Ooh, a new pickup?
Well, sort of. Last year, SsangYong Philipines decided to jump into the pickup segment (new territory for Korean carmakers in the Philippines) with the Musso. One of our reviewers summed up that model by saying: “Dyed-in-the-wool pickup buyers will likely stick to their make and model of choice, but first-time truck buyers unwilling to give up the comfort of an SUV while adding the utility of a real bed should give this a serious look.”
Then earlier this year, SsangYong came out with this, the Musso Grand. The ‘Grand’ signifies the extended cargo bed, which the brand claims is the widest, longest, and deepest in its class. This 4x4 variant is priced at P1,650,000, putting in the ballpark of the top-of-the-line Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
While its front fascia manages to be both imposing and subdued at the same time, its extended bed and low stance won’t be appreciated by everyone. If I’m being honest, it looks somewhat like a hot rod you’d spot at an American aftermarket show. Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on your personal taste. In terms of size, the Grand is 310mm longer than the standard Musso.
Does it have more oomph for the size?
It’s bigger, but for better or worse, it packs the same amount of power as its smaller version. Under the hood of the Musso Grand is the same 2.2-liter in-line-four turbodiesel with 179hp and 420Nm found in the Musso. On this test, our mixed highway and city driving netted us roughly 7-8km/L.
I see. So, how does it drive?
For a midsize pickup, the powertrain is on the smaller end of the scale, and you certainly feel that. Low-end grunt is adequate, though the turbo takes a bit of time to come through. Around the 1,500rpm mark, the torque comes in smoothly and levels off around the middle ranges. The steering possesses a healthy weight and ample feedback, which makes moving the pickup’s sizeable frame an easier task than you’d first expect. That said, with a gross vehicle weight of 3,220kg, this pickup is on the heavy side.
As for the ride (double-wishbone suspension up front, leaf springs in the rear), with an empty bed it’s pretty standard pickup fare: comfy on flat roads with minor bumps, but somewhat jarring and bouncy when the going gets rough.
Does the bigger bed make it difficult to handle?
A little, but surprisingly not as much as expected. The width doesn’t cause any issues, nor does the hood, but the overall length certainly does, especially when going in reverse since the bed has a significant overhang past the rear tires. Visibility is as expected for a pickup, so you definitely need to account for the added length when maneuvering.
Okay. What’s it like on the inside?
Here’s where the pickup shines, at least in its top-of-the-line rendition. The 4x4 comes with amenities like power-adjustable seats, plush brown leather seats that are rather comfy, and Android Auto and Apply CarPlay courtesy of the eight-inch infotainment system. Space is plentiful, too, especially in the front seats.