Like plenty of other Australians, we needed a ute. Yes, the spell cast by the automotive marketing departments has finally worked.
When many come to this realisation, more often than not the default outcome is a new HiLux or Ranger. Both are well-proven workhorses that stack up well, however, at the time of purchase, neither model could be purchased with the latest safety kit. Despite a sea of choice when we were shopping, safety wasn't a priority on many spec sheets. Higher grades of the Ranger could be optioned with autonomous emergency braking, but the thought of paying more to add the kit didn’t seem kosher.
Towards the end of 2019, SsangYong invited us to its Australian launch. Of most interest on the day was the Musso ute, it looked great, was loaded with kit, came standard with the latest safety tech, had a long warranty and it was remarkably good value. All the ingredients were accounted for.
The flagship Ultimate variant caught our eye at a very competitive $39,990 drive-away, a price that can't be ignored if you’ve looked into purchasing a well-appointed Triton, Ranger or HiLux.
Ultimate variants of the Musso come standard with autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, leather seat trim, heated and ventilated seats, 360-degree camera, sunroof and 20-inch alloy wheels.
SsangYong also stumped up the best after sales package to accompany any ute in Australia. The Musso is backed with a seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, seven years’ roadside assistance and seven years’ capped-price servicing which the brand calls, ‘service price menu’.
The metal for money equation couldn’t be matched by any of the established players, all of which were significantly more expensive.
When the Musso’s drivetrain is compared to the segments heavy hitters it gives away 30-50Nm of torque, yet the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine easily does the job with 133kW and 400Nm.
A six-speed Aisin automatic transmission, a selectable 4x4 system with high and low ratios, along with a limited-slip differential are also standard.
Of course, the spec-sheet only tells half the story. On top of all the gear and the sharp price, the Musso is nice to drive. Testing it on Victoria’s country roads, the Musso drove more like an SUV with a refined and well-presented cabin.
Across all categories, the Musso offers the most comprehensive take on the ‘lifestyle’ ute. It’s perfect for those of us wanting to use it as a daily driver and undertake some mild off-roading on the weekends. Many buyers like the idea of hammering around off-road in their HiLux yet most never see dirt. So why drop the coin?
After carefully assessing the options, the Musso was the smart pick, the equivalent Toyota was upwards of $15K more and really couldn’t be justified, so we put an order in earlier this year. Unfortunately, there was a long wait for the spec and colours we wanted. SsangYong tells us supply is now flowing and the early delays have been rectified.
We will be documenting all aspects of the Musso ownership experience and will publish regular updates. Feel free to shoot us any questions.