The SsangYong Musso is unlike any other double-cab from its core, and is therefore a unique proposition for pickup operators. The SUV-derived pickup is great to drive, it’s well-specced and it represents great value for money, but how suited is it to your lifestyle and business?
The most striking aspect of the SsangYong Musso is its size. Measuring 4,990mm long and 1,790mm high, its around 200mm shorter in length and around 25mm shorter in height than most double-cabs – although it is quite wide at 1,910mm.
The design hasn’t differed much since its launch as the Korando Sports in 2012, but it still looks the part. On the outside, there is very little difference between the two trim levels (SE and EX). On top of the SE, EX models also receive roof rails and black 18-inch alloy wheels.
Interior comfort and features
In terms of cabin quality, the Musso is certainly towards the top of the class. The low seating position allows for easy access and there’s great visibility thanks to a low sitting and sloping bonnet. The wide body also provides a spacious cab, and there are plenty of useful storage spaces including a large central cubby.
Even the standard SE models include remote-control central-locking, air-conditioning, electronically-adjustable and heated door mirrors, cruise-control, electric front and rear windows, and a RDS radio with CD player, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and steering-wheel mounted controls.
Moving up to EX class, EX customers also benefit from automatic air-conditioning, a 7-inch touchscreen display, rear view camera and sensors, leather upholstery, electric driver’s seat, heated front seats and rain-sensing wipers.
Engine and driving characteristics
We highly rated SsangYong’s newly-developed 178PS 2.2-litre engine, which produces a peak torque of 400Nm across a broad range between 1,400 and 2,800rpm. Not only is it punchy, but it’s also quiet and refined.
There is a choice between a six-speed manual or automatic transmission; the latter of which provides smooth, if sometimes hesitant, gear changes. With a low centre of gravity and coil spring rear suspension, the Musso is one of the most comfortable pickups to drive, although the steering is notably light.
Manoeuvring in tight yards is relatively easy thanks to its compact dimensions and tight turning cicle which, at 5.95 metres, is only marginally behind the class-leader, the Mitsubishi L200. Reversing is quite difficult without the aids, as the Musso has a very high tailgate which obstructs the driver’s vision.
However, the Musso doesn’t quite match up off-road. There is no option of a rear diff-lock, while the low ground clearance (195mm) and low approach, departure and ramp-over angles (26.5, 22.5 and 21 degrees respectively) means its more likely to bottom out and scuff the paintwork. The electronic 4WD system itself is impressive and has three settings (2Hi, 4Hi and 4Low).
Loading and towing
Practicality isn’t one of the Musso’s strong points. Despite having a very wide load bed (1,600mm), the 1,275mm load length and the 2.04 square metre load area are the smallest of any pickup. A plastic load bed liner and lashing points are standard across the range.
The Musso recently upgraded to a 3.5t towing capacity, which is joint best-in-class alongside the like of the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Nissan Navara. However, the Musso is only able to carry 150kg in the back when towing the full load.
Cost of ownership
Another attractive proposition of the Musso is its price. Listed at £16,395 for the SE and £18,395 for the EX (both subject to VAT), the Musso is the cheapest double-cab on the market since the Great Wall Steed was dropped for Euro-6.
Musso’s are backed by SsangYong’s respectable five year, unlimited mileage warranty. Service intervals are fairly short at every 12,500 miles or 12 months, and the fuel economy isn’t great at 40.0mpg combined for the manual and 37.0mpg for the auto.
The main downside from a cost perspective is residual values, which are among the lowest in the class but, because the list price is so small anyway, the amount lost in real terms (as opposed to a percentage) isn’t much.
SsangYong Musso verdict
If you carry out heavy duty contracting work or regularly encounter rocky terrain in your line of business, the SsangYong Musso is not the ideal candidate. However, if you’re looking for a good-value, comfortable and well-specced light-duty workhorse, then the Musso should be on the shortlist.
Also read: New SsangYong Musso for 2018.