Ssangyong Musso long-term test review
The Ssangyong Musso has been our favourite budget pick-up for the last two years. But now we're seeing if it's as impressive when you live with it every day...
The car Ssangyong Musso 2.2 Saracen Auto 4WD Run by Oli Kosbab, senior videographer
Why it’s here To discover if a pick-up can really be an alternative to an SUV, and whether this bargain-priced Musso is the best in its class
Needs to Offer masses of storage for video equipment and be a comfortable place to spend time during the many miles that will be racked up travelling from shoot to shoot
Mileage 3000 List price £33,831 Target Price na Price as tested £36,306 Test economy 25.0mpg Official economy 29.7mpg Dealer price now £36,356 Trade in price £21,924 Private price £19,488 Running costs fuel £595
2 December 2020 – Goodbye
After several months and more than 3000 miles with the Ssangyong Musso, the time has come for it to move on. It has been an exceptionally useful car – massive, versatile, rugged – but next to its rivals, is it a good place to put your money?
When the Musso arrived, it came with a few options I’d specified, metallic paint at £5000 and a rubber mat set which, at £30, is a must for this vehicle. You could get aftermarket ones, but these fitted perfectly. Whether you’ll need a hard top depends on how you’re using the vehicle; for me it has been a lifesaver and so useful on so many occasions. It’s something I’d spec on any pickup for the weatherproofing it provides, while allowing loads that are higher than the deck sides to be carried securely. And for keeping my camera gear safe it was a must.
One thing I noticed with this one, too, is that it’s much simpler to open than on some rivals. I recently used a Mitsubishi L200 with a hardtop, and the upper window above its tailgate was opened with a separate key, rather than paired with the central locking of the rest of the car. I didn’t realise how handy the latter facility is until I suddenly didn’t have it.
At 1.30m long, the load length at the back of the Musso Saracen was plenty big enough for me. There is a version up from the Saracen, the Musso Rhino LWB, that comes with an even bigger load bay (1.61m) but, naturally, having this makes an already big car significantly longer. So, whether the upgrade is worthwhile depends on how you use the truck – if you need the space, you’ll need the £1750 more expensive LWB. The towing limits on the Rhino LWB are the same as the Saracen's, so there’s no gains on that front – the Musso's 3500kg limit matches the best in the class.
Metallic paint is a rather more vain choice on what’s effectively a workhorse car, but the silver paint does nicely offset the black alloy wheels and detailing. It picked up some compliments at filling stations, so I have no regrets. Whether you add some options or not, the Musso is cheapest among its rivals (which include the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara and so on), and also has the best warranty among them, at seven years or 150,000 miles.
However, the fuel economy is one of the worst in the class. Rivals typically return more than 30mpg in official tests; some even managing 35mpg. The Musso, though, doesn’t quite hit 30mpg in official tests, and, as is typical, gives you even less in daily use. I averaged just around 25-26mpg, sometimes even dropping to the low 20s in particularly gnarly use. Still, compared with some larger SUVs, it’s not that outrageous.
Nor does the Musso lead the class for its driving dynamics. Having driven both a Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200 recently, I reckon the ride and handling of both is quite a lot better than the Musso's, the steering of both is more accurate and less vague, and both provide a less bouncy ride. That latter trait bugged me throughout my time with the Musso; it had a busy ride even with a heavy load in the back.
Those gripes aside, I’ll be sad to see the Musso go because it’s been great for everything I’ve used it for – both as a workhorse and a company car. Would I recommend one? Definitely. If you’re looking for an affordable pickup with a lot of kit as standard, it really hits the mark. It has most of the equipment you’ll need, while noise levels are sufficiently low and the interior well enough appointed that it’s possible to forget it’s a pickup truck you’re driving.
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