The Geneva-bound XAVL Concept follows a very familiar blueprint for the Korean automaker

You would think that at some point in the past five years, the never-ending deluge of Ssangyong concept SUVs would stop and the Korean automaker would finally show a production version of some kind. It shouldn’t be that hard to do, right? Well, guess again because Ssangyong is headed back to the Geneva Motor Show with yet another concept SUV that it’s touting as “a new vision for the brand’s SUV of the future.” We’ve heard that line before.

In any event, the new concept is called the XAVL and from what CEO Johng-sik Choi tells us, it’s an evolved iteration of the XAV that the company unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2015. You read that right. The XAVL Concept is an evolved version of a previous concept. Color me bewildered because that’s exactly how I’m taking this.

To be fair, the XAVL does have some redeeming qualities. It’s a lot better to look at than the rolling monstrosity that was the XAV. The front section has a more balanced look to it, although those massive skid guards are still a sight for sore eyes. There’s a natural masculinity to it too that seemed too forced on its predecessor. The same is true with the rear section. It’s got nicer lines and a more streamlined taillight design, much better than the confused mess on the XAV.

If Ssangyong’s objective for the XAVL is to re-do the XAV and mask it under the premise of automotive design evolution, then consider the job well done. But at some point, these concepts have to stop, at least if the company wants to be taken seriously. We need a mind-blowing production SUV that you can be proud to call your own.

Otherwise, the jokes will keep on coming, as they have been for quite some time now.

Come on, Ssangyong. I’d like to think that you’re better than this.

Continue reading for the full story.

The time is now, Ssangyong

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Let’s run it back to 2012 and check out all the concept SUVs that Ssayong has done. There’s the XIV-1, the XIV-2, the E-XIV, the SIV-1, the LIV-1, the XAV, the LIV-2, and now, the XAVL. That’s eight different concepts not counting the ones that Ssangyong debuts in its local market. The only problem is that for as many concepts as the company has, it still has only four production SUVs – the Tivoli, Actyon, Koran, and Rexton – and very little from the concepts end up in any of the four models.

There’s something that does not align with that picture, even with the full understanding that not all concepts evolve into production models. At some point, Ssangyong has to show something for all of these concepts it’s developing, be it a next-generation version of its existing SUVs or a new model altogether. Until then, all these concept SUVs will largely generate similarly indifferent reactions, and Ssangyong knows that for as long as it has been in the auto industry, there’s nothing worse than getting an indifferent shoulder shrug from people in the industry or worse, from customers.

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The only problem is that for as many concepts as the company has, it still has only four production SUVs.

It’s frustrating if you think about it. As many misses as Ssangyong has had over the years, it’s released some pretty interesting concepts too, including the LIV-2, which I personally liked. Maybe the XAVL is that concept that spurs Ssangyong to start taking the next big step in the evolution of its SUV lineup. That’s certainly a possibility, but if we’re taking into account history, it’s probably a safer bet to hold off on being hopeful and instead adopt a “to see is to believe” approach.

Ssangyong has continually teased us on the promise of “the future of the brand” to the point that it’s becoming harder and harder to believe it that such a time is even happening.

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Who knows, maybe it still happens; but until it does, well, cue the shoulder shrugs.

Press Release

SsangYong Motor Company, (CEO, Johng-sik Choi; www.smotor.com/en) has today presented a new vision for the brand’s SUV of the future at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland - concept XAVL.

“As the oldest car brand and only specialist producer of SUV and 4x4 vehicles in Korea, it is incumbent upon us to lead the way in new product development in this sector. I am delighted to unveil this concept which signposts the future generation of SsangYong cars.

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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“XAVL is a further iteration of the XAV concept we presented at the Frankfurt motor show in 2015. This longer bodied car will accommodate seven passengers in comfort, and will be powered by both petrol and new clean-burning diesel engines.

“Of particular note, this concept draws heavily on our heritage, and unashamedly takes its design inspiration from our classic and iconic Korando model of the 1990s,” said Mr. Choi.

The SsangYong XAVL concept - eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long - is based on the product development philosophy of Robust, Specialty and Premium. XAVL presents a tough, masculine looking and authentic SUV concept that blends advanced convenience and practicality with a user-friendly interface, and indicates yet another strategic model to drive future growth for the brand.

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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With seven independent seats and providing wide inner space, XAVL takes on a differentiated role for a mid-size SUV, by combining off-road capability with the versatility and practicality of a multi-purpose MPV. The three rows of seats are in a two-three-two layout. The five seats comprising the second and third rows all fold and slide to maximise comfort and the use of space, while also affording the passenger/load carrying flexibility expected of both an SUV and MPV.

In contrast to the tough, masculine exterior, a comfortable and sensitive ambiance is created for the interior, enhanced by a wide and contemporary space with sophisticated, subtle illumination. In addition, the smart user interface enables free communication between passengers, the car and home.

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The XAVL concept is a mid-size SUV, and takes its inspiration from the second generation classic Korando of the 1990s. This contemporary interpretation of the original car is expected to find its way into production as an authentic off-road SUV in the near future.

XAVL offers the choice of a Euro 6d-Temp compliant 1.5 litre petrol or 1.6 litre diesel engine, and matched with the option of a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and with a 2WD system.

The 1.6 litre diesel engine achieves CO2 emissions of 120 150g/km (2WD, MT/AT, with stop/start), while the 1.5 litre petrol engine gives CO2 emissions of 150 170g/km (2WD, MT/AT, with stop/start).

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Safety is of prime concern to SsangYong, and the XAVL features an external airbag to provide increased protection to pedestrians, while passenger safety is further achieved through a central airbag between the driver and front seat passenger, as well as a driver’s knee airbag to enhance driver safety.

For drivers’ convenience and safety, XAVL is equipped with a suite of new electronic safety aids, including Advanced Emergency Braking System, Lane Change Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assistance, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

SsangYong's Never-Ending Run Of Concept SUVs Needs To Stop Interior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The car is also equipped with a Smart Parking Assist System, a 10.25 inch full colour LCD display, and a wi-fi hotspot for the second and third row of seats. In addition, the car’s navigation, heating, ventilation & air conditioning, and the infotainment system located in the head lining, can all be controlled from a smart phone, while Link to Home IOT (Internet of Things) technology allows occupants to connect with their home and manage CCTV, security, domestic equipment and temperature control.

XAVL is 4,630mm long, 1,866mm wide, 1,640mm high, and has a 2,775mm wheelbase.

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