- Only pickup able to tow 3.5t and carry one tonne simultaneously
- Two wheelbases available, offering class-leading load length of 1.7m
- Refined 2.2-litre e-XDi220 engine with 181PS and 400Nm
- Prices start from around £19,000 plus VAT
- Class-leading 5 years, unlimited mileage warranty
The SsangYong Musso 2018 has a lot going for it on paper; competitive pricing, a 3.5t towing capacity and a one tonne payload, and it looks the part inside and out. Too good to be true? Liam Campbell puts it to the test on the unforgiving terrain of the Swiss Alps.
SsangYong has long been a small player in the UK pickup market but with huge cash investments from new owners Mahindra & Mahindra, this looks likely to change. The first fruits of this new relationship – the Tivoli and Rexton – have won international acclaim, and the South Koreans now have their targets set on the pickup sector.
The Musso is the only SUV-derived pickup (based on the Rexton) and, as a result, benefits from much higher levels of comfort and refinement.
The SsangYong Musso 2018 is a lot more appealing than its predecessor, with a more rugged yet stylish appearance emphasised by stretched headlights, a high front-end and chrome highlighting. All three trim levels come with colour-coded bumpers and top-level specs will be the only models in the sector to come with 20-inch alloy wheels.
The cab of the Musso is incredibly spacious in the front and back and offers an abundance of useful storage compartments, including a large central cubby and lockable glovebox, although the dashboard is high which tends to obstruct the vision more than other models.
Specifications have yet to be announced, but we do know that possibly two of the three trims will have heated seats and climate control, while flagship models will benefit from a luxury leather ‘Nappa’ upholstery.
There will be a DAB radio, Bluetooth and MP3 connectivity on all models, while mid and top spec models will feature an 8-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto.
SsangYong Musso engine and driveline
SsangYong’s refined 2.2-litre (2,157cc) e-XDi220 provides the power, churning out up to 181PS (4,000rpm) and 400Nm (1,400-2,800rpm), although this is slightly uprated to 420Nm for the auto. There is the choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed Aisin automatic which, although smooth, can be slightly hesitant at times.
On and off the road
Although the 2.2-litre engines are starting to seem slightly anaemic in comparison to the larger displacements marketed by Mercedes, Volkswagen and Ford, the lighter chassis of the Musso means that it feels a lot livelier that we assumed, and the broad torque spread ensures plenty of flexibility when towing and scaling steep inclines.
The Musso is most in its element out on the country roads. The engineers have excelled in dampening noise and vibrations from the engine and road, while the multi-link rear suspension provides remarkable ride and handling. Going into the corners, the steering is light and accurate, and body roll is minimal thanks to the lower centre of gravity.
We weren’t able to give the Musso a thorough off-road test, but the selectable 4WD system (2Hi, 4Hi and 4Low) certainly worked a treat on the ice-laden mountain passes. SsangYong won’t be offering a diff-lock on the Musso, but the traction control system was very effective in cutting-in early and the ground clearance is a class-average 215mm.
Weights and loads
What sets the SsangYong Musso 2018 apart from other pickups is its 7t GTW/GCW (gross train weight/gross combination weight), which is one tonne more than its next nearest rival. This allows the Musso to tow 3.5 tonnes and carry a one tonne payload at the same time – the only pickup able to do so.
The Musso will also be the only pickup to be available in two wheelbases; although SsangYong UK has stated they will discontinue the lesser popular after the first year for simplicity purposes. The load bed measures 1,570mm wide and the two wheelbases correspond to load lengths of 1,300mm and 1,700mm – which would make it by far the longest in the segment.
Specs have yet to be announced, but there is a durable load bed liner and a 12v socket available to charge tools and machinery.
Pricing and costs
Prices haven’t been confirmed, but a chat with SsangYong UK boss Nick Laird revealed that they will be ranging between £19,000 and £24,000 plus VAT, dependent on spec, and this is backed by the sector-leading five years, unlimited mileage warranty.
The Musso’s official fuel economy is rated at 35.8mpg, although SsangYong this may improve when further tests are carried out nearer to the launch. Currently, SsangYong only has 60 UK dealerships although the management plans to increase this to 90 in the next 18 months.
SsangYong Musso 2018 verdict
From what we’ve experienced so far, it seems SsangYong could well have a winner on its hand. The SsangYong is a pleasure to drive, competitively priced and it possesses a number of class-leading features in terms of loading and towing. This is certainly the pickup to look out for in 2018.
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