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Car Review: 2019 SsangYong Musso Ultimate.

This Car Review Is About:
SsangYong continuing their Australian (and world wide) rebirth with the Musso. A four door ute, based on the Rexton SUV, the Musso is a two or four wheel drive machine. It’s reasonably well priced and reasonably well configured in the 4×4 Ultimate spec as tested at $39,990 driveaway. The range itself starts at $30,490 for the EX manual, $32,490 for the auto EX, and $35,990 for the ELX spec in auto.

Under The Bonnet Is:
A well mannered 2.2L diesel, and the aforementioned six speed auto. Peak torque is 400Nm and available from 1400rpm through to 2800rpm. Peak power is 133kW at a high for a diesel 4000rpm. Urban driving sees consumption hovering between 10.0 and 11.0 litres per 100km, and AWT finished on 10.7L/100km in a purely urban drive. Although the tank is 75-L, and dry weight is around 2060kg, that’s a hefty drink and needs work.Unlike the Rexton tested recently the Musso breathes better from a standing start, lacking the lag so woefully found in the Rexton. As a result the drive factor is immediately better, safer, more enjoyable. Transmission is a six speed auto and again, like the body and interior, pretty much what is found in the Rexton. This means mostly smooth changes, the occasional stutter depending on drive speed and throttle input, and the same on-the-fly drive modes as well, accessed via a cabin-mounted dial. It’s a package that will benefit from further development and refinement but is also pretty good straight out of the box.On The Outside It’s:
The nose and doors of the Musso before a somewhat truncated looking tray. Ostensibly it would be in competition with Ranger, HiLux, Colorado, D-Max, Triton, but also stands out as being the only ute from the three Korean car makers. The first and second sections of the Musso hint at the spaciousness outside, it’s the tray that “holds back” the Musso from really being in the same cargo space as the others. By no means though is it non-user friendly.

It’s fitted, in the test car, with a poly0urethane liner and also comes with tie down points. There also looks like a power point for something like a power generator. It’s certainly big enough for a pair of mountain bikes, and perhaps a couple of mini bikes. Full sized trail bikes make find it a squeeze though.Overall length is 5095mm. That puts it in the same size bracket (over five metres) as the rest but is still noticeable shorter. Although the wheelbase is huge at 3100mm, the rear wheels are closer to the cabin than the others, and the rear overhang of 1105mm is bigger than it looks in the flesh. That applies to the front overhang of 890mm, with reality making that figure look excessive.The wheels fitted to the review vehicle were 20 inch chromed alloys, with rubber of 255/50 from Nexen, Although good lookers and easy to clean, it raised the question of suitability for any dedicated off-road work. What does look good, although it does add to the look of a shortened tray, is the shroud at the forward end of the cargo space.

Headlights have LED running lights, and the front end has a design that SsangYong poetically says evokes a bird’s wings. It may do, but what it definitely is is inoffensive. Not unhandsome, and certainly a light-year away from the oddly styled model from some years ago.On The Inside Is:
A cabin that has largely dark grey to black overtones. The seats are dark grey/black leather (with the fronts heated), the dash is mostly black, the floor is black, most of the door trim is black. There is a splash of dull alloy chrome in the doors that spring from the dash-wide strip, and they house the tweeters in the non-DAB equipped, but very good sounding….sound system. It’s the same layout and look on this screen as seen in the Rexton and that’s a good thing. DAB would be nice as Hyundai has it fitted in their cars now…..There is also the same very handy 360 degree camera system too.However in this car the reverse parking sensors didn’t seem to be engaging correctly, and in the audio system one station, and one station only, seemed to be almost like a slightly dodgy CD, with a skip here and there. It wasn’t the station as confirmed by checking other audio sources simultaneously. It does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto though, as per the spec found in Rexton.

Being a worker’s aimed ute, it’s not clad in the same gorgeous, diamond quilted, black upon black leather, which in a way is a disappointment. It would have given the Musso that extra stand-out point of difference. As it is that dark grey-black colour scheme looks ok, it just lacks the class that an ostensibly top tier vehicle could have.Instrumentation is as per Rexton. Cleanly laid out it makes for less time scanning for the right button to tip. It does lack the amount of buttons for operation of ancillary items as seen in the Rexton but it doesn’t lack for style or presence either.

Front and rear leg room, plus shoulder, hip, and head room are spot on for four adults, and possibly five at a pinch. There is certainly no issue in getting two children in there.

What About Safety?
No problems here. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Alert, and Lane Change Assist are standard. Autonomous Emergency Braking, like nearly every company, isn’t here. The usual swag of driver aids such as Hill Descent Control, are here. Six airbags excluding driver’s knee are also standard.

On The Road It’s:
Mucho better in one key area than the Rexton. As stated, it’s better off the line, with a real lack of that inhale and go found in the Rexton. It’s more responsive, more willing, and it’s across the rev range too in comparison to the Rexton. It shares the same mechanical feel, the same lacking in damping steering column, which isn’t a good thing.

The Musso isn’t a lightweight but there is more spring in its step, a better sense of urgency and alacrity. Under steam, a gentle prod has the two tonne plus Musso reacting quickly, with a real sprightliness, and it makes overtaking much more safer. The whole driving experience in this area is appreciably more enjoyable, but it’s let down in return by the ride.

It’s stiff in comparison to the Rexton, which is understandable. However it’s stiff in comparison to its competition, and there’s a distinct sense of unhappiness as it hits unsettled surfaces, the road expansion joints, and it skips noticeably from these influences. Up front it’s more settled and composed, yet still more stiffly sprung than the Rexton. And that mechanical metal-on-metal steering takes some of the life out of the front end too. Brakes? Better than Rexton but still needing a good shove sometimes for a comfortable stoppage.

And The Warranty Is:
Again, it’s a good one. Seven years, unlimited kilometres, seven years roadside help, and a strong service structure. It matches Kia, its bigger Korean sibling in this respect.

At The End Of The Drive.
The 2019 spec SsangYong Musso Limited is a curious machine. It’s roomy, grunty, not unattractive, but it’s lacking in presence and some needed road manners. It’s got a good feature set but in top whack misses out on a couple of niceties and refinement as found in its competition. And although the price is good enough to appeal, the brand still suffers heavily from its previous incarnation. That, in itself, is the biggest stumbling block for SsangYong. SsangYong car range is where you can find details on the reborn SsangYong brand.

 

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