Ssangyong Musso Rebel
List price inc VAT
List price ex VAT
£23,745 EVEN IF YOU’VE heard of Ssangyong, you probably know the South Korean manufacturer for building cheap and cheerful models that look a bit, well, different. But like the animal the Musso is named after (it’s Korean for ‘rhino’, if you’re wondering), you’ll underestimate the company’s new pick-up at your peril, because in many ways it’s really quite good.
Because it’s based on the Rexton SUV, the Musso benefits from a number of features that are usually limited to more luxurious mainstream cars. For example, its interior is a cut above those of almost all of its rivals, featuring plenty of soft-touch plastics and switches that are well damped and even quite satisfying to use. There’s also loads of space in the front and back, a bright and responsive infotainment system and no shortage of standard equipment, including heated and cooled leather seats.
It’s a hushed environment, too. Pick-ups, by their very nature, are usually loud and agricultural, but the Musso is almost serene in comparison with most. Its 2.2-litre diesel engine remains smooth and subdued even under hard acceleration, while it simply fades into the background at a cruise. And because the front end has been borrowed from the Rexton, it also benefits from steering that feels more like a regular SUV’S than a traditional pick-up’s; in other words, it’s accurate, light and pleasingly direct.
However, the Musso is not immune from faults – far from it. Firstly, to maximise space inside, Ssangyong has compromised on the size of the load bed, resulting in by far the shortest one here – something you might find restrictive.
Second, the Musso has the least comfortable ride of all our pick-ups. The extra-stiff rear suspension needed to give the Musso its impressive load-hauling ability causes it to shimmy and shudder over the smallest of imperfections. A heavy load in the bed calms things down somewhat, but the shuddering through the body never really goes away.
want your pick-up to be usable day to day, and that’s where the Hilux falls down.
Its interior is relatively narrow, while space for rear seat passengers is poor; only the L200 and Fullback are worse in this respect. And while the interior feels rugged enough to cope with the rigours of working life, the materials don’t look premium enough for a pick-up at this price point.
But where the Hilux really falls behind the pack is in its on-road driving manners. As we mentioned earlier, the Hilux can deal with huge weights in its bed, but this requires rear suspension that’s super-stiff, causing the rear end to become very bouncy over speed bumps and along rough roads. Thankfully, a heavy load in the bed does wonders for the ride, but you’ll still have to put up with the clattery 2.4-litre diesel engine and an old-school six-speed automatic gearbox that slurs heavily between shifts.
Musso’s steering is well weighted and accurate, but its on-road manners are undermined badly by a stiff, uncomfortable ride
1 1 The infotainment’s 8.0in touchscreen is responsive, sharp and relatively intuitive 2 2 The Musso feels surprisingly plush inside, thanks to a good spread of soft-touch plastics 3 3 Visibility is excellent, thanks to a high seating position and wide, upright windows
970mm 1505mm 700mmBEST REAR SPACE Load bed size has been sacri ced for extra interior space, which is the best here, with acres of head and leg room; it’s wide, too
970mm 1525mm 1070mm BEST FRONT SPACE
1 1 The infotainment system looks and feels aftermarket, with slow responses to inputs 2 2 Lots of hard plastics are in evidence here, but they feel durable enough 3 3 Hilux has the highest driving position of the bunch for a commanding view of the road