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Frankfurt show: SsangYong shows micro-SUV path

Easy access: The SsangYong XIV-1 crossover concept features pillar-less 'suicide' doors.

Baby SsangYong SUV confirmed for production following XIV concept’s show debut

15 Sep 2011

SSANGYONG has confirmed it will enter the ‘crossover utility vehicle’ segment with an all-new micro-SUV based on the XIV-1 concept presented at the Frankfurt motor show this week.

Although a production date is still to be announced, the resurgent South Korean car-maker made it clear at the show that the XIV-1 was “more than just a design study” and instead was “the concept version of SsangYong’s premium B-segment CUV project, which will lead to the addition of another mass-production model to the Korean company’s range”.

To compete against compact crossovers like Mitsubishi’s ASX, the four-seater XIV-1 created a buzz in Frankfurt with its striking resemblance to Land Rover’s new Evoque, albeit in a downsized package that rests on a 2600mm wheelbase and measures 4140mm long, 1830mm wide and 1590mm high.

That is the same width as SsangYong’s larger Korando compact SUV, but 50mm shorter in wheelbase, 270mm shorter in overall length and 120mm lower to the ground.

The ASX, in comparison to the XIV, is taller but even more compact, resting on a 2670mm wheelbase (the same as the larger Outlander) and measuring 4295mm long, 1770mm wide and 1615mm high.

28 center imageFew other specifications were provided for the XIV-1, other than that the model offered two 1.6-litre four-cylinder engines – a diesel and petrol – paired with either a manual or automatic transmission (both six-speed units) and a choice of either 2WD or AWD drivelines.

Presented alongside the production version of SsangYong’s reskinned SUT-1 utility, which replaces the Actyon Sports Ute here early next year, the XIV-1 – which is derived from the phrase ‘eXciting user Interface Vehicle’ – also features a strong focus on interaction between the driver and passengers.

As such, a large number of functions inside the vehicle – including audio, information displays and online communications –are controlled via ‘smart’ mobile devices and, SsangYong says, the vehicle itself.

Other points of interest inside the XIV include a wide, symmetrical instrument panel (accented with aluminium dials) that aims to accentuate the width of the cabin, while each of the four seats can rotate 360 degrees and move fore/aft.

The idea with the seating arrangements is to enable passengers to “freely move” and “tailor the cabin layout to their specific needs”.

The striking wrap-around glass area that dominates the exterior design is said to “epitomise the perfect proportions of the compact SUV”, with SsangYong’s designers taking inspiration not from the Evoque – as if the company would admit it – but “from the simplicity of the side view of a graceful sailing yacht, which is synonymous with outdoor pleasure and enjoyment”.

The wide C-pillar and slim roof are meant to look as though they “float” above the body, “providing a nimble, fast yet strong stance”. The front-end styling has familial links with Korando, along with LED headlights.

Access to the cabin is made easier with ‘suicide’ doors that remove the need for a B-pillar.

Details of whether the XIV’s underpinnings are derived from Korando or an all-new platform are still to be revealed, but SsangYong is known to be developing a range of passenger cars and is now ramping up product program development under new owner Mahindra & Mahindra.

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