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Frankfurt show: SsangYong’s city SUV concept

Robust image: SsangYong says the XUV1 concept combines its traditional tough design ethos with an appearance highlighting speed and power.

SsangYong lays the groundwork for an all-new sub-Korando compact crossover

SsangYong logo19 Aug 2011

By TERRY MARTIN

SSANGYONG Motor has released a set of teaser images previewing an all-new sub-Korando city SUV concept that will make its world debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

Dubbed the XUV1 (for ‘Excellent User Interface Vehicle 1’) and described as a ‘premium crossover utility vehicle’, the new model points to another potential avenue for improved sales volume worldwide for the resurgent South Korean brand, which is forging ahead after exiting court-administered receivership earlier this year with new owner, India’s Mahindra and Mahindra.

Full details are still under wraps, but SsangYong has confirmed that the XUV1 slots into the burgeoning B-segment, meaning it will rival ultra-compact crossovers such as the Mitsubishi ASX and Nissan Dualis.

Launched here in February, the new-generation C-segment Korando SUV is currently priced from $27,990 driveaway, while the smaller Dualis and ASX kick in from $24,990 and $25,990 respectively, plus on-road costs.

SsangYong says the XUV1 concept previews the company’s latest design and engineering work, with the designers “having set themselves the goal of creating a new automobile culture based on performance, safety and an awareness of the environment”.

Bearing sharp, narrow headlights and upper and lower LEDs reminiscent of the SUT1 utility concept shown in Geneva in March, the XUV1 has extensive glass areas and “carefully curved” bodywork that is meant to “look imposing without seeming to appear aggressive”.

28 center imageLeft: SsangYong XUV1 concept. Below: SsangYong SUT1 and Korando.

A wraparound windscreen extends the glass area virtually uninterrupted to the large rear C-pillars, while a full length glass roof completes the glasshouse effect.

The hi-tech and reportedly spacious cabin has an unconventional seating layout, offering 1+1+2 or 1+3 configurations that SsangYong says challenges conventional interior design thinking and highlights the flexibility available from the company’s latest platform technology.

All major cabin functions are controlled via mobile devices and smart instruments, while access to the interior is made via a coach-style door.

“All this versatility comes within the confines of a compact B-segment-sized vehicle, a sector which has experienced rapid growth in crossover models in recent years,” the company said.

“Offering the high seating position and rugged feel of a full-sized SUV without any compromise in running costs, crossover models on a supermini scale are fast becoming the ideal motoring solution for today’s driver.” As GoAuto has reported, SsangYong is also expected to use next month’s Frankfurt motor show to unveil a number of other concepts as well as the production version of the SUT1.

The company is expected to again demonstrate its work in alternative powertrains, including plug-in hybrid and full-electric, and advanced prototypes based on the Korando could be shown ahead of small-scale production for fleet trials.

Replacements for its larger-sized SUVs – most notably a medium SUV (codenamed D200) that is set to replace both the Rexton and Kyron in 2013 – could also be displayed in concept form, while passenger cars are likewise known to be on the South Korean brand’s agenda.

Only the SUT1 ute has been confirmed for Australia at this stage, with local SsangYong importer Sime Darby telling GoAuto that it would arrive in local showrooms to replace the Actyon Sports in the first quarter of 2012.

SsangYong is also preparing to relaunch its brand in the UK with new distributor Bassadone Automotive Group. Last month, the new importer said SsangYong would use Frankfurt to “showcase a number of new-model concepts, while SUT1, the sports utility pick-up shown in concept form at Geneva, will also be seen in market-ready form”.

It added: “In addition to the current model line-up, SsangYong is actively working on a number of new products, including range extensions to Korando as well as an electric vehicle. The first of these will be seen at the Frankfurt motor show in September.”

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