SsangYong Musso Saracen+, load-lugger

In Car Reviews, Pick-Ups, SsangYong by Robin Roberts

The SsangYong Musso Saracen+ pick-up with increased appeal

Car Reviewed: SsangYong Musso Saracen+ Pick-up

In late 2022, we were giving the double-cab Musso a thorough test when SsangYong Motor UK announced they were expanding the lineup. The load bed of the now highest-end Saracen+ model was extended by 12 inches (shown by a plus symbol in the name).

While the extra 12 inches may seem like little to some, those that put their pick-up to good use will find that it makes their Musso Saracen+ the most practical and cost-effective option in its class. The handling and ride comfort have also been improved thanks to the addition of double wishbone suspension with dual coil springs.

The Musso, a winner of multiple awards, is now offered in four distinct trim levels: the EX, the Rebel, the Saracen, and the all-new Saracen+ for those who need a longer bed. The double cab’s expanded cargo space is plastic-lined and has a sturdy rear tailgate, it can now transport larger loads, yet the cab’s five seats can still be used comfortably.

The exterior has been updated on the new version with black finishes on the door mirrors, beltline and tailboard finisher. SsangYong has also upgraded its visual appeal by installing brand newly styled black 18″ alloy wheels wrapped in 255/60 tyres.

All Musso models are equipped with either a 6-speed manual or automatic gearbox and an e-XDi220 engine producing 202 hp at 3,800rpm and 441Nm of torque between 1,600 and 2,400rpm.

Increased towing and loading capacities are guaranteed by the double wishbone suspension and dual coil springs that come as part of the Musso Saracen+ package. Musso is the only truck that can legally carry more than 1 tonne of cargo and tow more than 3.5 tonnes; it is only available with an automatic gearbox.

The Saracen+ has several interior upgrades, including a new instrument cluster, projection headlights, LED daytime running lights, triple LED fog lights, rear privacy glass with a dark tint, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Even though it is not quick unless you switch to the sporting mode, the engine packs a handy punch while towing or hauling a big load, which is appreciated by the driver.

The shifts were subtle at low throttle settings but became more evident when more power was applied, along with the noise of the four-cylinder diesel engine and six-speed gearbox. The downshifts were well-spaced, resulting in a smooth deceleration.

Changing gears was as easy as turning a dial to the left of the shifter, and the vehicle was admirably quick, but it was clearly designed for off-roading in the mud and on the hills of the countryside.

Although a smaller turning radius would benefit the steering, the brakes were more than good enough, and just a little effort produced a significant amount of retardation. The handbrake is a manual lever.

Lights and wipers were controlled by secondary switches located around the steering column, and both functions worked as intended (the blades cleaned the windscreen), but I considered the feeble, short-range, narrow beams to be inadequate for use in rural areas or for venturing off-road.

The driver-facing displays were large and legible, but the centre console’s infotainment screen appeared cluttered and could only be used in conjunction with a smartphone.

The climate settings were user-friendly and effective at evenly dispersing air around the spacious cabin.

The tailboard dropped down to a convenient level, and there was sufficient storage space for the necessities of life for a hardworking person.

There was plenty of space for legs, heads, and shoulders, regardless of where you were sitting in the cabin, but getting in and out required a foot on the running board and some finesse due to the small door openings.

The seats were soft and offered plenty of support in the thigh area.

The Saracen+ has increased ride height, providing a much-appreciated forward and sideward view. Still, the vehicle’s thick back pillars made it challenging to see over your shoulder without the help of safety sensors and the wide-screen reversing camera with parking assistance lines.

The double wishbones contributed to the pick-up’s impressive on-road handling; the steering wasn’t particularly informative, but the vehicle hung on well in turns.

Although passengers generally didn’t mind the occasional jolt from a very large pothole or speed bump, it was essential to pay attention to both.

It’s a minor adjustment, but the extra foot of cargo room has increased its desirability where it counts and hasn’t come at the expense of anything I can see.

The SsangYong Musso looks to have put its best foot behind.

Car reviewed: SsangYong Musso Saracen+ Pick-up

on the road price £40,473

  • 0-62mph 11.3secs approx
  • Top speed 115mph
  • Engine 4cyl 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine
  • Fuel Economy  Combined 30.4mpg
  • Max Power 202PS@3800rpm
  • Torque 400Nm@1600rpm
  • Dimensions MM 5410 L/1950 W/1890 H
  • CO2 emissions 241g/km
  • Transmission Six-speed automatic, 2/4wd
  • Payload 1 tonne Towing 3.5 tonne

Robin Roberts

Motoring Journalist

Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin was the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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