PICK-UP IN­SPIRED BY RHINO AR­MOUR AIMS TO BLEND WORK WITH FAM­ILY

The Ssangy­ong Musso hopes to build on the rep­u­ta­tion set by the Ko­rando Sports. Has it suc­ceeded? An­drew Evans finds out

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY AN­DREW EVANS

SSANGY­ONG MUSSO

WHAT’S NEW?

The Musso is largely an up­dated ver­sion of the Ko­rando Sports pickup, but with a new name brought back from Ssangy­ong’s past. Musso — Korean for ‘rhinoceros’ — brings not only an ex­te­rior up­date and re­badge, but also a new en­gine, the Euro 6-com­pli­ant 2.2-litre E-XDI diesel.

This can be paired with ei­ther a 6-speed man­ual or a new 6-speed au­to­matic from Aisin.

The new en­gine brings an im­proved punch that im­proves the tow­ing rat­ing and brings a mild boost to the com­bined fuel econ­omy of around five per cent, but per­for­mance is un­af­fected.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

If there’s one area that the Ssangy­ong brand re­ally falls short on at the mo­ment, it’s im­age. Of all of the Korean ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers that have reached the UK, Ssangy­ong is the one that has made the least pos­i­tive im­pres­sion — largely be­cause it’s stuck to mak­ing large SUVS and util­i­tar­ian ma­chines like the Musso Pickup. This means the Musso has very lit­tle street cred, but for the most part it’s just as good to look at as its ri­vals — at least on the out­side.

The re­designed cabin looks in­ter­est­ing enough, with an asym­met­ric set-up that proves a lit­tle awk­ward to use at first and has a few strange details. While the switchgear feels solid enough, the over­all qual­ity of the cabin isn’t up to scratch yet — but then the same can be said of some pricier al­ter­na­tives.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

There are no ques­tions about the Mus- so’s prac­ti­cal­ity cre­den­tials. We haven’t mea­sured up the seat di­men­sions, but it’s al­most a moot point — the cabin is vast and even three abreast in the back isn’t that much of a prob­lem. This makes it great for fam­ily use.

The load bay be­hind you is pro­por­tioned to fit a stan­dard Euro pal­let, with a to­tal of 2.04 square me­tres of area to play with.

The 1,312 litre bed is fully lined, with tie-down points in­side the bay too, so you can pack any load you want to safely.

A range of load cov­ers are avail­able too, so you can use it as a se­cure load area or put a cam­per back on it for your dogs, for ex­am­ple.

To­tal pay­load is one tonne — the same as its pre­de­ces­sor — while the Musso can now tow up to three tonnes, bring­ing it into contention with more ex­pen­sive ri­vals.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

Un­like the ma­jor­ity of ve­hi­cles in the pickup sec­tor, the Musso makes use of in­de­pen­dent rear sus­pen­sion. This gives it a sur­pris­ingly com­pli­ant ride, whether run­ning empty or with the load bay pushed to its one-tonne limit — we also tested the car with a load bay full of gravel just to make sure.

With­out the ex­tra weight, the Musso can get a lit­tle soggy over bumps, but by and large it’s bet­ter than ri­vals that stick to more ba­sic sus­pen­sion.

The steer­ing is some­what mushy and vague though, so if you have any am­bi­tions to press on down a coun­try road it’s best to put them on the back­burner.

At speed there’s rather a lot of wind noise, com­ing from those huge wing mir­rors, but it’s ex­pected for this type of ve­hi­cle.

Oth­er­wise it’s happy to sit at mo­tor­way speeds with lit­tle fuss, al­beit with a lit­tle bit of body roll if you make too quick a lane change.

In EX spec­i­fi­ca­tion you gain a re­vers­ing cam­era and it makes the pretty bulky Musso a breeze to park — par­tic­u­larly with that light steer­ing. It would ben­e­fit from front park­ing sen­sors to judge the nose a lit­tle bet­ter.

VALUE FOR MONEY The Musso range starts from £15,995 (ex­clud­ing VAT) and comes equipped with 18” al­loy wheels, leather-look seats, front and rear elec­tric win­dows, power fold­ing door mir­rors, man­ual air con­di­tion­ing, CD & RDS Ra­dio with ipod & Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and a mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel.

Our EX Auto spec­i­fi­ca­tion ve­hi­cle adds black 18” al­loy wheels, roof rails, leather seats — heated in the front and elec­tri­cally ad­justable for the driver, a 7” touch­screen for op­er­at­ing the in­fo­tain­ment, rear view cam­era with park­ing sen­sors, front LED day­time run­ning lights, auto head­lamps, rain sens­ing wipers and cruise con­trol, for £17,995.

The 6-speed au­to­matic gear­box is a £1,000 op­tion, so the car comes in at £18,995 (ex­clud­ing VAT). Metal­lic paint is a £500 op­tion, with a Ken­wood touch­screen that brings DAB and nav­i­ga­tion also avail­able as a £999 op­tion.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE? If you’re self-em­ployed and have a fam­ily, the Musso Pickup makes a lot of sense. Along­side be­ing cheap — par­tic­u­larly if you can claim the VAT back — and prac­ti­cal, it’s roomy and com­fort­able enough to ac­com­mo­date the kids when not put to work. Spec­ify the op­tional load cover and the dogs can come too.

VER­DICT Ul­ti­mately the Musso Pickup proves a com­mend­able all-rounder, but loses out to most of its ri­vals in most ar­eas. The en­gine and gear­box, par­tic­u­larly the au­to­matic, are a huge im­prove­ment and cer­tainly bring the Musso into con­sid­er­a­tion, with the good ride brought by the mul­ti­link rear sus­pen­sion prov­ing some­thing of a boon. All other con­sid­er­a­tions aside though, the price is very com­pelling.

The are plenty of added ex­tras in­cluded in the cock­pit of the Ssangy­ong Musso, even aside from the mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.