Ssangy­ong Musso Rebel

What Car? - - Comparison -

List price inc VAT

£28,433

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

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