Testing the SsangYong Musso Saracen+

Testing the SsangYong Musso Saracen+

The SsangYong Musso Saracen+ is playing the long game 

In recent years there’s been a number of high-profile exits from the pick-up sector on these shores, but one stalwart is SsangYong Motor UK (now called KGM Motors). Indeed, whilst others have struggled to plot a successful path in the off-road market, the Korean manufacturer has significantly increased its dealer network. At the same time a completely revised Musso range is a powerful statement of intent, with four separate models now on offer that have each been redesigned from the ground up

The most recent additionand our Professional Builder test vehicleis the Saracen+, which has been added to the existing EX, Rebel and Saracen variants. For builders load carrying is king, and the Saracen+ delivers with an additional 12in. in bed length and an increase in volume capacity.      

This is a vehicle that exudes ruggedness with a solidity that would survive a war zone. The plastic lined load area is accessed via a robust rear tailgate, for example. There’s the convenience of a 12V/120W power outlet, with rotating hooks to help strap-down loads. Moreover, thanks to double wishbone suspension, and dual coil springs, the Musso is the only pick that can legally tow 3.5-tonnes and carry more than 1-tonne simultaneously. The payload is, in fact, a hefty 1,095kg at its maximum and, if that’s not enough, then a 7-year/150,000-mile warranty is equally unique to the pick-up market.

All that means it’s built for a serious shift but, whether it’s transporting your fellow builders to site in styleor the family on the weekendthe double cab has a spacious interior that will accommodate five passengers and, with the aforementioned payload of more than 1-tonne, it is within the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rate for vans.    

That additional muscle is reflected in bold exterior styling, with 18in. black alloy wheels, and 255/60 tyres. The Musso makeover goes further with a sleekness that a new design of fog lights affords, as well as roof bars, and a more prominent front grille. Every pickup has undoubtedly increased in size and the high driving position is certainly beneficial in being able to see around the vehicle.

Under the bonnet all four of the Musso models feature an e-XDi220 2.2 litre diesel engine, delivering 202ps at 3,800rpm and maximum torque of 441Nm at 1,600 to 2,600rpm combined with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.

The Musso is actually based on the same manufacturer’s Rexton SUV and it’s a provenance that is apparent in the interior. As a result, it benefits from features such as heated seating (both front and rear) and a 9.2in. infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can also sit back in the comfort of the Nappa leather heated seat, enjoying the DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, and the visibility benefits of front and rear parking sensors.

In amongst the rough stuff, there’s a selectable 4-wheel drive system. Power is driven to the rear wheel as standard and 4-wheel drive selected as required, with high and low ratios. Grip, traction and safety are further enhanced with hill descent control and hill start assist.

Whether it’s off road or on one big area of improvement has been the ride quality, with a redesigned suspension delivering a much more comfortable experience. Added to that is light steering and a low noise cab that makes for pleasant driving. Overall, if you’re using a pick up for its intended purpose – as a load carrying workhorse – the Musso range offers a good level of equipment for the price, with the Saracen+ adding an extra touch of quality.

For further information on the KGM Musso range visit KGM Musso | Overview & Pricing | KGM Motors UK (kgm-motors.co.uk).

SsangYong Motors UK has now become KGM Motors, supporting KGM Global with its new brand purpose and future strategy following its own transition from SsangYong Motor Company.

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