SsangYong Musso Rebel – Top quality, affordable and dynamically sound

Ian Lamming finds the new SsangYong Musso to be a rebel with a cause.

SAY you drive a SsangYong to most people and they look bemused, like you are in some sort of foreign Jonnie-cum-lately jalopy.

Tell them just how long this Korean manufacturer has been specializing in 4x4s and they will look even more puzzled still – because it’s 60 years!

That’s right; six decades of knowhow have gone into the latest incarnations which explains a lot and certainly why the brand new Musso pick-up is sheer brilliance personified, or whatever the motoring equivalent is.

Musso is a pick-up, yes, but it would be easier to describe it as a Rexton with a loadbay grafted on its bottom.

There is nothing utilitarian about this hard working cargo-carrier. It looks like a Rexton from the front, no bad thing given the number of awards SsangYong’s top of the range SUV has picked up.

It’s the same inside; large, comfortable, well equipped. Rebel specification is only one up from the bottom of the range yet it comes with heated and airconditioned ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel – oh yeah!

Inside it feels very light and spacious as the back window is massive and there is loads of space for five adults in the double cab. The ride – often the weak point in a pick-up which tends to pogo-hop – is smooth thanks to double wishbone front and rear coil suspension. It really is as good as any SUV.

The 2.2 litre home-grown diesel is refined, powerful and in Rexton too. This thing will pull 3.5 tonnes while carrying another in the back, which takes a Euro-pallet by the way, in fact there is a tacho in the glovebox which you will need legally if you are loaded to the gunwales.

But it’s the level of refinement that impresses the most, a trait which transfers to all aspects of the car, including the silky smooth six speed automatic gearbox. Also remarkable is the fact that I manage to get the 32mpg promised by the official claims for the combined cycle.

While Musso (Korean for Rhino apparently) is truly excellent on the road it is very much built for off it. It runs in two wheel drive to the rear set of wheels to maximise economy but with a turn of a dial on the centre transmission tunnel it can go into four wheel high, four wheel low and also boasts a diff lock for the most treacherous conditions, particularly useful when towing. The already mentioned decent suspension also offers good off road articulation.

Back inside, the dash is all Rexton and so are the levels of luxury and specification. It is why driving the Musso feels like being in an SUV within minutes and just to ensure you don’t forget about the rear loadbay there is a reverse camera to remind you where the limits lie.

Luxurious, yes, but there is no forgetting that this is a pick-up in one important respect, its ability to carry loads. All manner of stuff drops easily into the plastic-lined loadbay where there are useful 12v/120W outlets to plug in appliances and rotating hooks to stop things shifting about.

All it needs to be perfect is a seven year, 150,000 mile warranty – oh, it has one of those too.

When a vehicle is this good, it’s high time people knew the name SsangYong for what it is and the new Musso is the prime example offering a top quality, affordable and dynamically sound pick-up which can be as much about lifestyle as it is everyday graft. I love it.

 

Factfile

SsangYong Musso Rebel

Engine: 2.2 litre turbo diesel

Power: 181PS

Max Speed: 111mph

Max towing weight: 3,500kg

Payload: one tonne

Transmission: Aisin automatic, selectable 4×4 with low ratios and hill descent

Combined MPG: 32.9

CO2 g/km: 211

Price: from £23,745 (ex-VAT)

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