Ssangyong isn't particularly high on the list of desirable car brands, but that doesn't mean the South Korean minnow isn't trying. Having purged its lineup of the hideous Rodius, the brand has its sights set on a more attractive future led by SUVs. Having testing the waters with the XLV Concept, the design team has pushed the game on further with the XAVL.
The XAVL, or eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long, is designed to look (and feel) like a rough, tough soft-roader able to handle the rigors of family life. With a longer, wider cabin than the last XVL concept, Ssangyong has freed up space for seven individual seats, and the boot can be turned into a van-style space with a flat floor if the driver needs the room.
There's more to the latest Ssangyong concept than boring, practical folding seats, though. A new infotainment system sits atop the leather-trimmed dashboard, while the trim materials have been chosen for a more upmarket feel. It looks good to our eyes, although there's no hiding the fact most of the "upmarket" design cues have been stolen from somewhere else.
That dash-top screen could have been lifted directly from any modern BMW, and the rotary gear selector is a carbon-copy of the one you'll find in a Range Rover. The layout of the digital speedo and rev-counter is suspiciously similar to the layout of the instruments on a Tesla Model S, too. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?
Although it's just a concept, the engines Ssangyong has earmarked for the XAVL suggest it might be closer to production than we first thought. Petrol power comes from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, while a 1.6-liter diesel is also an option. Both engines can be coupled with a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox, and both are hooked up to a permanent two-wheel drive system. That's right, no off-road shenanigans here.
As you'd expect of a modern family car, a full range of active and passive safety features is on offer in the XAVL Concept. Along with convenience features like auto-dipping high beam, it comes with auto-emergency braking, lane-change assist, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot warnings. The car also comes with an external airbag, designed to protect pedestrians in a collision.
The XAVL is on show in Geneva, with no word on whether or not it will eventually be produced.
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