficiency have been extracted from the 2.2-litre diesel, but the strengths and virtues of the Ssangyong brand and the model remain essentially unchanged.

The four-wheel drive Musso is still the only double cab pick-up capable of towing 3.5 tonnes while lugging a one-tonne load in the back. It’s still the only one with a seven-year warranty and it remains outstandingly good value compared with the few remaining pick-ups in the market (most manufacturers having fled that scene). The all-in price of our test car was £37000 and that included a list of accessories and luxuries that might grace a fully-loaded Jaguar. Nappa leather upholstery and full air-conditioning are as remote from the earliest pick-ups as Spotify is from the phonograph.

Yet the ride remains unbearable. Front suspension is quite a sophisticated multilink system, but rear suspension remains leaf springs which might have been fitted to the covered wagons that bounced their way across the Prairies to open up the American West in the nineteenth-century. It is such a rudimentary setup that even adding a load doesn’t make much improvement. Taking advantage of the loan of the Musso to make a trip to the municipal dump, I filled the extra-long load base of the Rhino with two old lawn-mowers and a mountain of debris from my neighbour’s garage. The whole lot must have weighed at least half a tonne. Even so, my neighbour observed that “it’s a bit rough, isn’t it?” within a few hundred yards of leaving our drive.

The ride is not the only thing you would be hard-pressed to live with: the name is also in a class of its own.

“Musso”, in Korean, means “rhino”. Thus the name of this car is as tautological as that of Neville Neville, the father of the footballers Phil and Gary Neville. It means Rhino Rhino. That’s almost as funny as strapping a water tank in the back.

An Award-winning Pick-up – SsangYong Musso (20/21MY)

  • What Car? Best Value Pick-Up 2019, 2020
  • What Car? Best for Payload 2021 and 2022
  • Diesel Car Best Value Pick-Up 2019, 2020 and 2021
  • 4×4 Magazine Best Value Pick-up 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022

Author Rating 3.9/5

Car reviewed: SsangYong Musso Rhino

on the road price £37758

  • 0-62mph 11.9secs
  • Top speed 116mph
  • Engine 2157cc inline 4-cylinder diesel
  • Fuel Economy WLTP Combined 30.2mpg
  • Max Power 202PS@3800rpm
  • Torque 441Nm@1400-2600rpm
  • Dimensions MM 5405 L/1950 W/1885 H (with roofrails)
  • CO2 emissions 245g/km
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • Total Capacity 4640KG

Neil Lyndon

Motoring Correspondent

Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK’s national stage for 40 years, writing for every “quality” newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 – the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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