Ssangyong Musso Saracen road test review

Ssangyong Musso Saracen road test review
Ssangyong Musso Saracen is a tough, practical truck for just about any lifestyle!

Ssangyong Musso Saracen road test review: With a seven-year, 150-000-mile warranty, 420Nm torque, a 2.2-litre diesel engine and 3.5-tonne towing capacity, DAVID HOOPER enjoys driving this real life Tonka toy!

Ssangyong Musso Saracen road test review
Ssangyong Musso Saracen has a proper four wheel drive system, and a huge cargo area.

Hands up if you remember Tonka Toys? I had one as a kid and loved its ruggedness and unbreakable strength, which I tested to the max – and that’s how this eye-catching Ssangyong Musso Saracen looks and feels. It’s built to last!
You have to “climb” into the driver’s seat, either by stepping on the chunky running board, or by hauling yourself up with the grab handle on the inside of the A-pillar, but once inside, you are met with impressive levels of luxury for what is essentially a working truck, but this trendy looking Saracen model could comfortably double as family transport.
Ssangyong Musso Saracen road test reviewThe driver gets a nicely finished interior which includes such luxuries as a heated steering wheel, lovely on chilly mornings, and front seats which will either heat your bum, or cool it, depending on the season. Electric windows and mirrors are standard too, as is a 9.2in touchscreen which displays Apple Carplay/Android Auto and a reversing camera which is almost a necessity with this vehicle, which, despite its sheer size, is easy to drive.
It’s looks great too, sitting on its black alloys which contrast nicely with the red paintwork, black roller blind load cover and roll-over hoops, it gives the Saracen plenty of road presence, but this vehicle’s talents are more than skin deep.
It comes with a proper four-wheel-drive system giving the driver the option of 2 High, 4 High and 4 Low range gears, controlled through its six-speed automatic gearbox which can be operated manually when more control over the gear shifts is needed.
The big Ssangyong’s road manners are impressive for such a big vehicle. It can be a bit bouncy at times, but that’s because it’s designed to carry lots of weight in the back, and during my time with it, it didn’t carry anything heavier than some shopping. Although there’s no boot as such, the darkly tinted rear windows of the double cab do make it hard to see anything left on the floor or back seats.
Powered by a 2.2-litre 181PS engine pumping out 420Nm of pulling power, despite tipping the scales at nearly 2.2 tonnes it can reach 115mph and return around 33mpg. Its steel ladder chassis means it can tow a 3.5-tonne trailer and carry a payload of just over a tonne in the back.
The Ssangyong’s engine felt perfectly refined, with good pulling power when needed, yet able to cruise quietly enough at motorway speeds.
Economy is about where you would expect it be with a vehicle like this, and during my test it returned an average of 27.5mpg over a distance of around 350 miles of mixed driving.
With a seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty, and striking kerb appeal, this Saracen model is an attractive proposition, particularly if you run a business, which can make it attractively cost-effective.
Don’t be put off if you’re not that familiar with the name either, Ssangyong has been in the UK for a long time, and in my opinion, this example stands favourable comparison with the more mainstream brands, most of which cost a lot more to buy.
Rating: ★★★★★

Ssangyong Musso Saracen road test review
Ssangyong Musso Saracen is quite clever, and it can carry heavy things!

If you like this, read our review on the Isuzu D Max pick-up.

MODEL: Ssangyong Musso Saracen Auto
ENGINE: 2.2-litre 181PS four-cylinder diesel engine, driving four wheels through 6-speed gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 115 mph.
ECONOMY: Combined: 32mpg.
Wheel World test average: 27.5mpg
CO2 EMISSIONS: 226g/km.
PRICE: £31,010 (£37,143 inc VAT).
WARRANTY: Seven years/150,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.