Professional Builder’s Lee Jones check out the SsangYong Musso.
With some of the most recent entrants to the pick-up market unashamedly courting the high end, the line between SUV and pick up has become increasingly blurred of late. Indeed, it could be argued that many of the new entrants are not only eye-wateringly expensive, but as compatible to a construction site as a pair of stilettos. For the muddy boots brigade that delicate balance of family friend and builders’ tool is still the ideal, and one manufacturer claims to have struck just that.
Although they have made significant inroads in recent years, SsangYong might still be unfamiliar to some, but this Korean 4×4 specialist is actually that country’s oldest vehicle manufacturer, with some 60 years of experience in the sector. ‘Musso’ translates as rhinoceros and, with the latest model, this is one LCV that is certainly on the charge when it comes to industry recognition.
Even before you get behind the wheel what should immediately grab your attention is an unprecedented 7 year/150,000 mile warranty, covering all of the major mechanical components over that period, as well as the battery and paintwork for three years. Add to that a 3.5 tonne towing capacity, and a 1-tonne payload, and it already starts to look more at home amongst the muck and bullets of a building site than some of its contemporaries. So much so, in fact that Highways England has put its faith in the Musso with a major contract award.
Whilst we’re in the business of considering figures another welcome number is a price tag of just over £25,000 – but just what will you get for your money? As the maker’s badge reveals, SsangYong is Korean for ‘twin dragons’ and it is a moniker that matches a muscular ‘ultra-strength’ steel quad frame body. A 2.2 litre Euro 6 engine delivers a maximum 181hp, and is available as either a six speed manual or six-speed Aisin automatic. Musso’s selectable 4×4 provide the obligatory combination of 2wd high range, 4wd high range and 4wd low range, all of which makes it more than capable of handling whatever off road challenges a builder can lay in its path.
It’s the double wishbone front suspension and rear mounted coils which allows the Musso to master heavier loads, but the pay-off is a stiffer suspension than on some of its rivals. That said, add a load to the back and the experience is altogether smoother and, given that the trend in the pick-up market is currently for ever bigger beasts, few can currently claim to be particularly nimble on the road.
The detail in the design betrays that these are wheels made for working, with a load bay that will accommodate a Euro pallet, rotating hooks to strap down loads, and 12V/120W outlets in the rear for power tools. Step behind the wheel, however, and the level of comfort belies the price tag, with some of the best leg room in the double-cab class, and Nappa leather seats at the top of the range.
Add the epithet ‘value for money’ to anything and there may well be an inclination to make judgements about quality, but the SsangYong Musso actually compares very favourably with some of its more established competitors. Indeed, this is one Rhino that is certainly not going to be an endangered species.