SsangYong XAVL at the 2017 Geneva motor show

Published: 07 March 2017

► Seven-seater crossover concept
► Another future SUV with an MPV twist
► ‘eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long’

Forget the cringe-worthy acronym of the new SsangYong XAVL - it stands for the eXcrutiating 'eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long SUV' - and you'll see further proof the Koreans are going places.

This new seven-seater crossover concept has been shown at the 2017 Geneva motor show and these first official pictures show what it’ll look like when it arrives in a few years’ time.

SsangYong: doing a Kia

This new family-oriented SUV is said to take influence from the Korando of the 1990s but has been given a twist to appeal to the 21st-century buyer – it’s clear it’s from the same family as the familiar Tivoli crossover and its Land Rover-esque C-pillar.

SsangYong says it’ll offer the ‘tough and masculine-looking SUV concept that blends advanced convenience and the practicality of a multi-purpose MPV.’

In essence, then, SsangYong is joining the bandwagon for providing an SUV for family buyers who don’t want a fuddy-duddy MPV – just look at how many other seven-seat SUVs there are (LR Disco Sport, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and the Skodiaq, to name a few).

Just how big is it?

  • Length: 4630mm
  • Width: 1866mm
  • Height: 1640mm
  • Wheelbase: 2775mm

Three rows of seats have been squeezed in with enough room to move about, with individually-sliding seats for maximum practicality.

Safety takes a front seat

SsangYong has ensured the XAVL is as safe as possible – despite just being a concept to gauge reaction for now. AN external airbag for pedestrians is present, as is a central airbag between the two front seat occupants, while various pieces of driver assistance tech are present and correct.

Detailed engine specs

Despite SsangYong aiming to find out how the public reacts to this car and whether or not to build it, detailed engine specs have been revealed along with the car.

Under the bonnet is a choice of 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol or 1.6-litre diesel engines- both two-wheel drive with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions. The interesting thing to note here is the lack of four-wheel drive availability – something that does feature across its current range.

We spoke to SsangYong President and CEO Johng-Sik Choi, and he tells us four-wheel drive will be available on a five-seat version later on. At launch it’ll be two-wheel drive in seven-seat form.

What’s it like inside?

Very nice by the looks of it. There’s more than a whiff of BMW about the dashboard design, which is a real step up over some of its current cars, which have been around for a long while now.

It’s thoroughly modern with a 10.25-inch infotainment display with wi-fi hotspot for the passengers, with everything from the sat-nav to heating controlled via a smartphone because it’s all located in the headlining…

You can also connect to your home and control your heating, security and other domestic equipment. How very modern.

By Tom Goodlad

Bauer Automotive's continuity editor and CAR contributor