You surely know what Hyundai and Kia are, but we are pretty sure that there are people that don’t know what SsangYong is, you may not even know how to pronounce it. Yet it exists from 50’s, it comes from South Korea, and it has more than few interesting things to tell about itself. It has its own S-Class, which was actually based on old Mercedes’s one, it had quite visual oddities with Kyron and older Rodius model, and it invented SUV coupe class with Actyon in 2006.
Despite that, it had quite a problem to conform to demands of buyers in large, but it really tries hard lately. Kyron is out of the game, redesigned Actyon and Rodius are significantly less strange and latest generation of compact SUV Korando and new subcompact SUV Tivoli are quite modern and competitive products. Part of that new push, trying to make this car maker proper global player is 2017 SsangYong XAVL concept.
WHAT IS IT?
It is a concept car that is going to debut on upcoming Geneva Motor Show, and it should represent new future mid-size SUV from Korean maker, which will probably enter the production by the end of this decade. XAVL stands for “eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long SUV” while we also had quite boxier and rugged looking XAV concept in 2015. XAVL is not an evolution of XAV, as 2015 concept represent upcoming compact SUV which will slot below our model that is yet to come.
WHAT ABOUT THE REXTON THAN?
If you knew a bit about Ssangyong, you are probably asking yourself this. Rexton is mid-size SUV that’s tagging along for 16 years with only some nip and tucks, and it’s due to enter new generation probably next year previewed by the LIV-2 concept. So, they are both mid-size 7-seater SUVs, but with the big difference.
Looking at what these two offers we can say that Rexton is proper SUV with a ladder frame and high off-road capabilities, while new XAVL is a pure crossover with monocoque chassis, not colliding at all with what Rexton is offering. Consider it as what is Highlander to the 4Runner in Toyota’s lineup and that should clarify all.
WHAT TO EXPECT
We saw that this company can pull some trendy and classy things with Tivoli and this concept shares some common ideas. We see a quite expressive fascia appearing ultra modern with sharp LED lights, lots of muscular bends and large horizontal taillights. If production model carries on with the same story of handsome but sharp, we will have new visual success on the market for sure.
Concept cabin plays on “less” card, which should suit the current trends and large screen dominates the scenery, diminishing the purpose of many buttons. This is the area where SsangYong has to turn the tides as it already did with exterior styling since current brand’s cabins lack some refinement that most of the rivals offer.
SsangYong plans to boost its production to half a million units annually, and 2017 SsangYong XAVL concept previews one side of that future offensive. In Europe, it will have to battle domestic competition pictured in Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, although segment is not so populated especially as Nissan Pathfinder, which switched to crossover in the current generation, is not present there anymore.
But, SsangYong has it aim at the US too, as plans of entering this market are revealing, but there, competition is quite strong. They will battle against already mentioned Koreans to competitors from Japan including Highlander, Murano, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, ending with American GMC Acadia, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango and many more. We will see…