What is it?

A big, brash bargain. In comparison to most other big pick-ups, the Ssangyong Musso is very lean on price – but not at the expense of equipment and onboard facilities.

There’s a lot of high-end goodies and overall quality is up there with the likes of Ford, Toyota and Izuzu. What’s more it is able to tow 3.5 tonnes and carry 1 tonne in the load bed simultaneously – the only pickup that can do this.

SsangYong, meaning “double dragon”, is a Korean car manufacturer specialising in 4x4s, SUVs and pick-up trucks. Initially established in 1954, SsangYong Motor Company started producing trucks, busses, and special purpose vehicles for the export market,< establishing the strong and reliable DNA of its products on the market today.

The Musso is based on the Ssangyong’s flagship Rexton SUV, sharing many components, including the smooth 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine. It also comes with a six-speed auto. Unlike the top-spec Rhino model , the Saracen we tried also has the option of a six-speed manual gearbox.

The rugged exterior contrasts with a cabin that’s plush enough so worth a look in order to take advantage of generous tax benefits without giving up on SUV comforts. There are four trim levels to choose from, from the entry-level EX, through Rebel and Saracen, and  long-wheelbase Rhino model. All come well equipped.

Rebel and higher grades also get a fully adjustable and heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated seats. The top-spec Saracen and Rhino models add cruise control, parking sensors, and even heated rear seats. They’re also the models that receive the complete, if limited, safety kit. Not much in the way of options although you can choose metallic paint job for £575 plus VAT.

There are the usual stability control and traction control systems while Saracen and Rhino models to get blind-spot vehicle detection, lane changing assist and traffic sign recognition. All models do come with hill descent control, however, a benefit when off-road.

For off-road work, the Musso runs a standard pickup-style, part-time four-wheel drive system, with low-range transfer box and electronic traction control system.

What do we think?

All looks pretty good so far and we are particularly impressed with the package for the price and while the Musso’s combined load and towing capacity is eye-catching, this comes at the expense of the ride when empty. This is particularly noticeble on B roads where there is considerable shake, rudder and roll. A bit of a surprise given this pick-up rides on coil springs rather than leaf springs.

Off road, the Musso is a solid performer and you are going to have to go really deep into the jungle to catch it out. There’s an electronic switch to get you into 4WD along with high and low ratios and the only real downside is a 35cm wading depth so deep water is to be avoided.

The 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine has 181hp on tap combined with the 420Nm of torque, capable enough to keep up with the traffic but it’s not going to break any speed records – not that you’d want to.  The automatic gearbox, while smooth, can be caught out sometimes, shunting around to find the right ratio while there is not a lot of feel through the steering.

In the cabin there’s a fine array of equipment plus plenty of room for the tallest of drivers/passengers. The large touchscreen display is also clear and packed with plenty of features, including a Tom Tom satnav system, Apple Carplay and Android Auto functions, as well as a multi-view reversing camera. The dashboard is topped with nice, soft touch material while controls, buttons and switches all feel solid and reliable.

Rear seat passengers also get plenty of room. The rear doors open very wide revealing a comfortable rear cabin and it all feels very SUV-like.

The list price of the SsangYong Musso is appealing,  comfortably undercutting its rivals and, in Saracen trim is packed with equipment.  You will find depreciation is an issue again ore expensive rivals such as the Toyota Hilux or Ford Ranger so this also affects leasing costs.

Fuel economy for any pickup truck is never great but the Musso does seem a little thirsty. Officially nearly 32mpg is possible although we only managed the mid-20s at best. CO2 emissions are quite high although classified as a light commercial vehicle, company drivers will pay a fixed rate of company car tax, protecting their wallet from high tax rates.

Service packs are available and the Musso is backed by an impressive seven-year warranty. That’s more than enough to see you through even the longest of leasing deals.

SsangYong pushes the value aspect of its range and you’ll struggle to find a more comprehensively equipped model. When it comes to rival pick-ups, we’re not entirely convinced that the badge counts for too much as long as the vehicle can do the job at the right price.

Ssangyong Musso Saracen

Gross train weight (kg) < 6450 < 6750 < 6900<

Gross vehicle weight (kg) < 3250 < 3250 < 3400<

Kerb weight (kg)< 2145< 2155< 2260<

Towing limit (kg) < 3200 < 3500 < 3500<

Payload (kg) < 1105 < 1095 < 1140<

Total load capacity (kg) 4250 4595 4640

Price:                  £31,515

VAT:                   £6,303

Engine:             2.2-litre diesel

Max Power:    181hp

Max Torque:    441Nm

Max Speed:      113moh

Fuel economy: 27.4mpg (on test)

CO2:                  236g/km



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