An at­trac­tive work­horse

South Korea’s SsangY­ong is mainly fo­cused on ru­ral ar­eas and buy­ers who need them for work.

Irish Examiner - - News - Rebecca Chap­lin

IF you haven’t heard of SsangY­ong be­fore, we’ll for­give you. Cur­rently, the South Korean brand is only sell­ing around 1,500 cars a year — all SUVs and pick-ups — and it’s mainly fo­cused on ru­ral ar­eas and buy­ers who need them for work.

How­ever, while its range sells in small vol­umes, the brand has breathed fresh life into the lat­est edi­tions, of­fer­ing at­trac­tive but af­ford­able cars. This is its new Musso, a pick-up with some se­ri­ous tow­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

WHAT’S NEW?

The new Musso’s had a makeover to look more stylish on the road.

Its big­gest ap­peal is its pay­load and tow­ing ca­pac­ity — able to bear a braked trailer load of 3,500kg, paired with the au­to­matic gear­box and carry a 1,085kg pay­load. It also has a sur­pris­ingly pre­mium-feel in­side; com­fort­able seats, a quiet drive and plenty of cre­abe­tween ture com­forts.

WHAT’S UN­DER THE BON­NET?

There’s one en­gine op­tion in the Musso — a 2.2-litre diesel, ideal for load lug­ging. It’s avail­able as ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or au­to­matic; we tested the auto. All mod­els come with part-time four-wheel drive, which gives you the op­tion to switch to all-wheel power and of hill de­scent con­trol, if needed.

It has a top speed of 115mph from its 179bhp en­gine, that will achieve 32.9 and 35.8mpg on a com­bined cy­cle. It also pro­duces 211-226g/ km of CO2, which cur­rently puts it in the 250g/km ve­hi­cle ex­cise duty band.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The double cab is undis­turbed by the en­gine noise when out on the road, even at high mo­tor­way speeds. How­ever, when go­ing this fast, the slightly dis­con­nected steer­ing suf­fers from the shakes.

Cruis­ing around the coun­try­side though, this pick-up is com­fort­able and tack­les big bumps off road well, thanks to the four-wheel drive. The low ride height and sus­pen­sion that’s de­signed to carry weight does mean small bumps are very no­tice­able out on the road, though.

HOW DOES IT LOOK?

SsangY­ong has made a very at­trac­tive car with a nice fit and fin­ish. If you can get past the rel­a­tively un­known badge which for some loyal buy­ers will be dif­fi­cult — the car is stylish and stands out on the road, thanks to that dis­tinc­tive grille and light for­ma­tion. The top-spec Musso Rhino is a real show-off with grab rails and plenty of chrome to grab the at­ten­tion of passers-by, too.

WHAT’S IT LIKE IN­SIDE?

De­pend­ing how you’ll use it, the Musso has plenty of in­te­rior choices. Hard­wear­ing but at­trac­tive TPU seats are avail­able, but there’s also cloth and leather for those de­mand­ing a more pre­mium pick-up.

The cab is spa­cious with plenty of stor­age. How­ever, the fin­ish isn’t as high-end as other op­tions on the mar­ket — but you’ll save a pretty penny with the SsangY­ong and won’t be dis­ap­pointed with the qual­ity. The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is avail­able with ei­ther an 8in or 9.2in screen, kit­ted out with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, DAB, Blue­tooth and CarPlay or An­droid Auto.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?

Avail­able in EX, Rebel, Sara­cen and Rhino spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the Musso can do ba­sic and func­tional or over-the-top and showy. How­ever, the en­try-level cars are avail­able for less than a new Ford Fo­cus.

VER­DICT

If you have a huge bud­get, this may not be the car for you, but if you’re look­ing for some­thing af­ford­able that of­fers loads for your money then the Musso could be it. It has a tonne of ap­peal if you’re look­ing to carry around a lot of weight and use it as a work­horse on a daily ba­sis.

The com­bi­na­tion of price, looks, com­fort and tow­ing power will work for a lot of driv­ers — if they can get past the badge and be­hind the wheel for a test drive.

Picture: SsangY­ong/PA

PULLING POWER: The new SsangY­ong Musso.

Picture: SsangY­ong/PA

An in­te­rior view of the new SsangY­ong Musso.

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