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Future models - SsangYong - XLV

Geneva show: SsangYong XLV is go for Oz

Exciting times: SsangYong’s XLW stands for ‘exciting, smart lifestyle vehicle’ and is powered by a diesel-electric mild hybrid system.

SsangYong’s XLV compact crossover is set for an Australian berth early next year

5 Mar 2014


SSANGYONG will ramp up its model range next year with the introduction of a new B-segment SUV based on the XLV concept it debuted at the Geneva motor show this week.

And the good news for Australian SUV fans is that it will be added to the local line-up in March 2015, about the same time it debuts in Europe.

Speaking with GoAuto at the unveiling of the XLV concept at the Geneva motor show, SsangYong Motor Company vice president of CTO, technology and product development Jae-Wan Lee said the stylish soft-roader will launch in its home market of South Korea first before a wider global launch.

Mr Lee said the XLV is not a replacement for its Korando SUV which will sit above it in SsangYong’s line-up. He said it made sense for the car-maker to add a new SUV to its line-up because of the popularity of smaller high-riding models.

“B-segment growth is much higher than other segments. B-segment SUV growth is more than other SUV and MPV for example, he said.” The XLV, in concept form at least, features a unique 2+2+2+1 seating layout, with the seventh seat sliding between the second and third row for greater flexibility.

Mr Lee said the production version is likely to get a more traditional seven-seat version, but not from launch.

“We are thinking about that. Basically the concept is the seven seat but a five-seat will be first of course then will will look at seven-seat. Some markets like India and Indonesia and other markets, there will be third-row seat.” Taking styling cues from the XIV-1 crossover concept from the 2011 Frankfurt motor show, the XIV-2 that debuted at last year’s Geneva show, and the LIV-1 and SIV-1 concepts, the XLV appears closer to production than the two earlier concepts but is still not quite showroom-ready.

SsangYong said in a statement that it wanted to design a robust and dynamic exterior and the indents in the door panels and chunky wheel arches add to this design philosophy. At the rear, the XLV features a blacked-out D-pillar, prominent rear air intakes matching the ones at the front and almost Jaguar XJ-inspired tail-lights.

The XLV - which SsangYong says stands for ‘exciting, smart lifestyle vehicle’ - is based on a new platform for the brand and is powered by a mild hybrid system consisting of a 1.6-litre diesel engine and an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.

Mr Lee confirmed that while it will not be available at launch, a hybrid version of the XLV will join the line-up down the track.

The facelifted Korando was also on show at Geneva and is scheduled for a quarter two berth in Australia. The new Korando takes on SsangYong’s latest corporate face and is a more aggressive and resolved take on the front-end styling of the new Stavic people-mover.

Another model that SsangYong has in development is the X100 sub-compact crossover that is being built with owner Mahindra as a model to be shared by the two brands.

According to Mr Lee, the Nissan Juke and Ford EcoSport rival is scheduled to go on sale in Korea in January and then in Europe in March, but it is remains unclear whether Australian distributor Ateco Automotive will add it to its line-up in the future.

Mr Lee also confirmed that the Indian-owned South Korean car-maker is also developing a replacement for the Actyon Sports range in South Korea at the moment, but it is still a while off.

In Australia SsangYong sells the Actyon Sports in utility body-style only.

Mr Lee also ruled out a move into more traditional passenger cars, with the South Korean brand instead choosing to focus on SUVs.

“We are mainly focussed on SUV vehicles not passenger. We are producing only one and that is the luxury vehicle Chairman for the Korean market. But as for something like a small C-segment sedan or something? No.”

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