Hyundai and Kia may be the first to spring to mind, but South Korea has a number of other automakers within its borders – like the GM division formerly known as Daewoo, the joint venture between Renault and Samsung, and of course SsangYong.
Recently acquired by Mahindra, SsangYong has subsided for years on some pretty lackluster old-tech SUVs like the Actyon, Rexton and Rodius. But over the past few years, it's been rolling out a succession of new concepts to showcase where the company is going, and the latest is the XAV.
Unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show, the XAV is a small SUV that ostensibly previews the replacement for the Korando – which, prior to the arrival of the newer, smaller Tivoli, was the company's newest product, introduced in 2010. The original Korando hit the scene in 1983 as a licensed version of the Jeep CJ, but struck a much more unique (if not necessarily attractive) form with the second generation that arrived in 1996 ahead of the more generically styled version that followed.
The XAV concept ostensibly draws its inspiration from that unique second model, but thoroughly modernized and given a more rugged treatment that – quirky front end aside – wouldn't look out of place on a concept truck from Jeep, Toyota or Land Rover.
Power comes from a hybrid powertrain that pairs a 1.6-liter engine of unspecified parameters with electric motors mounted on the front and rear wheels. It's also got an adaptive air suspension, a utility compartment disguised as an auxiliary fuel tank and a canvas roof panel to let in the sunshine.
If put into production, it would join the smaller Tivoli in a lineup that will hopefully be reinvigorated with some larger models as well in the near future – and just might, if its Indian parent company gets its way, make it to the North American market sometime soon as well.
▪ Born out of the integration of tradition and the latest trends, the XAV is an "authentic" SUV
▪ Exhibition booth based on the theme "Ssangyong Holic" communicates the superior value offered by Ssangyong Motor
▪ Twenty cars, including a self-driving car and mass-produced models, will be on display according to their characteristics, showing visitors how Ssangyong cars are suited for diverse lifestyles
▪ Various entertaining events, including a K-Pop concert, the Rock Holic festival, and photo event, will be hosted at the Show
Ssangyong Motor (CEO Choi Johng-sik; www.smotor.com), part of the Mahindra Group, today showcased the XAV, a new concept SUV that embodies Ssangyong's new direction for the development of its future products at the Seoul Motor Show.
The XAV was shown on Press Day at the company's 2,200-square-meter exhibition booth, decorated on the theme "Ssangyong Holic", along with 19 other cars, including a self-driving car that is currently in development and various mass-produced models.
Ssangyong Motor's booth emphasized the XAV's unique shoulder wing grille design to represent the core elements of Ssangyong Motor's family look and also used the image of a diamond to symbolize the superior technological prowess of Ssangyong Motor, thereby expressing Ssangyong's desire to offer customers products of the highest value through continuous technological development and innovation.
CEO Choi Johng-sik said, "The XAV, a small, off-road concept SUV, embodies the direction of our new product development-the combination of a traditional SUV with the latest trends. We hope that this shows our firm commitment to becoming a global SUV maker as well as the unlimited potential of Ssangyong Motor."
The XAV (eXciting Authentic SUV) is a concept SUV that embodies what SUVs were truly meant to be, transcending age and generations and inspiring the spirit of youth. We expect that this SUV model will reestablish the brand identity of Ssangyong Motor.
As a new interpretation of the SUV based on a small SUV platform, the XAV pays homage to the Korando and the frontier spirit of youth.
With an exterior designed to emphasize the unique proportions of the SUV, with sophisticated straight lines, the XAV portrays the image of an "authentic" SUV. Also, its box-like shape provides enough interior storage for a variety of outdoor activities, and the canvas roof maximizes the XAV's openness.
The front end emphasizes masculinity and rhythm through the connection of Ssangyong's unique shoulder wing design with the lamps, and is based on a retro design that reinterprets the image of the early Korando models.
The rear end of the XAV exudes the strength of a true SUV, while the exposed spare tire and auxiliary fuel tank have been transformed into a storage space for emergency tools and equipment for outdoor activities. Also, the over-sized bumper symbolizes the power of an "authentic" SUV, overcoming whatever the wild throws in its path.
The XAV's interior has been designed to meet the specific needs of passengers. As such, the simple but wider display, increased storage spaces, and sporty bucket seats offer excellent convenience and create a comfortable atmosphere.
With a 1.6-liter engine and e-4WD system, comprising a lithium-ion battery and electric motors mounted on the front and rear wheels, the XAV achieves both power and efficiency.
The vehicles' Smart Motion Control system, consisting of Electronic Air Suspension and Stereo Vision, enhances driving comfort on rough roads, while the adoption of run-flat tires has significantly improved safety.
In addition, the self-driving cars currently in development and various mass-produced models, such as the Chairman W, Korando Series, Rexton, and Tivoli, are displayed in separate sections according to the particular characteristics of each vehicle, such as camping, water sports, or off-road driving, to help visitors see how these vehicles accommodate diverse lifestyles.
During the motor show, the company will hold photo and quiz events and hand out Tivoli paper toys and calligraphy-based gifts in an effort to entertain visiting families.
Pulling out all the stops to entertain visitors at the motor show, Ssangyong Motor will also hold K-pop concerts by the famous singers EXID and Raina and the Rock Holic Festival, featuring talented indie bands such as Used Cassettes and Oopsnice.