To cut a long story short, SsangYong is making a push to extend its reach into the ute market with a long wheelbase Musso. But there’s more to it than that. The South Korean auto maker plans to expand its stake in Australia with up to 50 Aussie outlets by year’s end.
The new Musso XLV, which can be loaded up with 1262 litres of cargo in an extended tray, according to the maker, combines high levels of safety, creature comforts, off-road performance and, last but not least, a segment-leading carrying capacity.
“The Musso ute has been a hit with customers and critics since we launched it last year, but the demand for the long wheelbase version is unprecedented,” says SsangYong Australia managing director Tim Smith.
Built on the same platform as the Rexton and Musso, the XLV 4×4 pick-up comes in three grades – ELX, Ultimate and Ultimate Plus – and boasts body-on-frame construction providing a strong base for excellent off-road performance and safety from its structure and four-wheel drive system.
With a full-size crew cab, standard equipment is comprehensive and includes safety features such as autonomous emergency braking, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection, front vehicle start alert and a 360-degree camera, as well as state-of-the-art infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity.
Power comes from the same e-XDi220 engine found in the Rexton and Musso, delivering maximum power of 133 kW at 4000 rpm and torque of 420 Nm between 1600 and 2600 rpm. It is available with either a six-speed manual or an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission.
Prices start at $33,990, drive away, for the XLV ELX manual, while the XLV Ultimate+ automatic tops out the range at $43,990. The latter was the test vehicle.
The Musso XLV exhibits no-nonsense looks, failing to rely on little in the realm of shiny bits to attract attention, although a bold chrome strip across the radiator grille and the curves of the bonnet present a robust look and create the impression of strength.
The shoulder wing grille – characteristic of all new SsangYong product – stretches to the headlights, while strong character lines to the side and rear, add a sense of power and volume to the vehicle.
The interior is no shabby workplace, the crew cab offering high levels of comfort and excellent shoulder and leg room, the rear capable of taking three across.
The ELX has fabric seats, the Ultimate adds endure-Lite heated and ventilated seats, while the Ultimate+ adds powered leather seats with heating and venting.
All grades come standard with a state-of-the-art infotainment system that includes an 8-inch HD screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity.
An instrument cluster with a 7-inch LCD screen on the Ultimate models provides the driver with information in a choice of presentations and visual effects to ensure maximum personalisation.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
A 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, manufactured by SsangYong, putting out 133 kW and 420 Nm is mated with an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission in the Ultimate+ model.
Standard safety equipment is comprehensive and includes features such as autonomous emergency braking, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection, front vehicle start alert and a 360-degree camera.
The tub, fitted with a standard liner, affords an extremely useful 1262 litres of cargo volume and is big enough to take a Euro pallet. It also comes with 12V / 120W power outlets, and conveniently positioned strap-down hooks.
The leaf-spring rear suspension of the lower grades is replaced by a multi-link set-up in the Ultimate+, which drops the maximum payload from 1025 to 800 kg. Without pressing the test vehicle to excess, varying loads had little adverse effect on ride and handling.
The car’s four-wheel drive system draws on SsangYong’s years of experience in all-wheel-drive technology and for efficiency and fuel economy, features part-time 4×4 with power delivered permanently to the rear wheels, and front-wheel drive ‘dialled in’ electronically as required. High and low ratios are available as on and off-road conditions demand.
One unscheduled incident during the launch drive in the bush on a particularly wet and steep downhill section resulted in the vehicle failing to take a sharp bend when it failed to respond to the driver’s steering input.
The ‘off’ had little to do with the SsangYong, being the result of the vehicle wearing road tyres, rather than off-road rubber, which failed to grip in the sloppy going.
There were no such problems during the roadwork, the Musso XLV handled with aplomb, taking all road conditions in its stride. Both road and engine noise intrusion into the cabin was all-but absent. Fuel consumption weighed in at a respectable 10 litres per 100 kilometres in a mix of suburban and highway driving.
While no sales threat to market leaders, the Toyota HiLux or Ford Ranger, the Musso XLV offers an alternative for those seeking extra cargo carrying capacity at a price that will not weigh down the buyer with debt.
SPECIFICATIONS (SsangYong XLV Ultimate+ 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, automatic AWD ute)
Capacity: 2157 cc
Configuration: 4 cylinder, seven-speed automatic
Maximum Power: 133 kW @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 1600 and 2600 rpm
Fuel type: Diesel
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 8.6 litres per 100 km
Drivetrain: 6-speed automatic, part-time 4×4 with electronic 4WD selection.
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5095 mm
Width: 1950 mm
Height: 1840 mm
Wheelbase: 3100 mm
Kerb weight: 2170 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 75 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Seven years / unlimited kilometres
MODEL LINE-UP All prices driveaway)
SsangYong Musso XLV ELX manual $33,990
SsangYong Musso XLV ELX automatic $35,990
SsangYong Musso XLV Ultimate $39,990
SsangYong Musso XLV Ultimate Plus $43,990