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Geneva show: SsangYong previews new mid-size SUV

Unashamed: SsangYong says the XAVL “unashamedly takes its design inspiration from our classic and iconic Korando model of the 1990s” which, in the case of the previous generation, was known for its no-nonsense, no-frills and barely refined manners – but it sure stood out.

Seven-seat XAVL emerges as precursor to new SsangYong SUV due “in the near future”


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10 Mar 2017

SOUTH Korea’s SsangYong has again used the Geneva motor show to present an appealing forward-looking concept, this time in the form of the bold XAVL that looks to preview an all-new seven-seat mid-size SUV.

SsangYong remains in recess in Australia but, as GoAuto has previously reported, is preparing to return to market under new distribution arrangements in the fourth quarter of this year, which could open the door for long-awaited new models.

Top of the list will be the Tivoli compact crossover, along with updated or redesigned versions of existing models such as the new-generation Rexton large SUV (previewed by the LIV-2 concept shown in Paris last year) and the smaller Korando, which was showcased in facelifted form in Geneva this week.

Should the XAVL reach production, SsangYong could potentially have a solid model line-up poised to capitalise on booming SUV sales in Australia.

The latest concept is a longer and more production-oriented version of the XAV concept presented at the Frankfurt motor show in 2015, and slots in neatly between the Korando and Rexton in the all-important mid-size SUV segment, which is second only to small passenger cars as the biggest-selling class of vehicle in Australia.

The XAVL rests on a 2775mm wheelbase and measures 4630mm long, 1866mm wide and 1640mm high.

SsangYong says it offers the choice of either a 1.5-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel engine, paired with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission and a 4x2 or 4x4 driveline.

In presenting the XAVL in Geneva, SsangYong Motor Co chief executive Johng-sik Choi made it clear that the concept “signposts the future generation of SsangYong cars”.

“As the oldest car brand and only specialist producer of SUV and 4x4 vehicles in Korea, it is incumbent upon us to lead the way in new product development in this sector,” he said.

“This longer-bodied car will accommodate seven passengers in comfort, and will be powered by both petrol and new clean-burning diesel engines.

“Of particular note, this concept draws heavily on our heritage, and unashamedly takes its design inspiration from our classic and iconic Korando model of the 1990s.”

It is not clear if Mr Choi is referring to the first generation that was a rebadged version of the Jeep CJ-7 (1983-1986) or – more likely – the subsequent second-generation ‘New Korando’ that made it to Australia in 1998.

However, SsangYong said this week that this “contemporary interpretation of the original car is expected to find its way into production as an authentic off-road SUV in the near future”.

The company promises a high level of cabin flexibility with the vehicle, along with modern safety and convenience equipment on-board and a large dose of off-road ability thrown in.

The concept has a high level of safety equipment, including an external airbag to protect pedestrians and a centrally mounted airbag between the driver and front passenger, plus an array of driver-assist technology including autonomous emergency braking, lane-change assist, lane-keeping assist, high-beam assistance, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert.

A ‘smart parking assist’ system is also featured on the XAVL, while cabin comfort and convenience extends to a 10.25-inch LCD display, Wi-Fi hotspot for the second and third rows, and, in defiance of convention, an infotainment system located in the headlining.

SsangYong says this system, along with the navigation and air-conditioning units, can all be controlled from a smartphone.

Meanwhile, the new-look Korando turned up in Geneva with a fresh front-end design and extra equipment, including a front and rear safety camera – the frontal unit billed as a first in class.

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