You can try putting lipstick on a pig, but it still won’t make it beautiful – unless you’re into pigs. And that’s the point here. Unless you like pick-up trucks, you won’t be into the New Ssangyong Musso.
Tim Barnes-Clay has been testing the new Ssangyong Musso pickup at the UK launch in Wiltshire. Here are his thoughts on the latest Korean pickup truck.
Now this name might be familiar to you. It’s a moniker that was used way back in the early 90s on a pug ugly SUV. This vehicle though is a strict pick-up with 4x4 capability. I happen to think it’s handsome too – and I’m not even into swine. Actually, Musso is Korean speak for Rhino.
There’s a reason for its good looks - the Musso has the identical body-on-chassis construction as the Ssangyong Rexton SUV. Indeed, it even has the same dashboard, which makes it feel quite upmarket. There are pliable materials covering the dash, the steering wheel is fully adjustable, and the switchgear doesn’t feel like it’s out of a Tonka toy.
The South Korean made pick-up is also furnished with kit such as an infotainment system, which is decent by any standards. The 9.2-inch display in some models is large, luminous and easy to operate. It also boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, the Musso houses a remarkably hi-resolution reversing camera which even enables you to observe the tow bar. This comes in really handy if you are lining-up up a trailer to lug.
Towing is something that the new Ssangyong Musso excels at. It’s the only pick-up in its segment that can haul a 3.5-tonne trailer while carrying up to a tonne in the load bed. The Mercedes-Benz obtained 2.2-litre oil-burner it uses is also deployed in the Rexton. However, the Musso is fitted with a six-speed automatic transmission rather than the seven-speed auto employed by the large Rexton SUV. It has lots of grunt and is smooth compared with, say, Ford’s Ranger.
There’s plenty of space up front, and when it comes to rear passenger room, the Musso beats its rivals, with only Nissan’s Navara coming close. And behind the wheel, whether towing or not, the pick-up feels okay-ish – in a straight line at least. The only fly in the ointment for the Musso is its rear springs, they bounce pugnaciously over ruts, while the somewhat soft damping battles to keep the pick-up’s frame in check. Things do recover, like many pickups, however, when the South Korean’s cab is full. And with a tonne of cargo in the rear load bed, it irons itself out considerably.
Mind you, Ssangyong says it’s thinking about changing the rear springs to make things a little more manageable for UK driving. It still won’t make it a pick-up to hurl around bends though – but let’s face it, not many are suited to that. It feels substantial, and always will be the complete workhorse.
The price-tag of the Ssangyong Musso makes you forgive its so-so handling. It’s cheaper than Mitsubishi’s L200 for starters. There are four trim levels to select, too. While the entry level EX is the most workhorse-like, it sits on alloy wheels and contains lots of factory-fitted equipment, including air conditioning, Bluetooth, and DAB radio.
Over that, the Rhino boasts heated and cooled faux leather seats, and an eight-inch touchscreen. It also wears distinct external graphics. The flagship Saracen and Rhino Mussos add real leather, that earlier mentioned 9.2-inch screen and a heated steering wheel. What’s more, the Rhino rolls off the production line with ready-to-go all-terrain tyres, and black 20-inch alloys.
Also standard on the Musso is a segment-leading seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty. That, more than anything, demonstrates how much faith Ssangyong has in its new model. Certainly, this pickup is no pig in a wig – and you can forget the lipstick, too.
Car reviewed: SsangYong Musso Rhino Limited Edition Auto - Base Price On the road £28,495 Musso prices start at £19,995 0-62mph 12 secs (est) Top speed 115mph Fuel Economy combined 32.9 - 35.8mpg CO2 emissions 211-226g/km Engine e-XDI 220 2.2L diesel 4-cylinder EU6 Max Power 181PS@4000rpm Torque 400Nm@1400-2800rpm Transmission 6-speed manual/Aisin 6-speed auto
Very Good looking
Excellent spec / 7-year warranty
Great value for money
Better to drive when loaded
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