Long-term report: Our SsangYong Musso proves to be the ideal mountain bike companion

Like many, the seemingly constant lockdowns and being forced to stay at home most of the time has led to an awful lot of boredom.

And as I hate nothing more than being bored, it’s led me to try and take up all kinds of activities. I’ve been learning Spanish, trying to read more and also taken up mountain biking, and it’s the latter that’s proven a superb fit for the long-term SsangYong Musso.

As I’ve had road bikes in the past, the pain of carrying a cycle is one I know well. You either mess about with fiddly roof bars, those that mount on a tow bar or have the mucky job of trying to squeeze the bike in the car with you.

Ssangyong Musso
Ssangyong Musso

It’s something that can take the fun out of the activity itself, but it’s no such worry for the Musso. That’s because, with its vast 1.61m-long load bed, the bike fits in the back like a glove – even with a sizable mountain one like the one I’ve got.

I’d previously bought a tailgate pad that allows you to put the frame of the bike in the bed and dangle the front wheel over the back, which I’d used to begin with, before realising that it simply wasn’t needed. Given the compact fit, the bike sits perfectly – meaning once you’re parked up, you can pick it up and go. Granted, I wouldn’t want to be parked up with it in the back, though, as it wouldn’t be there long…

Ssangyong Musso
Ssangyong Musso

Before stricter coronavirus measures came in, I went out a couple of times (observing social distancing, of course) and it was hard not to feel smug as others mangled their bikes out of the boots of their cars. A true win for the Musso.

One occasion over Christmas, it was also unexpectedly icy and snowy by the time we got to the top car park, too, but again the conditions proved no match for the Musso and its four-wheel-drive system – ashamedly it was one of the first times I’d need to use it.

Another thing about the Musso is that I look forward to getting back to it after a cycle – not least at this time of year, with the freezing conditions. With toasty heated seats and a heated steering wheel, it’s ideal for trying to warm up again, while even the wipe-clean leather upholstery proves useful just in case you get a bit blathered up while out and about.

But among the positives, there are a few things that are starting to annoy me about the SsangYong, if only small things.

One seems particularly first-world-problemy, which is the keyless start button. It seems to have a bit of a mind of its own, so sometimes you press it and it seems to ignore you, while other times it kicks into life straight away. I don’t reckon it’s a problem, more of a characteristic, but when you jump in and want to head off straight away, it can prove a bit infuriating having to wait for it to make up its mind.

Ssangyong Musso
Ssangyong Musso

The dark nights have also exposed another thing that annoys me, which is how the touchscreen completely reflects in the back window and subsequently right on the rear-view mirror. It’s not distracting, but is rather annoying at night. Even if it’s a trait that comes from pick-ups having such flat back windows, I reckon there is a way around it on SsangYong’s behalf.

But on a brighter note, if this is all I’m moaning about four months into RK70 CPZ ‘ownership’, it’s pretty good going. And more cold weather on the horizon, our Musso might prove to be even more useful over the next month.

  • Model: SsangYong Musso LWB Rhino

  • Price as tested: £29,995 (excl VAT)

  • Engine: 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel

  • Power: 178bhp

  • Torque: 420Nm

  • 0-60mph: 11.7 seconds

  • Top speed: 107mph

  • Fuel economy: 28.2mpg

  • Emissions: 262g/km CO2

  • Mileage: 3,648