By on 2016-10-19 -
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THE pick-up market has seen substantial levels of growth over the last year with many models launched and many more still to come.
SsangYong wants a slice of the profitable and growing pick-up market and the result is a beefed-up version of the Korando Sports.
Now called the Musso, the name actually dates back to the large Daewoo-based SUV that the Korean company sold between 1993 and 2005.
On top of its history, SsangYong believes this badge fits this reworked pick-up, as it means ‘Rhinoceros' in Korean and this animal's image of being rough, rugged and capable - suits the vehicle better than the Korando name it also uses on its medium-sized SUV.
The Musso pick-up is available in two versions, SE and EX, both powered an all-new 2.2-litre 175bhp diesel engine, mated with a choice six-speed manual or new Aisin-supplied six-speed automatic transmissions.
There's also the extra practicality of four-wheel drive. Designed to offer more powerful performance, plus lower CO2 emissions, this engine boasts 400Nm of torque, 186g/km emissions at its best, plus it is Euro 6 compliant.
Best economy for the Musso truck is the six-speed manual's 40mpg combined figure.
The Musso is a high value buy, with even the entry-level SE having silver finish 18-inch alloy wheels and hard wearing ‘leather look' TPU seat upholstery.
Move up to the range-topping EX, and this model adds black alloys, roof rails, front LED daytime running lights, leather trim with heated front seats, a power operated driver's seat, automatic air-conditioning, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, seven-inch touchscreen RDS radio with iPod and Bluetooth.
Certainly with the new Musso's new grille, plus the EX's daytime running lights and those black 18-inch alloys, it looks much more contemporary.
Inside, the similarities between the Musso and the Korando Sports are obvious, although the Musso gets a new dashboard - with the built-in touchscreen and new centrally-mounted, easier to read digital clock.
But, there are still minor hiccups with the design as if you go for the EX, the seat heater controls are in a pod on the driver's side.
Interior stowage in the Musso is good, but not amazing - with just a set of deep door bins, centre console box and a glovebox included.
Overall, all-round visibility in the Musso is fine, and the driving position is tall and off-roader-like.
Legroom in the front of this SsangYong is good too, but rear space is more compromised. The quality of the interior trim and switchgear may lag behind some rivals, but it still feels durable and built to last.
The Musso hasn't got the biggest load area in the all important 1,000kg threshold (it can carry up to 1,050kg) but the 2.04 square metres cargo bed is big enough to fit a Euro pallet and on the version we sampled was made more practical with the fitment of Â£1,155 worth of hard top.
I got behind the wheel of the Â£18,995 EX auto first, it's very easy to drive, with the new auto box offering quick, slick changes, plus enough power from that new engine to make overtaking easy.
I also drove a manual version of the EX, but the driving experience isn't as smooth as the auto, which doesn't blend well with the Musso's slightly unsettled ride, despite the sophisticated multilink rear suspension - a carry over from the Korando Sports.
The over-light steering and body-roll are unwelcome too although its three tonne towing limit is useful.
Overall, the Musso has been usefully improved in key areas and despite it lacking some refinement it's good value and protected by a five year, unlimited mileage warranty.
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