SsangYong Musso Sports – –

28 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on SsangYong Musso Sports – –

SsangYong Musso


The dual cab SsangYong Musso Sports will accommodate a number of passengers and serves up a host of must-haves as standard.

By Tom Oltoff

Although CW drives a variety of vehicles throughout the year, there are always certain expectations when a new one arrives on the block.

Usually this involves comparing previous models with the latest version, which we are told has often been given improvements. When CW met with the SsangYong Musso Sports it wasn’t quite the same, as we hadn’t been acquainted with one before.

However, after spending eight days with the dual cab utility we came away feeling a mixture of pleasure and a little disappointment.

Anyone in the market for a dual cab ute that also has room for a reasonable load should put the Musso Sports on their shopping list.

It is the only dual cab we have come across that can seat four adults in comfort. Yes, there are other dual cab utes, but most have only enough rear leg room for a couple of children – not so the Musso. At one stage we had a couple of tall back seat passengers who couldn’t believe the comfort, and that was after we extended the front seats as far back as they would go.

Twin dragons

In case you are wondering, SsangYong means “twin dragons”. It refers to a legend in which two dragons waited 1000 years to fly to dragon heaven.

Finally, a single cintamani (powerful jewel from the gods), which was necessary for the journey, was released. Each dragon encouraged the other to take it and make the trip until both missed the opportunity. The king of heaven was so touched that he released a second cintamani, enabling both dragons to enter heaven together.

Major player

Now to business: A bit of research showed that the Korea-based SsangYong Motor Group began as the SsangYong Business Group in 1939 and is now a large conglomerate with interests in cement, oil, paper, finance, information and leisure services.

In 1986 SsangYong bought the Ha Dong Hwan Motor Company which had been making 4WD vehicles since 1954.

In 1991 SsangYong formed an alliance with Mercedes Benz. This allowed SsangYong to manufacture light commercials, petrol engines and other components. This relationship still exists with Mercedes engineers working with SsangYong to develop and adapt various Mercedes Benz engines and other components.

The SsangYong Musso 4WD has been in production since 1983 and the smaller Korando 4WD since 1997. In 1998 the luxurious Chairman sedan was released. The stylish Rexton 4WD followed in 2002.

Production of the Musso Sports dual cab 4WD and 2WD utility began in late 2003.

This year SsangYong has released an eight-seater MPV called the Stavic. It is made as a 2WD and 4WD model.

SsangYong is today a major player in 4WD vehicle production, claiming that its annual output equals that of the Land Rover. Obviously many of these are for the domestic market.

High standards

The Musso Sports uses a ladder frame chassis with independent torsion bar front suspension and coil sprung rigid rear axle. Brakes use discs all around. ABS is optional.

Steering is light and precise due to the power-assisted rack and pinion system.

Part-time 4WD with high and low ration provides the drive. A limited slip differential is standard. Optional P225/65R16 tyres sit on 16in alloy wheels.

Other standard features include driver air bag, side impact protection beams, collapsible and tilt adjustable steering column, engine immobiliser, height-adjustable driver seat, semi-automatic air-conditioning, central locking, electric power windows and exterior mirrors, auto ‘Off’ lights, tinted glass and rear tray liner. Cruise control was about the only thing missing.

CW’s test vehicle was adorned with sign writing which, while attracting lots of attention, hid some of the Musso Sports’ attractive lines.

Initially the tray seems a little small until you realise that it is basically a 4WD wagon with the area behind the rear seat made into a tray.

Apart from this approach of offering generous interior space, there are full-size rear doors to make it easy to get in and out.

Once in the driver’s seat it didn’t take long to get comfortable, thanks to the height-adjustment of the seat and the steering column. I soon realised, however, that when driving a manual Musso you should avoid wearing wide shoes, as the brake and clutch pedals are close together and at different heights – to compensate there was a large footrest.

Even after a week of driving it, I still found myself being careful when operating the pedals.

On the road the Musso Sports has excellent characteristics. It is quiet, comfortable, rides nice and handles in a most acceptable manner.

On rough or bumpy roads it could be a bit skittish but that may have had something to do with tyre pressures. Like many similar vehicles, no doubt a couple of hundred kilograms in the back would help.

Performance anxiety

If the Musso Sports lacks anywhere it is in the power department. Sure, it has a 2.9 litre turbodiesel, but both on paper and in real life it doesn’t quite live up to its ‘Sports’ moniker: with diligent use of the manual gearbox, performance was adequate for normal day-to-day operation. With a load behind, it was a different story.

Although the Musso is rated to tow 2500kg, the 1800kg load we had behind indicated that 2000kg would be a good maximum figure.

Due to perhaps a combination of gear ratios and a lack of power output, the engine often felt as if it was working hard. By keeping the diesel engine revving above 2000rpm, the torque or pulling power seemed at its best.

There are no complaints in the economy department, but then frugal fuel usage is something you’d expect from a turbodiesel. Over about 800km of city, suburban and country driving consumption was better than 10L/100km. With the 5.5m Island Star in tow we unfortunately didn’t travel far enough for some meaningful figures.

Indications are that 15L/100km would be tops with a decent load in tow.

What do we reckon?

It is a little difficult to understand why SsangYong called the Musso ute a ‘Sports’, but then if you wanted to carry four tall surfies and their boards it’s probably appropriate. There is no doubt that the cabin space as a dual cab utility is outstanding.

There is plenty of head and elbow room, the seats are supportive and storage space is sufficient.

On the road the Musso Sports does everything in quite an acceptable manner. As every car has its odd idiosyncrasies, I suppose you’d get used to the pedal arrangement. If SsangYong could extract an extra 20 per cent of power from the engine, the Musso Sports would be a most desirable towing vehicle.

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