Ian Lamming does anything he wants and goes anywhere he pleases in the latest SsangYong Musso.
THE roads are narrow where I live and they can drop off alarmingly at the margins.
What looks like terra firma can be terrifyingly squidgy and if you are forced to transcend the division the edge can rip the bottom off your motor. Who cares? Well, not me, not this week, because I’m in a monster truck and I love it.
Not many vehicles can dwarf a Discovery but when I park the SsangYong Musso next to my mate’s it looks svelte.
This pick-up is well named – Musso is Korean for rhino – and it’s as tough as a…well, a rhino.
So when the panicked oncoming tourist meets it head on down a country lane I’m able to venture off piste, much to their relief as I’m not sure they know what to do. A quick glance at the green and brown stuff is enough and I just know Musso will be just fine.
It is a bit squidgy but the SsangYong Musso doesn’t even need to resort to all wheel drive, nor the back-up plan of a diff lock. It breezes through the dirt like it’s still on the asphalt, no trouble. It makes me smile but then the Musso brings me joy in all conditions, it’s such a fine drive.
Its combination of high ride height, brilliant suspension, torquey motor, awesome auto and supreme all-wheel-drive, the result of 60 years of know-how that comes complete with low range, diff lock and hill descent control, give the vehicle go-anywhere ability and there is such comfort in that the Musso takes the stress out of life. No matter what the world decides to throw its way you just know it will conquer all – it’s that good.
Like other pick-ups you appreciate blending in, particularly in the countryside where you can go anywhere, park anywhere, fit in anywhere.
But Musso is also a revelation in towns and on the open road. It is a fantastic commuter, gobbling up with ease the miles of single and dual carriageway A roads between home and school and, because it is relatively square, with large windows and a useful colour reverse camera, it is amazingly easy to park this behemoth truck in tight spots.
The diesel is refined and powerful, the suspension comfortable and compliant and the gearbox smooth and sophisticated. It offers car-levels of noise, harshness and vibration leaving it quiet and relaxed on the road.
The load bay is large and well finished and the optional top-box is well made and finished to increase versatility even further.
Inside, it’s a treat. Loads of legroom and not a hint of pick-up austerity here, just nappa leather, satnav, aircon, decent sound system, Bluetooth, cruise control and, my absolute favourites on a chilly morning, power adjustable heated seats (in the rear too) and toasty steering wheel. It wants for nothing.
Saracen looks business-like with proud decals and smart wheels. It’s a handsome purposeful vehicle with tremendous ability. If there is a fly, and there generally has to be at least one fly, it’s economy. I managed to get 30mpg but I can add almost 10 to the figure with some of the opposition.
But that’s it, otherwise Musso is actually a firm favourite of mine, the perfect vehicle in which to load up, drop round or drop off whatever the road conditions.
SsangYong Musso Saracen
Engine: 2.2 litre turbo diesel
Max Speed: 115mph
Max towing weight: 3,500kg
Payload: one tonne
Transmission: Six speed automatic, selectable 4×4 with low ratios and hill descent
Combined MPG: 34.5
CO2 g/km: 216
Price: £28,246.00 (ex-VAT)