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Future models - SsangYong - XLV

Geneva show: SsangYong XLV previews 7-seat SUV

Sseven sseats: SsangYong is breaking in to the lucrative compact SUV market with its XLV, which has three rows of seats.

SsangYong XLV straddles the compact crossover class with three-row availability

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SsangYong logo5 Mar 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

SOUTH Korean car-maker SsangYong has unveiled a close-to-production crossover concept at the Geneva motor show overnight that looks set to join the ever-growing ranks of compact SUVs.

An acronym of sorts for ‘eXciting smart Lifestyle Vehicle’, the XLV previews one of two models SsangYong is expected to release in the near-term future to combat light-sized SUVs such as the Nissan Juke, Ford EcoSport and Holden Trax.

The other is a still-secret five-seater wagon, while the XLV shown in Geneva demonstrates SsangYong’s desire for an affordable three-row seven-seater, measuring in at 4430mm long, 1845mm wide and 1600mm high.

Sitting on a 2600mm wheelbase, this would put the multi-seat version closer in size to the Nissan X-Trail rather than Juke, although SsangYong is adamant the vehicle belongs in the B-segment and should not encroach on its slightly larger (C-segment) Korando.

The XLV also features a new diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for exceptionally low consumption and emissions.

Part of the brand’s “multi-interface concepts” that included an earlier iteration at the 2011 Frankfurt show, the production version is mooted for a global debut within the next 18 months.

It is expected to be a core model for SsangYong, opening up a much broader audience for the brand, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this week.

“The XLV will become one of SsangYong’s core strategic models to underpin its future growth,” the company says.

Part of the newcomer’s expected showroom appeal is centred on the unique 2+2+2+1 seating arrangement, with the seventh seat sliding between the two rearmost rows for added flexibility.

Described as “rhythmical” and “dynamic”, the XLV’s exterior design is a welcome departure from the controversial Ken Greenly-penned Stavic/Rodius MPV that came to define the brand in Australia over the past decade.

In line with the brand’s ‘Robust, Specialty and Premium’ styling language known internally as ‘Nature Born – 3 Motion’, the XLV is aimed at an urban buyer who seeks to combine practicality with individuality.

Styling highlights include a two-tone roof with blacked-out pillars designed to create an impression of space, width and airiness, with a similar effect on the side said to have been inspired by a dolphin.

“This look will also be seen on subsequent models, while the wider D-pillars with black detailing is a design cue seen on other concept models by SsangYong,” the company says.

“The simple yet bold front, rear and strong, energetic sides embody SsangYong’s robust and aesthetic design language for the future.”

Animal motifs also exist inside, with the dashboard’s overall presentation said to reflect “the shape of a bird’s wings in flight” for a relaxed and comfortable ambience, while honeycombed graphics illumination on the orange/red trim is meant to evoke the emotion of spotting fireflies in the dark.

There is also a double-layer glass roof with an electronic ambient control system to adjust the amount of light entering inside via a fine particle film sandwiched between the layers and activated through a voltage charge. It can also display user-generated graphics.

Keen to underline green thinking, SsangYong added that the uplift in soft-touch trim materials has not come at the expense of the environment.

Speaking of eco credentials, the 48-volt hybrid drivetrain consists of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine combined with a 10kW electric motor powered by 500Wh lithium-ion batteries.

The upshot according to SsangYong is carbon dioxide emissions some 10 per cent less than some rivals SUVs. The manual version is said to emit 98 grams per kilometre of CO2 while the automatic is rated at 109g/km.

Finally, an interactive communication system called ‘3S-Cube’ (Smart-Link, Safe-Way, Special-Sense) keeps occupants connected, while also linked in with the XLV’s available automatic cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and automatic emergency city braking systems.

India’s Mahindra and Mahindra conglomerate owns 70 per cent of SsangYong.

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