SsangYong Musso Review
This cut-price offering reveals its budget price point in many areas but remains a capable everyday workhorse
Strengths & weaknesses
- Good value
- High levels of spec
- Payload and towing abilities
- Interior feels cheap
- Not car like at all
- Only one engine
Ssangyong likely sits somewhere near the bottom of most car buyers’ wish lists thanks to the fact that this South Korean marque hasn't penetrated the mind-set of potential customers with the razzle-dazzle marketing onslaught of Korean brethren Kia and Hyundai.
In addition to this, its offerings have historically fallen way behind is rivals in terms of build quality, ride and handling and overall refinement, but Ssangyong is keen to prove that it can produce cut-price vehicles that actually stack up against the more expensive competition.
As a result, the recently updated Korando SUV model forms the basis of this Musso pick-up, which means it ushers in a brand new diesel engine that promises to be quieter, less polluting, more fuel efficient and more powerful than the noisy unit it replaces.
It helps make the four-wheel-drive Musso, which means 'rhinoceros' in Hangul, the South Korean language, an inexpensive alternative to the likes of the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200, albeit one that still can tow over three tonnes and carry more than a tonne in its large rear bed over the worst ground.
With a starting price of just £16,500 plus VAT it will certainly appeal to those on the lookout for a no-frills workhorse that won't break the bank but it still has a big hill to climb if it wants to challenge the more premium lifestyle offerings that are rapidly being snapped up by savvy company car buyers looking to take advantage of generous tax breaks.
Yes, the still reasonable EX models (£18,490 plus VAT) come with plenty of tempting features such as heated front seats, leather upholstery, automatic headlamps and a touchscreen infotainment system, but their execution is decidedly cheap and navigation remains an optional extra.
The plastic flap that covers the USB and Aux-in inputs, for example, feels as if it would snap off if opened too vigorously, while the heated front seats don't reset themselves when the ignition is turned off. It is up to the driver to wind the dial back to the off position and then on again if he or she wishes to warm the posterior. The entertainment system is also very basic and fiddly to use. It is little things like this that mark it down as a budget buy.
Out on the road, the ride can feel skittish at higher speeds when the rear bed is emptied. This is despite the inclusion of an advanced multi-link suspension set-up, in place of leaf springs, at the rear.
That said, this is a very reasonably priced machine and the quality of the interior reflects this fact. Put simply, it's a hardwearing and mightily capable pick-up that doesn't attempt to wow customers with gadgets and luxuries, instead flaunting a price tag that should stop customers in their tracks.
|Warranty||7 years/unlimited mileage|
|Tax||£800 to £1,200 in the first year, £250 thereafter|
Best SsangYong Musso for...
Best for Economy – Ssangyong Musso 2.2 SE Manual
This entry-level Musso lacks some of the interior extras but it is one of the cheapest new pick-ups on the market and returns a reasonable 40mpg.
Best for Families – Ssangyong Musso 2.2 EX Auto
The auto box is easy to drive, while this EX model gets heated seats, leather upholstery and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with DAB to make longer journeys more bearable.
- 2016 Musso pick-up launched with a 2.2-litre diesel engine, one-tonne payload and a choice of two trim levels (SE and EX) priced from £15,995 plus VAT. Has a seven years/150,000 miles warranty.
- 2017 Following official agency approval, the Musso’s braked towing capacity is increased to 3500kg.
- 2018 Rebel, Rhino and Saracen special editions offered for a short time.
Understanding SsangYong Musso names
There are two true trim levels offered here, the Musso SE and Musso EX, while the Musso Auto adds the automatic gearbox and cruise control. Each higher trim level receives greater specification and an increased price.
Engine 2.2 diesel
Just one diesel engine is currently offered across the range and that's the 2.2-litre Euro 6 turbo-diesel unit. There is also just one power output option.
Gearbox 6 speed manual
6-speed shows that the car has six gears. The Ssangyong Musso is available in both manual and automatic versions, both with six gears.
SsangYong Musso Engines
There is just one engine to choose from in the Ssangyong Musso range, which either makes things very simple for buyers or limits choice, depending on your standpoint.
Luckily, that new 2.2-litre diesel is nice and quiet during regular driving conditions and develops an impressive 400Nm (295lb ft) of torque, which is a measure of sheer pulling power. This gives it the muscles to tow a braked trailer load of exactly 3,500kg and carry 1,050kg of goods at the same time.
However, the Musso is a heavy machine and at 2,099kg, it isn't the quickest thing to accelerate along the motorway slip road, especially when the rear bed is loaded.
The driving experience is also not the most accomplished, and despite boasting a more advanced multi-link suspension set-up at the rear, as opposed to the more agricultural leaf spring set-up found on some vehicles of this type, it can feel unwieldy when the rear bed isn’t weighed down.
There's a fair amount of wind noise and buffeting at motorway speeds, while the automatic gearbox on the EX auto version can get slightly confused when the accelerator is planted, as it seems to take a while to cycle through the correct gears to deliver the power.
Fuel economy is good though, with a claimed combined figure of 40mpg in the manual models.
0-62mph: 12.2s (est)
SsangYong Musso Trims
SE, EX, and EX Auto
The choice of trim levels is only slightly more generous than the singular engine offering, with the range starting at the very basic Musso SE.
In SE trim level, the vehicle is kitted out with what Ssangyong describes as "leather look" seats, a real leather steering wheel and gear knob, electric windows throughout, electrically operated and heated door mirrors and manual air conditioning.
A CD and FM radio with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity provide the entertainment, while steering wheel-mounted controls appear across the range as standard.
All vehicles have 18-inch alloy wheels, so to help distinguish them, high-spec models also have roof rails.
Customers are encouraged to part with an additional £2,000 for EX trim by a reversing camera, rain sensing wipers and automatic headlights, real leather seats and the superior seven-inch touchscreen entertainment system.
In addition to its six-speed automatic transmission, EX auto adds only cruise control. All trim levels have selectable four-wheel drive with low ratio, a system that allows you to manually select high and low gear ratios, and four- or rear-wheel drive as conditions demand.
Navigation remains an optional extra across the range and customers will have to stump up £1050 for the optional but basic Kenwood DAB touchscreen sat-nav and entertainment system. Regardless, the specification is largely good across the range and most of the luxuries customers look for are present. They're just not executed in a particularly luxurious fashion.
SsangYong Musso Reliability and warranty
The Ssangyong Musso is far too new to comment on the reliability of the model and the Korean marque sells a relatively low volume of cars in the UK, meaning it didn't even appear on the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power Survey.
However, trawl the comments section of the big websites or visit the various owner's groups message boards and customers seem largely happy with their purchase.
The near industry-leading seven-year/150,000-mile warranty speaks volumes for Ssangyong's confidence in its products and should cover any major incidentals during the early years of ownership.
Used SsangYong Musso
Used Mussos are scarce but even so, the few that do exist are much cheaper than they were new, which is saying something.
Special edition versions such as the Rhino are worth keeping an eye out for since they give the Musso a really butch look that enhances the vehicle’s otherwise unpretentious styling.