Up here at the helm of the Musso, I’m feeling upbeat. Okay, most of the time it’s been difficult to go anywhere, given restrictions that prevailed at the time of writing. Still, I’m optimistic they won’t be in operation when you read this. And I have other reasons to be cheerful.
Firstly, this isn’t the final report. The Musso has been stretched, as if it weren’t elongated enough, for another three issues, given the fact that car makers prefer writers to get some miles in to back up any of their opinions. Secondly, I’ve thankfully been jabbed, so if we see curfews later in 2021, maybe jabbed journos, like anyone else, won’t be so tethered.
Finally, there’s the Musso itself. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have lobbied SsangYong for extra time if I hadn’t bonded with the truck in the first place. In essence, I really, really like it. As in really. Working out quite why is interesting: having tested other doublecabs before, all from far more UK-established brands, they’ve all been pretty okay. But this is more than okay.
In case you haven’t been an avid reader of previous updates, the inescapable negative comes at the pumps. Drive locally, hopping in and out several times a day, and you’ll be lucky to notch 25mpg. But head for the horizon, as I learned, and you’re comfortably north of 33mpg. For any car of such grandiose proportions, that might be so-so. But this is a workhorse, a machine to ferry a tonne of stuff, or tow 3.5 tonnes, from one end of the country to the other – all in serene calm. In that context, such running costs seem as swallowable as the load.
Talking of serenity, that’s where the Rhino shines. As the director’s cut of the Musso range, there is no sense of tail wagging dog, the steering knows nuances even at motorway speeds and – best of all – the chassis is super-calm. While Rhino’s cousin, the grand Rexton SUV, is as calm as a first night in rehab, the Rhino, despite so much shared DNA, seems to have had a solid pre-med.
Finally, it speaks to my inner (okay, outer) miser. Pay the sticker price and you get all the luxuries you’d dream of, but might not dare tick in a Land Rover Defender. Ah, I hear you cry, but what of quality? Well don’t tell your mates (make them buy their own magazine), but I’ll let you in on a secret: yes, if you bury your face near the carpet you might find some polycarbonate disappointment (as you might in many premium cabins; believe me, I have the carpet burn) but, six months down the line, I’ve found nothing tangible that isn’t nice to get tangible with. Yes, it’s literally a quality finish.
All of which leaves me concerned: with three reports left, this machine is making me far too positive. Note to self for issue 413: try harder to find something bad.
Date arrived 10th September 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 28.2mpg
Economy (On test) 28.4mpg