The overhaul of the SsangYong lineup continues, and this time it’s the Musso pick-up truck that comes in for some attention, with an allnew model based on the Rexton SUV. It made its debut at the Commercial Vehicle show at the NEC Birmingham late last month, and ahead of its unveiling, we got behind the wheel of a left-hand-drive pre-production vehicle in mid-range trim. With a one-tonne payload that can accommodate a Euro Palet and a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes in automatic guise, it has all the right statistics in order to succeed. And the fact that prices will start at around £22k means that it will undercut the opposition by some margin.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine is the same powerplant that you’ll find under the bonnet of most models in the SsangYong range, and that means this it is far from agricultural. Refinement is good and engine noise neatly hushed, with only a hint of road and tyre noise creeping into the cabin. There’s decent pace off the line, and the six-speed Aisin-sourced gearbox changes up and down nicely, even if the gear lever appears dated. The brakes have a meaty bite, bringing the Musso to a stop quicker than it has taken to accelerate, and the steering is light enough around town, ensuring that it doesn’t feel unwieldy like many pick-up trucks do, and weights up nicely at a motorway gallop. And while there’s understandably some lean when cornering, it never gets out of shape thanks to tenacious grip from the all-wheel-drive system. Unlike most pick-up rivals that feature an unsophisticated leaf suspension, the Musso adopts a multi-link affair, and therefore remains comfortable over the majority of surfaces.
The interior of the latest Musso has taken a mighty leap forward, and in our opinion beats the majority of its competitors, even those that cost £10k more. There’s a mixture of soft and hard surfaces, and while there’s the odd iffy moulding, on the whole the SsangYong’s interior is impressively screwed together. The design is certainly more pleasing than its predecessor, with clear white-on-black instruments and an integrated touchscreen that incorporates the infotainment and navigation system. The driving position is in the main pretty decent, even though we wish there was some extra rearward travel for taller drivers. No matter which seat you’re perched in, there’s lots of head, leg and kneeroom, outclassing all of its rivals. Storage is well catered for, too, with a tray in front of the gear lever, a deep area in the armrest, door pockets that can accommodate drinks bottles and a decently proportioned glovebox.
While the final specifications and prices have yet to be announced, SsangYong has said that there will be entry, mid and top-specification models. Our middle-range model was impressively kitted out with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, and even had a 360-degree camera system that proved to be a real boon when parking the 5.1- metre double cab pick-up in tight spots.
On sale | Summer 2018
In showrooms | Summer 2018
Prices | From £22,000 approximately
Bodystyles | 4-door double cab pick-up
Engines | 2.2 (179bhp)
Trim levels | To be confirmed
Also consider| Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200
Model tested | Mid-specification
Price | £ tba
Built in | Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Bodystyle | 4-door pick-up, 5-seats
Layout| Four-wheel-drive
Powerplant| 2,157cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbo diesel
Transmission | 6-speed automatic
Stop-start| Yes SCR| No
Max power| 179bhp @ 4,000rpm
Max torque | 310lb ft @ 1,600-2,600rpm
Top speed | 115mph 0-62mph | tba
CO2 emissions | 226g/km (Euro-6)
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) | 25.9/39.2/32.8mpg
Fuel tank size | 75 litres Range | 591 miles
Insurance group | tba
Size (length/width without mirrors) | 5,095/1,950mm
Loadbay space (min/max) | tba
Kerb/max towing weight| 2,090/3,500kg