Great Cars For Great People: SsangYong Musso

A familiar name returns to the price lists this month, as SsangYong rebrands its value-led pick-up truck. The adoption of the Musso name is a flashback to the first model to be imported into the UK, and serves as a replacement for the outgoing Korando Sports. But the name change is only part of the story, as the pick-up has been upgraded with a revised interior, a new Euro-6 2.2-litre diesel engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The re’s, 23bhp of extra power, 291b ft of additional torque, together with a maximum towing weight of three tons, which is ideal for those seeking to tow a load.

The price tag has understandably been elevated, but still remains one of the cheapest pickups on the market and features the best warranty in the business, with five years of cover and unlimited mileage. Turn the key and you wonder if the engine has actually started. The unit is one of the quietest you’ll experience, and this tranquillity continues on the road, unless of course you’ve got the accelerator pedal buried in the footwell, when the engine becomes more vocal.

On the move, there’s some wind noise, but sounds from the tyres and road are kept nicely in check. Our test car had a full load of gravel installed in the flatbed, designed to demonstrate the kind of work that this vehicle could be put to. Performance off the line feels quite sprightly, with sufficient power not to disgrace itself alongside other vehicles. The brand new six-speed automatic gearbox is responsive and smooth and is transformed compared to the unit in the previous model. Tidy handling and good road manners are the order of the day, with good grip levels when cornering. The steering is light enough for town work, but has a vagueness as the speed increases, and we wish it was more responsive, with greater agility. And while the suspension is generally well judged, soaking up the worst of the potholes and undulations nicely, at lower speeds, the ride does, on occasions, have a jittery feel. The update of the cabin brings soft-touch surfaces to the dashboard and door tops, with all of the materials feeling solid, durable and built-to-last. There’s a friendly feel to the layout, with a circular theme to many of the controls, and all sited within easy reach.

Significant upgrades make this pick-up better to drive and more user friendly than its predecessor.

The centre console is nicely angled towards the driver and the white, red and black instruments are all super clear. The re are areas that feel old fashioned, but of greater importance in a workhorse like the Musso is user friendliness, which it does rather well. There’s a huge amount of storage dotted around the cabin, with a big bin ahead of the gear lever, together with a decent sized armrest cubby and glovebox. Only the slitlike door pockets are a disappointment. There’s acres of space both front and back, with generous head and legroom. The floor is flat for back seat passengers, too, so three abreast is manageable. Slim pillars all round make it a joy to manoeuvre around town, in combination with the rear parking sensors and a long list of other equipment that comes as standard on this flagship EX model.

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