2017 Ssangyong Musso
Huge value packed into a double-cab packageby Jonathan Lopez, on
Musso means “rhinoceros” in Korean, which makes sense when you consider the word’s usage in SsangYong’s model lineup. Previously used for the automaker’s mid-size, five-door SUV, the original Musso was produced between 1993 and 2005. The first Musso was sold in markets across the world, including China, Europe, Iran, and Russia, but now, the nameplate is being resurrected to replace SsangYong’s Korando Sports pick-up truck. Recently announced as the automaker’s revised one-tonne pick-up offering (a tonne is equal to 1,000 kg, or approximately 2,205 pounds), the new Musso promises big work-truck capability, a new diesel engine, an affordable price tag, and surprisingly, a family-friendly interior as well.
SsangYong is Korea’s oldest automobile producer, originally ramping up production in 1954. It’s also the nation’s only specialist producer of 4x4s and SUVs, and it sends several of its exports westward towards the U.K.
Previously, SsangYong offered British buyers the Korando Sports pick-up, but now, a name change is needed to prevent confusion with the Korando SUV.
“Our commercial vehicles represent an intrinsic part of the SsangYong range, and we decided to reintroduce the Musso name to differentiate this superb utility truck from our passenger cars,” said Paul Williams, CEO at SsangYong Motor U.K., in a press release.
Long story short, the new Musso is more than an updated Korando Sports with a different name. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the SsangYong Musso.
2017 Ssangyong Musso
At the outset, the new Musso looks very similar to the Korando Sports. It offers the same double-cab pick-up body style, with a bold, upright fascia, meaty character lines in the flanks, and a long bed in back. However, if you look a little bit closer, you will start to discover a few notable differences between the two.
For starters, the grille in the upper portion of the front fascia is now updated with a new mesh insert, which appears to use thinner wires in its design. This new grille also gets chrome elements on top and on bottom.
Speaking of which, you still get a tonne of practicality in the back – literally.
In the corners, you’ll find upgraded wheels as well. The standard 18-inch silver alloys use the same split five-spoke design as before, but higher trim levels get slick-looking 18-inch alloys finished in black. These black rollers get a more open, ten-spoke design that looks like a widened version of the silver five-spokes.
Along the bottom-edge of the Musso is the same matte-black underbody protection as before to help ward off any paint-threatening rocks or grime.
Further note-worthy features include black roof rails, front daytime running lights outfitted with LEDs, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, all of which are standard equipment on the upper trim level. It’s good bit of kit, especially for a budget-oriented workhorse like the Musso.
Speaking of which, you still get a tonne of practicality in the back – literally. In the bed, there’s enough space to load a full Euro-spec pallet, or more specifically, 2.04 square meters (or roughly 22 square feet).
Inside, SsangYong says the new Musso gets a revised dashboard when compared to the old Korando Sports. However, the layout and look are both very similar to the old model.
That means there is an asymmetrical design that places the majority of the buttons around the driver and steering wheel. It reminds me of some kind of old school sci-fi command post, with a cornucopia of hard buttons and knobs scattered everywhere. Unfortunately, that also means it’s not very sleek or streamlined, which might be a problem for buyers looking for something that “just works.”
These features should also do quite well on a pick-up like the Musso, especially when you consider the price point.
Silver plastic trim pieces seem to pervade throughout, including on the steering wheel, climate control vents, and in between some of the buttons.
That said, the new SsangYong Musso does seem to come with the right materials for the segment. On the standard trim level, you’ll find sturdy, “leather look” upholstery (thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU) applied to the seats.
Step up in the grades, and you’ll get genuine leather upholstery. The higher trim level also comes standard with heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and automatic air conditioning.
On the infotainment front, the higher trim level also receives a 7.0-inch touch screen, iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth connectivity.
While usually considered standard fair on most modern passenger vehicles, these features should also do quite well on a pick-up like the Musso, especially when you consider the price point.
Further user friendliness is just ahead of the bed, where we find a bench seat that can accommodate an additional three passengers, raising total capacity to five. While not the roomiest accommodations in the automotive world, the extra seating in back is still a most-welcome feature in the segment.
When the Musso was first put into production in 1993 as a mid-size five-door utility vehicle, SsangYong sourced its engine lineup from Mercedes. The old SUV came with a broad range of powerplants, including a 2.8-liter and 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder, 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder, and a 2.3-liter four-banger and 2.9-liter five-cylinder diesel. While the selection was good, the engines themselves were a bit outdated.
Nowadays, SsangYong has it’s own powertrains, and the new Musso benefits because of it. In fact, the biggest development you’ll find with the updated pickup is in the powertrain department.
The biggest development you’ll find with the updated pickup is in the powertrain department.
Tucked away behind the revised grille, you’ll discover a newly developed 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine. This oil burner was specifically designed for more power and lower emissions, and so far, it seems to meet both those requirements.
As for output, the 2.2-liter offers up 175 horsepower. That’s a decent wallop from a diesel engine, especially when compared to the 153 horses from the old Korando Sports’ 2.0-liter powerplant.
But given this thing was designed as a work truck, the more important figure here is torque. As such, the Musso offers a very solid 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) starting at just 1,400 rpm. Peak torque hangs on until 2,800 rpm in the rev range before it starts to peter out.
But even workhorses must bend to the will of emissions standards, and thankfully, the 2.2-liter in the new Musso is Euro 6 compliant. Not only that, but according to Auto Express, it’ll return upwards of 40 mpg in the combined cycle when equipped with a manual transmission.
Speaking of gearboxes, the Musso is also offering up a new six-speed automatic from Aisin, which replaces the outgoing five-speed unit. This box also shaves off a few mpg, but not much.
Here’s the important bits – all that space in back is there to accommodate a 1-tonne payload, which is roughly equivalent to 2,205 pounds. Not only that, but the diesel has enough muscle to tow upwards of 3 tonnes (6,614), making this truck useful for almost anything you need to bring with you, be it a pair of jet skis, or horses.
Not only that, but it comes equipped with 4WD, which means it can offer the traction you need as well.
Less important are the acceleration stats. As you might expect, the Musso isn’t fast, clocking in with a 0-to-62 mph time of 11 seconds and a top speed under 110 mph, according to Auto Express.
But that’s okay. Those numbers are still fast enough to not fear onramps, and besides, the Musso was designed to haul other things.
Chassis And Handling
One critical area of a pick-up like the Musso is the way it rides. The ideal is to find a nice balance between truck-like capability and car-like handling, and to that end, the Musso employs a refined multi-link suspension in the rear. This set-up uses progressive coil springs, which, SsangYong claims, makes the Musso the only pick-up to offer this kind of suspension at this price point.
The end result is supposedly less jostling and more comfort, doing away with the traditional truck-like handling and feeling you’d expect from something with a tonne of stuff in the bed.
The SsangYong Musso is offered in two trim levels.
The base trim level is called the SE, and starts at 15,995 pounds, excluding VAT. At current exchange rates (10/16/16), that amounts to $19,468.
Above the SE is the EX, which starts at 17,995 excluding VAT, when equipped with a manual transmission. At current exchange rates, that amounts to $21,902.
You can also get the EX with an automatic gearbox for 18,995 pounds, or $23,119 at current exchange rates.
Both EX models include leather upholstery, 18-inch black wheels, LED running lights, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and all those other premium goodies listed in the sections above.
The new SsangYong Musso is slated to arrive in U.K. dealers sometime this month.
Both trim levels come with 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, which covers all the major mechanical components, including the audio system. Wearable items, such as the clutch, brakes, etc., are covered for one year or 12,000 miles. Battery and paintwork are covered for three years.
The Blue Oval is certainly no stranger to the pick-up world, no matter the market. In the U.K., the new SsangYong will look to steal sales from Ford’s Ranger model. Recently upgraded with the latest infotainment tech, the Ford Ranger is offered with a 2.2-liter diesel engine producing 158 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. Pricing for the double-cab model starts at 20,395 pounds ($16,774) excluding VAT.
Read the full review on the Ford Ranger here.
Nissan also has a solid work proposition with the Navara, offering a combination of tried-and-true grit in the rough stuff, plus a smattering of fanciness in the interior. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.3-liter diesel powerplant that’s good for 158 horsepower, but upgraded models come with more output as well – up to 187 horsepower. A broad variety of trim levels are offered, starting at 23,520 pounds ($28,605) including VAT.
Read the full review on the Nissan Navara here.
The double-cab pickup has to do many things well. Not only does it need to get the job done, but it’s gotta be a somewhat comfortable vehicle to ride in as well.
By all accounts, the SsangYong Musso ticks those boxes, but it’s the value of the thing that stands out the most. At about 19,000 pounds for an automatic EX, you get a lot of kit for not much money. Paired with an impressive five-year warranty, it looks like SsangYong’s competitors might have something to worry about from this South Korean offering.