When we heard that Ssangyong Philippines was bringing back the Musso, we thought that they were introducing another SUV, aside from the Korando. Maybe a 7-seater medium sized vehicle, or so we thought. So imagine our surprise when they bought in the Musso in Pick-up form!

At first glance, it looks like an SUV with the roof cut out from the C-Pillar. Which it is. With SUV suspension and interior, its a luxury pick-up, not the heavy duty kind. This reminds us of the iconic Chevrolet El Camino, that was very popular back in the late ’60s to the mid 70s. It was a medium-sized car that had a full-size bed. A Sport Ute! It wasn’t made for heavy hauling, but more for adventure/hobby activities; surfboards, bicycles, even motocross bikes, anything that the car suspension can handle. Equipped with a myriad of powerful V8s, it took the term “hauling” to a new level. The Musso falls in this category.

The Engine

The 2.2 litre turbocharged diesel engine was more powerful than expected. It accelerates like a petrol-fed motor, and keeps on accelerating until 100kph, where I let off because of the NLEX speed limit.

Max Output (HP)179 hp @ 4,000 rpm
Max Torque (nm)420 Nm @ 1,400 rpm

You can feel the torque at the lower rpm range, which is ideal for traffic-prone areas. The engine purrs silently, barely hearing the tappets. The automatic transmission responds flawlessly, without abrupt shifts. The powertrain is more akin to a SUV than a pickup, it seems.

Suspension

As expected, the suspension is not for real heavy duty use. Sure, it can haul cargo, but capacity is quite limited. When travelling alone, you can feel the bounce of the pavement, as the big tires and coil spring suspension combination is on the soft side. A little body roll is experienced at tight turns, and has more bounce when traversing potholes or humps. The tires are a tad too big for the Musso, but they lend a more sporty look. The 18in. mags with 235/65/18 actually look good. 4-wheel disc brakes bring everything to a halt.

As for the bed, it’s taller than the typical truck, which means more space for larger cargo, but the length of the bed from the cabin to the gate is shorter than the competition.

Interior

Now, this is where the Musso come into its own. The cabin is first rate, more comparable to a luxury sedan than an SUV. The power actuated driver seat gives a commanding view of the road. The leatherette finish is both attractive and comfortable. Did I mention the temp-controlled seats? This is very helpful, especially when parked underneath the sun. You can actually cool the seats just by hitting a button! The steering wheel has a warmer-control, revealing that this model came straight from Korea with little or no modification at all. The rear seat legroom is plentiful, in fact, a 6-footer can sit comfortably at the back, without the fear of hitting his head on the ceiling. This explains the rather short bed.

The dash is smartly designed. All controls are within reach, and the entertainment is conveniently angled to the driver; featuring an 8-inch LCD Smart Audio and Video with 6 speakers, equipped with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and USB option.

The AC controls are located in the lower dash, together with the seat climate control. The unique manual control tab at the side of the shifter is still there; an old trademark of Ssangyong. Curiously, there is a blank tab near the shifter. After a short research, its supposed to house the control dial for 4wd models. So, there is 4wd option in Korea!

Safety

  • Driver’s Airbag         
  • Front Passenger’s Airbag    
  • Side Airbag   
  • Curtain Airbag
  • Electronic Brake Distribution
  • ABS

Exterior

As we’ve said earlier, the exterior design is similar to a chopped-off SUV, but the profile will grow on you, especially when you are more familiar with the ride. It is, after all, an SUV pick-up. The fascia sports a blacked out grille that blends with the slim headlights and deep bumper and valance panel.

Aside from Highway use, the Musso performed flawlessly on dirt roads. At moderate speeds, it took potholes like a hero, and has enough floor clearance for small obstacles; a cinch for flood-prone areas.

So easy to drive, even our young videographer enjoyed the Musso!

The rear bed is actually quite spacious. We managed to fit a 29er mountain bike by tying it down with the loops provided at the sides. The plastic bed lining also minimized scratches and it prevented the bike from sliding all over the place.

One unique and convenient feature of the Musso is a 12v charger port inside the bed, near the tailgate. With a waterproof cover, its purpose is for convenient charging or providing power supply for different accessories-very favorable with outdoor activities.

There you have it. The Ssanyong Musso. Its quite a revelation for the average driver. It successfully combined the versatility of the pickup with the comfort of a premium SUV. The Musso is the best of both worlds.

Price: Php 1,495,000

Text/Images by Earl Manalansan

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