New Musso makes

pick-ups posh

SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, front
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, side, static
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, side, action
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, side
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, rear, tailgate down
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, rear, static
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, rear
SangYong Musso Saracen, interior
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, cabin
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, rear seats
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, running board
SsangYong Musso Saracen, 2018, front, static

IN Korea musso means rhino and that's an image SsangYong is keen to build on with its new pick-up.

Dressed very much to impress - inside and out - the second generation Musso is out to shake up the truck market in no uncertain terms.

Capable of carrying more than a tonne and pulling loads of up to 3.5 tonnes at the same time, the Musso is the only pick-up on the UK market with a gross train weight ability of 6.75 tonnes.

It's also keenly priced, starting from £19,995 excluding VAT and topping out at £24,495 - or for a limited time £28,245 which will get you a limited edition and appropriately named Rhino model of which just 100 are being produced.

That one comes with all the bling associated with pick-ups these days including a load deck bar complete with LED lights, tubular side steps, 20-inch alloys with all terrain tyres and a six-speed Aisin automatic gearbox.

The rest of the line up - which comes with tough sounding names such as Rebel and Saracen with only the entry level EX Musso having a ‘traditional' moniker - is also well kitted with the likes of air con, automatic wipers and remote central locking which includes the tailgate.

Rebel models up the ante and for £22,495 get 18-inch alloys, roof rails, an eight-inch infotainment screen with full smartphone connectivity, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

The top grade Saracen versions are posh, auto only and have nappa leather upholstery, heated rear seats and a 9.2-inch touchscreen with a TomTom sat nav built in.

Saracen versions also come with projector headlamps, cruise control and LED running lights as well as metal front skid plates, bright finished tubular side steps, corner bars and door mirror cappings.

It was that one we have just put through its paces on and off road - and there's nothing lacking in the way the new Musso goes about its business.

It's based on SsangYong's new Rexton SUV and that means it's not only very capable but also quite upmarket inside with the Saracen having leather trim inserts in the dash and quality fixtures and fittings throughout the very roomy double cab.

All Mussos are powered by the Korean car maker's 2.2-litre diesel engine from the Rexton which develops 181ps and mated either to a six-speed manual or the auto box.

Top speed for the manual Musso is 121mph with the auto a fraction slower at 115mph and fuel economy is rated at 35.8mpg for the manual with the auto coming in at 32.9 to the gallon. Emissions are 211 and 226g/km respectively.

The Musso we tried was a Saracen and as an automatic we saw an average of 28 to the gallon in general use but that fell to just 11mpg over a demanding off-road course.

A multi-mode drive mode gives settings for economy and wintry motoring as well as everyday conditions and in general the Musso handles without issue.

It is very SUV-like to drive and, like the Rexton, is noticeably quiet inside. Rear space in the cabin is very generous for a pick-up and it will seat five adults without a problem.

Pick-ups have to double up as leisure vehicles these days as well as being workhorses and the new Musso makes a fine fist of this.

Low ratio gears and all-wheel-drive are selected electronically - although you do have to stop and engage neutral to move into the low box - and hill descent control is fitted across the range.

With a ramp angle of 23 degrees, an approach of 22.3 and departure of 23.4 degrees the Musso can handle virtually everything in the mire and with a towing limit of 3.5 tonnes it is up among the best.

If anything, the Saracen model felt a little too upmarket for a truck - but that's where SsangYong wants to be.

And like all SsangYongs the Musso comes with a 150,000 mile, seven year warranty which makes it the only pick-up to come with such cover.

Service intervals are every 12 months or 12,500 miles.

All in all, the new Musso is a high value performer that looks the part and has all the wherewithal to cut it in a market that is becoming increasingly competitive.

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