Presence and power – the SsangYong Musso
It says something about the road presence of a vehicle when someone sees you drive into a car park and then follows you to question you about it.
The latest incarnation of SsangYong’s Musso had exactly that effect.
The Musso is not exactly a newcomer in the pick-up sector, which are very much in vogue as a lifestyle vehicle as well as doing what they were originally designed for – to be a workhorse.
But now, particularly in the double cab format of this range-topping model, they offer car-like driving manners, high levels of comfort for five and reasonable running costs.
The high-torque engine also means towing capability is equally impressive with a 3.5 tonne capacity. It has a one-tonne payload and the cargo bay is designed to accept a standard-sized pallet, so commercially it ticks those boxes.
The rear can feature a covered top, or in this case, a roller which encases the payload bay.
This latest model now offers more power and improved economy.
The four trim level includes EX, Rebel and Saracen (all SWB) and Rhino (LWB)
The SWB accommodates includes load-liner and tie-down hooks, while the LWB has the longest and largest load area in the UK market
It also boasts the highest combined total load capacity for any pick-up on sale in the UK.
If you want to attract the lifestyle set, it needs to look good and it does, with its imposing grille and headlights, daytime running lights, and striking alloy wheels, it looks the part.
The interior also looks good, is well equipped and has high levels of comfort including napa leather upholstery on this model.
Premium touches also include heated steering wheel, and electrically operated, heated and ventilated front seats and the best rear seat legroom in the pick-up segment.
This model also offers auto lights and climate control, rain-sensing wipers, heated electrically operated front seats and, critically, a reversing camera, a godsend with a vehicle of this size.
A colour touchscreen is the centrepiece and controls navigation, sound system and connectivity, via Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. It also displays the TomTom navigation and reversing camera where available.
The engine is also impressive, the 2.2-litre diesel is also available in the Rexton and now has an output of 202PS and plenty of torque to go with it – 400Nm in fact – which gives excellent pulling power across the range. With a claimed mpg of approach just over 31mpg, it is reasonable on fuel.
Mated to a six-speed auto box it displayed excellent car-like road manners thanks to the coil spring rears suspension normally found on cars. It feels refined with good soundproofing meaning there is little noise intrusion into the cabin, but can feel unsettled if taking a corner too quickly.
It has proven off-road capability and can tackle all but the roughest of rough stuff, but with a choice of two-wheel and high and low ratio all-wheel drive, it should be more than capable in most offroad situations.
It’s an impressive motor that’s for sure and perhaps the most tempting aspect, apart from the five-year, 150,000-mile warranty is the price.
The base EX starts at just under £30k inclusive of VAT. Difficult to beat.