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Geneva show: SsangYong's ‘convertible’ crossover

Sketched: The three-door SsangYong XIV-2 crossover concept will feature a retractable soft-top roof.

SsangYong to showcase open-topped XIV-2 crossover SUV concept at Geneva

14 Feb 2012

SSANGYONG has released sketches of a new ‘convertible’ crossover concept ahead of its public debut at the Geneva motor show early next month.

The XIV-2 – short for Exciting User Interface Vehicle 2 – is billed as a successor to the brand’s ambitious XIV-1 SUV concept from last year’s Frankfurt motor show.

While that car featured radical pillar-less suicide doors both front and rear, the XIV-2 instead has a coupe-like three-door layout with a retractable, one-touch soft-top roof.

The brand says its aim with the car was to “blend the characteristics of a robust and powerful SUV with the dynamic style of an open-top sports coupe”.

The emergence of the XIV-2 could indicate that the brand is seeking to adopt a similar two-pronged strategy in the crossover SUV market as Range Rover does with its Evoque, albeit at a substantially lower price point.

The popular Evoque – to which the SsangYong bears more than a mere passing resemblance – is produced in five-door wagon and three-door ‘coupe’ body styles.

28 center imageLeft: SsangYong XIV-1 concept from the 2011 Frankfurt show.

While nominally a concept, SsangYong’s pointed description of the car as a “strategic model for the global market” indicates it will reach production as a sub-Korando model, although it is not clear if its unusual roof design will get the green light.

Following the Frankfurt reveal of the XIV-1, the brand confirmed it would mass-produce some form of all-new crossover vehicle as part of an ambitious development program under new owner, India’s Mahindra & Mahindra.

A production five-door model along the lines of the XIV-1 would slot into the burgeoning crossover space alongside the forthcoming Ford EcoSport, Opel Mokka and Buick/Holden Encore, plus existing models like the Mitsubishi ASX and Nissan Dualis.

The option of a sporty soft-top configuration would set SsangYong apart, however, with existing open-topped off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler pitched at more utilitarian buyers than the urban-chic XIV-2.

While the XIV-2 sits on the same 2600mm wheelbase as the five-door XIV-1, it is slightly longer at 4166mm (compared to 4140mm).

However, the XIV-1 is slightly wider (1830mm compared to 1820mm for the XIV-2) and taller (1590mm compared to 1566mm) than the sportier three-door XIV-2.

Details of whether the XIV’s underpinnings are derived from its own Korando compact SUV or an all-new platform are still to be revealed.

Not much else is known about the car at this stage, although the brand has confirmed it will offer fuel efficient 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines, both meeting strict new Euro 6 emissions regulations.

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