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Driven: Reborn SsangYong Musso lands Down Under

SsangYong Musso pick-up to provide brand with point of difference with Korean rivals

6 Dec 2018

SSANGYONG Australia believes its new-generation Musso dual-cab 4x4 pick-up will offer a point of difference to its rivals, with both its Korean heritage and sharp driveaway pricing.
Speaking at the re-launch of the Korean brand in Australia, SsangYong Australia PR and product planning manager Andrew Ellis said the Musso should be on all pick-up buyers’ shopping lists.
“One thing that our competitors from Korea lack is a full-size LCV, and that’s where I think the Musso is really going to cut across, and that that price point, you’ve got to consider it,” he said.
“I think we’ve seen the rise of some of the other brands because of their price point, so we’ve not only got a great price point, but we’ve got a brand with 4x4 heritage, with all the features they are looking for.”
SsangYong Australia national marketing manager Mitch Wiley said the brand was confident prospective buyers would love the car once they drive it, so the aim for the brand early on is to get people into the Musso.
“Given what our volume aspirations are early, I think we are in a unique position where we can focus on experiential marketing and getting people to drive the cars,” he said. 
“The reality is that doing the driveaway test of putting mates in the Musso when I’ve taken it home, everyone gets out so surprised that they can’t believe how well-appointed it is, how quiet it is, and I think that’s something we have to tackle early literally to make sure we get bums in seats because we’re going to let the product do the talking. I think that’s really important.”
At launch, the Musso will be offered in three trim levels, all of which come with dual-cab bodystyles, a 4x4 driveline and the same 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine.
The Musso undercuts most of the volume-selling dual-cab 4x4 pick-ups on the market with a starting price of $30,490 driveaway for the six-speed manual EX grade, which increases by $2000 when opting for the six-speed automatic version.
Moving up to the mid-spec, auto-only ELX will cost buyers $35,990 driveaway, while the flagship Ultimate tops out at $39,990. For reference, Toyota’s cheapest 4x4 HiLux, the 2.4-litre Workmate single-cab manual, asks $36,990 plus on-roads.
SsangYong Australia general manager Tim Smith said he believed the value of the Musso was one of its strongest selling points.
“The Musso, all our competitors for their top-spec products are charging well above $40,000, so the fact that we nip in just under that on a driveaway plus metallic paint, I think that’s a testament both to our planning and head office’s faith in us.”
All versions employ the same 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 133kW at 4000rpm at 400Nm of torque at 1400rpm, with selectable four-wheel drive and low-range gearing and a limited-slip differential to help in off-road conditions.
With its high-strength ladder-frame chassis, the Musso sports a 3500kg braked towing capacity, while its coil-sprung rear suspension allows for a 790kg payload and enough room to fit a Euro pallet.
The Musso’s braked towing capacity was originally rated at 3000kg, however after working with towing specialist Trimotive to develop a stronger tow bar, the rating has increased to match the segment leaders.
In the second quarter of 2019, the Musso range will be bolstered by the addition of a workhorse version that increases its wheelbase by 300mm, extends the bed length to 1600mm and swaps out the coil-sprung rear for leaf packs, which will increase payload to over one tonne. An entry-level 4x2 version will also be added. 
Combined fuel economy is rated at 7.9 litres per 100km for the manual, up to 8.6L/100km with the auto, with a 75-litre fuel tank as standard.
Inside, all models come with Bluetooth connectivity, while Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a reversing camera are standard on the ELX and Ultimate. Exclusive to the Ultimate are a front camera and surround-view monitor.
Standard safety equipment across the range includes autonomous emergency braking and forward collision warning, which is not available from launch but will be rolled out around late January or early February.
The Musso is yet to be tested by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, however SsangYong will be targeting a five-star rating.
An Australian-specific suspension and handling tune will also be included in the coming months, which can be retrofitted on vehicles purchased before the arrival of the upgrades.
The entry-level EX comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, a full-size spare, AM/FM radio and media head unit, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, fabric seats and rear seat child anchor points.
Stepping up to the ELX adds 18-inch alloys, tyre pressure monitor, daytime running lights, rear foglights, power windows, front and rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert.
Opting for the top-spec Ultimate nets buyers 20-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, rear deck pillar, sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, surround-view monitor, leather seats with electric front adjustment and speed-sensitive steering.
All SsangYong models come with a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with seven years of scheduled servicing and roadside assist.

2018 SsangYong Musso driveaway pricing

Musso EX $30,490
Musso EX (a) $32,490
Musso ELX (a) $35,990
Musso Ultimate (a) $39,990

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