You might remember the Musso; first launched in 1993, the Musso was later rebadged as a Daewoo when Daewoo took a major stake in its fellow struggling Korean company. SsangYong was then left out in the cold when Daewoo, itself in difficulties, was in turn bought by General Motors, but is returning as an independent company - albeit with a 48.9 percent stake owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), MG Rover's putative partners. SsangYong plans international exports, and to have a series of models on offer in the UK and Europe.
This will be the Musso's next incarnation, and when you take a look at the old Musso (see below), you've got to admit that this latest effort has got to be one of the better makeovers so far this year
the side profile now more closely resembles upmarket 4x4s such as the BMW X5 and Lexus RX300. It's a move as audacious as Kia's M-Class-alike Sorento. Also gone, apparently, is the tacky bodycladding slapped on willy-nilly across the body panels. Add in some rather fetching alloys and you've got a much more credible looking 4x4. Ssangyong's other 4x4, the Rexton was designed by ItalDesign (no bad thing) though the finishing touches were made in-house, so the Korean company is clearly making an effort to adjust its cars' looks to European tastes.
The old Musso was no slouch off-piste (it sells best in inhospitable places such as Africa and the Middle East), so expect the new one to have full-time all-wheel drive, and a torquey turbodiesel (probably a development of the current Mercedes-sourced 2.9-litre unit, elderly but well-proven) with the automatic gearbox you can see fitted to this pre-production model. Ssangyong will have carved out lots of useable space in the new Musso's cargo bay, and heaped luxury kit into the cabin that you'd normally expect from prestige-brand off-roaders. Only for a whole lot less cash.