Pick-ups generally aren’t very good to drive, but the Musso feels surprisingly adept on the road.
Its steering, for one, is up there with the likes of the Ford Ranger in terms of its ability to feel more like an SUV than a traditional pick-up. And, despite looking quite top heavy, body roll is reasonably well contained. However, this lack of body lean comes at a price: poor ride quality.
To stop the Musso from pitching and rolling through the corners, Ssangyong has fitted back-breakingly stiff suspension that has been designed to cope with carrying heavy loads. The result is a pick-up that feels unsettled and uncomposed on anything other than the smoothest section of motorway.
We tried the Musso with a 700kg stack of bricks in the back, and this did help settle things down in the rear, but there was still plenty of shudder at the front and through the steering wheel. It’s disappointing, since the Musso does everything else so well.
Mercifully, Ssangyong’s 2.2-litre diesel engine is pleasingly strong, so feels perfectly comfortable in and out of town. It’s decently quiet, too, even when pushed very hard. In this respect, the Musso is better than nearly all of its rivals; only a Volkswagen Amarok has a smoother, quieter diesel engine.
The six-speed automatic gearbox judges shifts well and it’s the best choice if you want to tow, because it comes with a slightly higher towing limit of 3500kg (versus the manual version’s still-impressive 3200kg). That’s up there with the best pick-ups for towing, while all Mussos are able to carry a tonne on board their load bays.
The six-speed manual gearbox is surprisingly light and precise, but it’s hard to see why you’d choose it over the automatic.