Weathered off-roaders sipping lagers at outback pubs will probably laugh you out of the establishment at the suggestion of heading out beyond the black stump with a Korean-built SsangYong Musso – we’ve almost seen it happen – but this luxury-laden XLV makes a hell of a lot of sense as a city-runabout-slash-weekend-adventure rig.
It’s a viable option for those wanting a dual-cab ute with modern tech and comfort for a fraction of the cost of the ‘more established’ utes on the market. Asking for less than $50K, the proposition begins to make even more sense.
The Musso Ultimate is priced from $41,290 drive-away. Opt for the 300mm-longer XLV variant and you’ll need to spend a further $1500, and then add another $3000 on top if you tick the box for the Luxury Pack. So for $45,790 you can drive away with a brand-new, tech-savvy, luxury-laced dual-cab ute.
Said Luxury Pack gives owners dual-zone automatic climate control, a powered sunroof and more premium pews. All seats are now covered in Nappa leather upholstery instead of faux hide, the front seats are power-adjusted and the driver gets powered lumbar support. To keep kids’ bums warm on cold commutes, the rear seats are also heated.
The cabin is wide and accommodating, and the seats supportive and comfortable. The centre console and dash are both well-appointed, belying the sub-$50K price tag. An easy-to-use dial to access 4WD functions is neatly positioned beside a traditional handbrake.
A cavernous tub – as mentioned, 300mm longer in XLV form – has two tie-down points that can be easily reached from outside the tray, and the tonneau cover can be easily detached and reattached in less than a minute.
It’s a viable option for those wanting a dual-cab ute with modern tech and comfort for a fraction of the cost of the ‘more established’ utes
Despite the price tag, the Musso XLV is not bereft of advanced safety systems either, with the Korean ute getting auto emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors and six airbags. It also comes equipped with a highly pragmatic tyre-pressure monitoring system that constantly assesses the pressure of each tyre – in this case, 255/60 R18 Nexen N’Priz RH7s – and alerts the driver of their status.
The Musso is powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine, good for 133kW and 420Nm and backed by a six-speed auto. With coil suspension front and rear – unchanged from the pre-updated model – the Musso remains surefooted and tidy on-road.
Off-road, the rig is equipped with a part-time, dual-range 4WD system with electronic traction control and auto-locking rear diff. The added length of the XLV model proves to be something of an obstacle on more challenging terrain – and its bigger size can take some acclimatisation
What is harder to talk about is longer-term ownership issues. Will it be reliable on a lap around Australia on desert roads and corrugated trails? How about after a few years? These questions will linger, but SsangYong’s seven-year warranty should help to ease such concerns.
For some real-world tow testing, we threw the keys to our mates across the hall at Street Machine Magazine, so they could tow one of their project cars out to Heathcote Park Raceway.
With coil suspension front and rear – unchanged from the pre-updated model – the Musso remains surefooted and tidy on-road
The guys are always towing their Carnage YouTube creations all over Australia in various dual-cabs, so we knew they would be able to give us an informed opinion on how the Musso XLV performs against the rest of the field.
We’ll let Street Machine’s Carnage host Scott Taylor take it from here.
The Tow Test
“Wow, what a beast!” were the first words out of my mouth when I laid eyes on the SsangYong Musso. Of course, I was aware of the Musso, but I’d never paid much attention to them. Roomy is certainly a term that comes to mind, and for those towing long distances, comfort is important.
The Musso XLV is big on the inside and even bigger on the outside; which is great when it comes to the pick-up bed capacity. When we usually pack for the track we typically have to weigh up needs and wants; we NEED race tyres and a jack, we WANT the big Esky and plenty of tools, but with the extra 300mm length of the Musso XLV, we found we could take everything.
Hooking up was child’s play; the Musso’s reversing camera was perfect for lining up the tow bar and, while the 360-degree camera works okay, we didn’t feel it was quite as good as some of the others we’d experienced.
On the road, with 2100kg of race car and trailer tagging behind, the Musso was as stable as a house through Melbourne traffic, and the little 2.2-litre diesel gave us no complaints, except maybe fuel economy.
Loaded up, we made it the 382km to Heathcote Raceway and back on a tank of fuel, but I doubt we would have made it much further than that. Our only other complaint would be that the six-speed automatic seemed a little flustered through the hills; it never seemed to know which gear it wanted to be in.
The Musso XLV is big on the inside and even bigger on the outside; which is great when it comes to the pick-up bed capacity
But when you factor in the low price and SsangYong’s seven-year warranty, then those problems seem minor and the Musso XLV becomes a very attractive option for a weekend tow rig.
In terms of outright towing capability, we’d rank it solidly in the mid-field (bearing in mind the current crop of dual-cabs represents an extremely strong field), but we’d also score it above average in terms of comfort and carrying capacity. Overall we were pleasantly surprised.