OUR review of the SsangYong Musso pick-up.

ON THE ROAD: IF life is an adventure, Ssangyong is hoping you will accept the challenge. The Musso pick-up is billed as part saloon, part workhorse and part transport capable of widening your family's horizons.

The Musso has plenty to compete with, the likes of Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi ruling the roost in this increasingly popular sector.

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To compete with the big boys, Ssangyong aims to offer a lot for not a lot - it's one of the cheapest vehicles of its kind on the road.

It wasn't long ago that the South Korean company, now a subsidiary of Indian outfit Mahindra, was turning out cars even a mother couldn't love.

The Musso might not be Brigitte Bardot, but it's far better looking than what has gone before. With its imposing exterior and chunky wheels, it looks capable of doing the business.

It's powered by a 2.2 litre turbo diesel which puts out more than 170bhp with 400Nm of torque.

While it's noisy under acceleration, it does quieten down once you're underway. You're never going to find a pick-up that's ultra-hushed, but we took the Musso over the Pennines to wet and windy Manchester and were at no point overly bothered by outside intrusion.

The steering, which isn't the most communicative, is set light, which is a bonus around town. My wife normally steers clear of driving such utilitarian vehicles, but she was more than happy to get behind the wheel of the Musso.

Okay, it leans a little around the bends, but work within its limits and it offers a relatively stress-free ride.

ON THE INSIDE: SSANGYONG'S attempts to keep the cost of the Musso down are apparent in the interior, however, while the materials used might not be top grade, they are more than acceptable for a vehicle that will spend most of its time working for a living.

You sit up high, resulting in a good view of your surroundings. Big wing mirrors help with the fact that the view out of the back isn't great.

The seats are comfortable and hold you in well, although it must be admitted we didn't test its credentials off road.

WHAT DO YOU GET: THIS is where any niggles you might encounter are offset, as the Musso comes with plenty of kit by way of compensation.

Air conditioning, leather covered steering wheel and gear knob, radio with MP3 and Bluetooth capabilities are standard across the range, among other items.

Step up to SE and you get leather-look seats, chrome-look finish on vents and steering wheel mounted controls.

EX grade gets you leather seats with front heaters and power adjustment on the driver's chair, a user-friendly 7ins touchscreen, automatic climate control, rain sensing wipers and auto headlights.

Additionally, our vehicle had electric windows all round, central locking, electrically operated and heated power folding door mirrors, rear parking sensors, 18ins black alloys, roof rails, speed sensitive door locks - though they do sound like a whip cracking behind your ears, front fog lights and alarm and immobiliser.

HOW PRACTICAL IS IT: THE Musso has plenty of room in its cabin, whether you are sat up front or in the back. You don't get as much legroom in the rear, but none of my young passengers complained. It has a one-tonne payload and a three-tonne towing capacity, while the load deck comes in at 2.04sq m. There are anchor points for securing loads and the whole area is easily cleanable. The tailgate is heavy, but once down it provides a wide access, although the wheel arches are a little restrictive.

RUNNING COSTS: SSANGYONG say it should be possible to get a return of 37mpg, we managed marginally less. CO2 emissions are high at 202g/km. Owners get a five-year limitless mileage warranty.

VERDICT: Expected to hate it, actually quite liked it.

ALTERNATIVES: Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200