SsangYong is again in Australia, and its most vital mannequin is the Musso. We see how the Korean 4WD ute stacks up
SsangYong is a model with a considerably chequered historical past in Australia. Though liked by many for easy, old-tech drivelines and a reasonably rugged functionality, some may barely deal with them. Some reliability points reared their heads over time, and the model went on an indefinite hiatus after a falling out with the native distributor.
SsangYong lovers (I do know you’re on the market), rejoice. As a result of the model is again. And this time, it’s a totally factory-backed subsidiary of the Korean headquarters. The product line is virtually all new, and they’re coming in weapons blazing with a seven-year, limitless kilometre guarantee.
The Musso is returning, placing a Korean flavour again into the 4X4 ute section. It’s going to be competing with some sharp driveaway pricing, and have a number of fascinating factors of distinction over the competitors. It begins with a reasonably primary EX with a guide transmission for $30,490, or $32,490 for an computerized gearbox. Soar up one specification to the ELX auto, and the worth is $35,990. On the high is the Final, which has a $39,990 pricetag.
That guarantee is the very best out of all 4WD Utes, no matter value level or producer. Seven years and limitless kilometres matches it with Kia, and it additionally comes with seven years’ of servicing and roadside help. It is a great point, and groundbreaking for the section.
A detrimental tackle it says that SsangYong goes out on a limb with one thing to show, whereas a extra constructive spin is that it has excellent religion within the reliability of its product. Both means, the buyer wins.
The rear suspension of the Musso is a five-link setup with a panhard rod, utilizing a single-rate coil spring and disc brakes. The one two different Utes with coil springs and disc brakes are Ford’s Ranger Raptor and Ram’s 1500. Lofty firm.
Together with some pretty typical IFS struts, the experience is fairly good. Having a short-ish wheelbase and 20-inch wheels, together with an honest 790kg payload may spell catastrophe for any sort of experience compliance. Nevertheless, that’s not the case. The Musso feels pretty effectively planted and secure alongside the bitumen and excessive velocity grime, with solely huge bumps and critical corrugations, that may have an effect on some other ute equally, changing into irritable or skippy. When it’s bumpy, we did discover the rear tub appreciated to bounce round noticeably on it its mounts. Presumably, it’s mounted onto the chassis with some rubber isolation to assist with NVH.
The Musso has been earmarked as first in line for a localised Australian tune, which will probably be beginning a while within the subsequent three months. It is a first for the model anyplace on the earth; after being enamoured with what different Korean producers have been capable of do with a neighborhood tune for Australia. When this new tune will probably be obtainable is a query we don’t have the reply to but, nonetheless we perceive the brand new tune will probably be obtainable to retrofit as an possibility for the fashions bought beforehand.
These total NVH ranges, by the way in which are fairly good as effectively. Whereas the two.2-litre engine may not have the identical total poke as Ford’s ‘BiTurbo’ two-litre engine, it’s fairly related by way of refinement. It’s noticeably muted at idle, when the bonnet is popped and also you’re leaning in for a glance. When below sturdy throttle, it doesn’t get too intrusive both.
The engine is a far cry from the outdated Mercedes-sourced powerplants the Musso used to roll with again within the mid 2000s. That 2.9-litre engine had a reasonably enviable repute as being a stout servant over lengthy kilometres, however was additionally pretty agricultural by modern requirements.
The brand new engine, which has a 2.2-litre of capability throughout 4 cylinders, is SsangYong’s personal. Making 133kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm at 1400-2800rpm, the Musso shouldn’t be as highly effective as some utes it’s attempting to sidle as much as. You’ll be able to discover it behind the wheel; progress isn’t actually offensively gradual, except you’ve acquired excessive requirements up steep inclines.
You’ll discover the six-speed Aisin computerized gearbox (there may be additionally a guide, however it wasn’t obtainable to check) is geared extra for economic system than efficiency. Sixth ratio leaves the engine turning at a lowly 1500rpm when at 100km/h. First and second gear are first rate sufficient for preliminary take-up, however don’t rely on any brisk acceleration after that.
Listed gasoline economic system is 10.9L/100km, and we have been getting round 11, over a mix of hilly Victorian backroads, in addition to grime roads and low-range stuff.
If you happen to’re like me, you’d be questioning why the Benz-derived seven-speed computerized gearbox wasn’t obtainable for the Musso. It was by no means an possibility from the manufacturing unit, based on SsangYong Australia. So, you’re caught with the confirmed Aisin six-speed as your computerized gearbox on ELX and Final spec.
SsangYong has nailed the vital facets of an inside fairly effectively. Firstly, our check fashions all felt solidly bolted collectively in opposition to thrusted palms and digits; nothing actually squirmed or squeaked. Buttons and contact gear are laid out properly with some good touches. Air-con is simple to manage, and chilly sufficient for the dimensions of the cabin. You’ll discover some air vents for the second row, as effectively, together with some energy retailers. The $40,000 Final specification has a pleasant number of completely different surfaces for a extra premium really feel. Some may discover the ‘wooden’ panel above the glovebox just a little kitsch for his or her style, however you’ll be able to’t actually knock the remainder of the inside.
Being based mostly on a 4WD wagon, fairly than the opposite means round, means the Musso has made a powerful choice for a greater second row fairly than a bigger tray. Foot, knee and head area on the again are all nearly as good as you’ll be able to ask for in a ute. Though the seats don’t have a stack of dimension or assist below the thigh, they’re lots comfortable sufficient. Go for the Final specification, and also you’ll get an virtually unprecedented heated second row, in addition to heated/ventilated entrance row.
Consolation up entrance is equally spectacular. The Musso feels pretty low slung and car-like by way of seating place and luxury. Seats are gentle and cozy, and appear well-finished total. Mixed with low total engine and street noise, you’ve got a reasonably refined and spectacular expertise on the street. The worst noise was coming from the Mountaintop curler cowl, which had a little bit of a chatter over the corrugations.
The infotainment unit doesn’t have any built-in navigation. Relatively, it will depend on your smartphone smarts for that sort of factor through CarPlay or Android Auto. The 8.0-inch show is an effective dimension and is pretty responsive, nonetheless it does appear just a little darkish and boring. Response time does appear fairly good.
The worst criticism I can degree on the inside was seeing a number of witness marks on the laborious plastics that make up the again of the first-row seats. Over years this type of factor is inevitable, and can make the automobile really feel a bit dated. Whereas it’s not precisely Euro-chic, the inside is strong, effectively laid out and properly appointed.
One other sturdy level of this Korean 4WD ute is security. AEB and FCW are each normal throughout the vary. Go as much as the ELX, and also you get blind-spot detection, lane change help and rear cross-traffic alert. Final specification will get an excellent 360-degree digital camera to enhance security and manoeuvrability. That ranges the Musso up with Ford’s Ranger and Mercedes X-Class in energetic security, for now. SsangYong’s autonomous emergency braking operates at speeds between 8-60km/h.
Alright, let’s speak off-road. These 20-inch wheels (in Final spec) aren’t an ideal or pure alternative for a 4WD ute destined for lengthy stints amongst the grime, mud and sand. However the 255/50 R20 rubber does offer you some sidewall to play with, so it’s not utterly dangerous. Search for the ELX 18-inch wheels as a substitute, with an additional 25mm of sidewall to play with. What is sweet is the automated Eaton MLocker within the rear, which locks issues up when there may be greater than 100rpm of variation between the wheels. It’s good system, which has advantages just like a limited-slip setup, each on-road, and off.
As is common, our off-road testing was removed from exhaustive or in the end conclusive. However I used to be capable of come away with a number of vital tidbits. Firstly, the most important limiting issue of the Musso is floor clearance.
The quoted floor clearance is 215mm, however though the wheelbase is comparatively quick (3100mm, or 122 inches for these taking part in at house) we discovered ourselves bottoming out on some pretty banal obstacles. Nearer inspection revealed a crossmember across the gearbox on the entrance, and a decrease management arm for the rear suspension, as the principle culprits. They’re low-hanging, and are additionally bluff-faced in opposition to incoming hits. This will probably be, by far, your first limiting issue when off-roading in a Musso, and places it behind the tempo in comparison with different 4WD Utes available on the market. For mild off-roading, it’s in all probability effective. However so is a softroader, so it’s a compromise.
Together with some help from traction management, you’ve acquired a reasonably good Hill Respectable management that holds round 5km/h fairly easily and with out fanfare, and a few first rate engine braking through the general switch case discount ( 2.483:1). Not nice, however adequate.
Whereas the experience is sweet on bitumen and quick grime, I discovered the bump stops with out an excessive amount of hassle alongside rougher tracks. Spacing between bump stops and the chassis was simply over two fingers on the rear, whereas bottom-outs are dealt with by shock absorbers on the entrance finish. Curiously, the swaybar is mounted onto the highest of the spindle on the entrance finish, one thing I hadn’t seen earlier than. There’s not a number of underbody safety both, solely actually consisting of the primary chassis crossmember that comes down low and mounts the pretty lengthy decrease management arm.
It’s fascinating to notice that together with some equipment like bullbars, aspect steps and towbars, SsangYong is investigating a suspension carry package as one other accent. This would definitely assist out off-road.
One other fascinating level is the dimensions of the tray on the Musso. SsangYong tells us it’s the deepest at school, however it’s additionally actually the shortest. The sailplane-style sports activities bar makes it look even smaller, as does the curler cowl. You possibly can match a few hay bales for these Dexter calves you’ve got down on the pastime farm, however it’s probably not sufficiently big for something critical or business.
For comparability’s sake, a Mitsubishi Triton has 5280mm of total size, with a 3000mm wheelbase. Load size’s listed at 1520mm. A Ranger is 5362mm lengthy with a 3220mm wheelbase, sporting a 1549mm tub. The Musso is 5095mm lengthy with a 3100mm wheelbase, with 1300mm of tub size. It’s a shorter total automobile, however favours cabin area and luxury over uncooked load area.
You possibly can argue the identical factor about some other styleside dual-cab ute in Australia, although. They aren’t actually a correct workhorse within the true that means of the phrase; that may be one thing single-cab or further cab, with a flat tray on the again. No person I do know places pallets onto tubs, all of them use huge trays. And contemplating what number of 4WD Utes you see driving round with valuable little or nothing within the again, the Musso will swimsuit many Australian patrons on the market.
In order for you a much bigger, longer 4WD ute, then SsangYong could have you lined in Q2 2019. There’s a long-wheelbase model coming quickly, which could have round 300mm of further size added to the tray. They’re bumping out the wheelbase to accomodate it, and throwing leaf packs below the again tuned for a much bigger payload.
If you happen to’re like me, you’d have an interest to see what SsangYong can do with an extended wheelbase mannequin, and a few first rate equipment. Its pricing places the Musso near Mitsubishi’s venerable and revered Triton, which little question would be the strongest competitors, whatever the disparity of inclusions. However don’t neglect, the Triton’s value may transfer north with a brand new mannequin coming to Australia very quickly.
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