Ssangyong Musso Saracen – Engine 2.1L
It’s an indication of just how powerful modern engines are that today’s crop of pick-ups make do perfectly with four-cylinder units, and such is their sophistication that despite their power they’re immensely civilised. The Musso uses a 2.1-litre four cylinder that develops 181PS at 4000rpm. Kick it down and while the revs rise, there’s little indication of underbonnet activity other than by looking at the rev counter. And those cynics who think a pick-up should really have a six-cylinder to get the job done will have their doubts dispelled by an engine that’s not only smooth, but quiet too. ‘Our’ Musso came with the Aisin six-speed automatic transmission, which offers imperceptible changes up and down the range. What’s more, while other pick-ups now boast automatic transmissions with more cogs, six is more than sufficient for the Musso.
Stability and predictability best sum up the Musso’s on-road characteristics. It’s highly composed whether on the motorway, gently curving A-roads or winding, poorly-surfaced B- and minor roads. In driving rain at 70mph it refuses to be unsettled, even with harsh sidewinds doing their best to force a lane change. The steering is as good as any rival, being light at slow speeds but offering enough feel at a decent speed while not telegraphing every cigarette paper it drives over. Ride is very well damped and poorly-surfaced roads are shrugged off by the Musso’s highly competent suspension. There’s no leaning over on roundabouts or on tight bends, meaning rapid progress is easily, comfortably accomplished.
Loadspace and practicality
The load deck has a 1085-1095Kg payload and can accommodate 1011 litres of cargo, with dimensions sufficient to take a Europallet. And for those garages who might use it on call-outs, the Musso has 12V/120W outlets for power tools to be plugged into. But not only can the Musso take a 1095 payload it can tow 3.5-tonnes at the same time, putting it ahead of some of its rivals. The load area has rotating hooks to ensure loads are securely fastened.
Smart, functional and lacking trinkets – in other words a comfortable, relaxed place to be, whether nipping out on a short lunchtime journey or on a long haul delivering parts, destination a few hundred miles away. The Saracen specification is generous but in a practical way, with a 9.2-inch touchscreen featuring TomTom navigation. The radio is clear to work and sound is clear. Dashboard design is clear and simple and the control stalks have a good solid action, as do the switches. Seats are extremely cossetting on the back and legs, with plenty of thigh support too. In all there’s a good high-quality, long-lasting feeling that matches any of the Musso’s rivals.
Some might argue that they all look the same, but the pick-up truck segment is made up of many entirely individual designs, one of the most distinctive being the Musso. That isn’t to say it’s unnecessarily quirky: it isn’t, but the new model features distinctive lines that mean it won’t be confused with any of its rivals. The front features a bold chrome strip across the black grille, linking the headlights (LED daytime running light, high-intensity for night driving) while at the back super-sized LED light clusters are not only distinctive but clear too. It’s from the side where the Musso is at its most distinctive, with sculpted lines on the front and rear wings and a noticeably just-about-bolt-upright rear window.
The Garage Verdict
Highly accomplished, well built and very keenly priced, the all-new Musso is a first-class offering that deserves to make inroads with the UK’s pick-up market. While it is a relative newcomer to the segment it deserves as much consideration as any of the (much) longer established makes, and would-be owners need to overcome any brand preconceptions they might have. Get behind the wheel and it’s highly likely the Musso will impress: It’s a likeable, friendly sort of pick-up that gets on with the job efficiently and economically, and it’s well built too. It definitely deserves a healthy 4 out of 5.
For more information, visit Ssangyong GB