The name may need some explanation. In his native South Korea, the car shown here is known as “Rexton Sports”The SsangYong pickup truck previously carried that name in the Netherlands “Action”However, SsangYong’s new pickup is called “Grand Musso”That’s how it is: in England the Rexton is positioned as a luxury car and therefore any association with a work car is undesirable. And because the newcomer was much bigger than Actyon, a new name was chosen “Grand Musso”.
Size and weight
However, at 541 cm in length, the Musso is a little less “majestic” than its main competitor (only the Ford Ranger is shorter). Besides, SsangYong had a completely different appearance. For the American market, an aggressive and muscular appearance is usually chosen. SsangYong chooses simplicity. Note that roll bars and footboards are options on the test car; so the original is more civilized.
Grand Musso will only be built as “double taxi”: with two front seats plus one rear seat. However, to meet Dutch requirements for gray license plates, the contents of the cab and loading platform, as well as the position of the loading container in relation to the rear axle, must be slightly different. That’s why the Dutch importer removed the back seat and installed a bulkhead, after which the Grand Musso fulfilled all the requirements.
The space where the back seat used to be is now a handy “dry” storage area. In this way, items requiring protection can be safely and dryly separated from bulk goods in open bodies. Despite the partitions, the space at the front is fine and the front seats are not always against the partitions (as is the case in many vans).
Because the Grand Musso is the latest model from SsangYong, the car also has the latest infotainment system. This audio, communication and navigation system is complete and responds to commands from users quickly. The audio system stands out with full, lively sound, although it doesn’t sound very realistic. The all-in-one camera makes maneuvering easier, which isn’t too much of a luxury for a car of this size.
In terms of active safety (avoiding accidents), Grand Musso keeps up with the times. This allows the car to brake on its own in case of danger. Grand Musso warns drivers of fatigue, unintentional road marking violations, traffic intersections while reversing and objects in the rearview mirror blind spots. Automatic high beam (without traffic glare) is also available.
The propulsion does not come from an American V8 or V6 gasoline engine, but a diesel engine. However, this is a traditional power unit, without any hybrid assistance or even a start/stop system. Judging by the specs, 181 hp / 420 Nm is pretty average, but in practice the autoigniter feels a lot more powerful than that. Even in eco mode, there is always plenty of power available and a light tap on the accelerator pedal is enough for immediate acceleration. Of course when ridden without a load, the Grand Musso gives off a pleasant feeling that the engine is too big.
“While the American pickup truck is mostly meant to impress, the Grand Musso is above all a functional workhorse”
The machine understands its job well. While it can be noticed that the gearbox shifts, it always does it at the right time, so it never crashes. Likewise, the engine is clearly audible, but never too loud to be distracting.
Unfortunately, the excellent performance and smooth shifting of gears are offset by very high consumption. Due to the lack of modern fuel-saving facilities, consumption is increasing, especially in cities. According to the on-board computer, the average consumption during the test drive is 1 to 8. Judging from the trip meter and the number of liters of diesel fuel, the test consumption is even 1 to 6. Sorry SsangYong, it’s too high!
Grand Musso has a very different handling from most competitors. Like other pickup trucks, its handling is adapted for use on public roads and off-road, with and without a trailer. However, SsangYong opted for a very simple rear suspension (leaf springs / stiff rear axle). As a result, there is always a delay between turning the steering wheel and the actual change of direction of the car. In addition, the steering feels light and the body is slightly tilted, so the driver always feels insecure.
On a bad road, Grand Musso gives the feeling that the body is twisting. This gives the impression that SsangYong has opted for maximum comfort, but on poor road surfaces every detail can be felt. Therefore the Grand Musso almost imposes a calm driving style.
For off-road driving, SsangYong provides pure traditional technology. No automatic detection from beneath the surface or computer thinking here. Four-wheel drive can be activated by a swivel knob in the center tunnel, with the axle between the front and rear wheels locked as standard. This means that four-wheel drive is only intended for off-road use, because on paved roads there will be too much friction between the front and rear axles, which can eventually cause damage. When four-wheel drive is insufficient, both rear wheels can also be locked and low reach is available. So Grand Musso doesn’t shy away from any (construction) site!
SsangYong, a Korean specialist in the field of off-road vehicles, introduced the Grand Musso. While American pickup trucks are mostly meant to impress, the Grand Musso is above all a functional workhorse.
Test drives show that the Grand Musso does everything right. Grand Musso is big, strong, spacious and modern. However, the car doesn’t really excel in anything. The Grand Musso is no bigger, stronger, wider, more modern or cheaper than the existing range. Only with high consumption Grand Musso really misses the point, but that’s certainly not a plus. The main reason for choosing Grand Musso is because of the brand. Because the feel and design of SsangYong is very different from the American and Japanese offerings.
- Smooth and willing
- Rich modern equipment
- Purely mechanical and therefore powerful off-road technique
- Very high consumption
- Numb, indirect control
- Few distinctive characters compared to existing range