Efficiency is better, though; CO2 emissions are down to 202g/km, and claimed fuel economy is marginally better than the old pick-up, but both are still far behind rivals. The engine remains acceptably subdued around town, and at motorway speeds it recedes to a background hum. However, the big door mirrors generate a lot of wind noise.
The Musso has multi-link rear suspension, whereas most of its rivals are on leaf springs, but this seems to have had limited positive effect on its ride. Musso means ‘rhinoceros’ in Korean, and the pick-up doesn’t feel much more agile than its animal namesake. It’s well planted on flat roads, especially when loaded, but it crashes and bounces over our imperfect UK roads.
Its steering is also feather-light and pretty numb, offering little feedback, and like many of its rivals, it suffers from quite a lot of body roll around corners. However, Ssangyong's new six-speed automatic gearbox is a genuine improvement. The extra ratio improves refinement when you're cruising and the 'box is fairly good at judging shifts by itself.
The automatic variant of the Musso is best for towing, too. While the new engine might not offer much more performance, it does mean that the Musso had upped its towing capacity from 2.7-tonnes to 3.0-tonnes, which is closer in line with rival pick-ups. That said, its load bay remains short on the space available in its competitors, even if it can take a comparable one-tonne payload. Still, it's easy to access, and space for a couple of passengers in the rear seats is generous.
Should I buy one?
The Musso is still one of the cheapest pick-ups on the market, so if saving money is your top priority, then this should be your first stop. As with all pick-ups, the savings available in VAT on the Musso and low company car tax rates make it a tempting prospect as a company car choice, but it's also an enticing private buy at its low list price, especially with Ssangyong’s excellent five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty as standard.
However, you’ll have to accept the Musso's flaws, and it will cost more to run than all of its rivals because of its inferior CO2 emissions and fuel economy. Plus, its towing capacity is average for the class, and its load bay is smaller than all of its rivals', so there are plenty of other more practical choices. Furthermore, while other pick-ups such as the Nissan Navarra and Toyota Hilux are edging closer to SUVs, the Musso remains an agricultural tool. At this price, though, that’s hardly a surprise.
Ssangyong Musso EX auto
Location Towcester; On sale Now; Price £22,794 (£18,995 ex. VAT); Engine 4 cyls, 2157cc, turbo diesel; Power 176bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1400-2800rpm; Gearbox 6-speed automatic; Kerb weight 2112kg; 0-62mph 11sec (est); Top speed 108mph; Economy 37.0mpg (combined); CO2 emissions/BIK tax band 202g/km, 37%; Rivals Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200