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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It's a lot of car for the money, and it's okay off-road

Against There's lots of tacky trim, the ride is poor, and it can be tricky to find spares

Verdict You can buy something much better for the same money

Go for… 2.9 Tdi

Avoid…

Daewoo Musso 4x4
  • 1. There are known to be problems with the cooling system
  • 2. One recall has affected the Musso, so check the work on automatic versions of 1999/2000 cars has been done
  • 3. The engines are sourced from Mercedes, and are pretty tough and reliable
  • 4. The huge cabin has enough space for five adults, so the Musso makes a perfectly decent family car
  • 5. The boot is a good size and will take plenty of luggage
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Daewoo Musso 4x4 full review with expert trade views

If you think you’ve seen something very like the Daewoo Musso before, you probably have - the Musso started life as a Ssangyong.

The Musso remains a large 4x4 (only a few centimetres shorter than a Land Rover Discovery) at small 4x4 prices. Its real attraction is the huge cabin, which has enough space for five adults and their luggage.

Mind you, there are some obvious reasons why the Musso is much cheaper than similarly sized 4x4s. The cabin trim is very tacky, and the drive a long way behind rivals such as the Discovery or Mitsubishi Shogun.

The ride quality is jittery at low speeds, the performance pedestrian, refinement poor and, if you take corners too fast, the body leans alarmingly. At least the ride is smoother at motorway speeds and the Musso has some modest ability off-road.

Trade view

John Owen

A David Brown tractor is a better option - you can get parts for the David Brown

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

There were never more than two models to choose from in the Musso range: a 2.3-litre petrol model and a 2.9-litre turbodiesel, both engines built under licence from Mercedes.

The fact that the petrol engine was dropped towards the end of the Musso’s life tells you all need to know: the diesel is by far the better option, even though it’s a few hundred pounds more expensive on the used market. Not only does it return much better fuel economy – 30.7mpg as opposed to the petrol’s 23.3 – its stronger low-down pull makes it much easier to drive in everyday traffic.

Both engines came with just one trim level, but it was well equipped, with air-con, alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes and all-round electric windows. However, it’s worth looking out for cars with the optional automatic gearbox as it works well with both engines.

Trade view

James Ruppert

At the right price a 2.9 TD will retail provided it is clean and has history

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Musso is an absolute bargain. It’s much the same size as a Land Rover Discovery, but it’s several thousand pounds cheaper on the used market. In fact, prices are much closer to those for smaller cars, such as the Toyota RAV4.

Fuel economy on diesel models is almost identical to a Land Rover Discovery’s, and the petrol’s 23.3mpg is much better than equivalent Disco, which has a V8 engine. In both cases, the Musso is also slightly better than a Mitsubishi Shogun.

With all Mussos in group 14, insurance costs are very much par for the course for a big 4x4, but it’s worth bearing in mind that all Mussos are now too old to qualify for one of the Musso’s biggest attractions as a new car – free servicing for three years.

Trade view

John Owen

A David Brown tractor is a better option - you can get parts for the David Brown

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Warranty Direct doesn’t have any figures relating specifically to the Musso, but the company’s claims department tells us that the coolant, electrics and transmission can cause problems. To make matters worse, tracking down spares can be tricky.

Only one recall – in 2001 – has ever affected the Musso. On models fitted with the optional automatic gearbox and built in 1999 or 2000, there was a chance that the Park facility might not engage properly.

Apart from a couple of isolated reports of gearbox problems, no whatcar.com readers report problems mechanical reliability, although that’s perhaps no more than you’d expect with a couple of Mercedes engines under the bonnet.

Trade view

James Ruppert

At the right price a 2.9 TD will retail provided it is clean and has history

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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