Korean SUV and 4x4 specialist Ssangyong is planning a new small SUV model based on the XAV Concept, according to latest reports.
To be based on the upcoming Tivoli compact SUV and styled after the XAV (which pays homage to the Jeep-like Korando of the mid-1990s), Ssyangyong's upcoming soft-roader is expected to become central to Ssangyong's push to establish a stronger presence around the globe.
Speaking to UK mag Autocar, a Ssangyong spokesperson described the company as "Korea's answer to Jeep and Land Rover", and said it needed to work on building up that image in markets like Europe and the USA.
"A Wrangler-style high-design 4x4 could create the waves we’d need in order to make a mark [in the USA]," they said.
"At the same time, it’d work really well for us in the UK and Europe at a time when building profile is absolutely key."
Unlike the iconic Jeep Wrangler, though, the production version of the XAV won't be a proper go-anywhere 4x4.
To be built off the Tivoli's unibody architecture (Ssangyong's first new platform since Indian auto giant Mahindra bought a controlling stake in the company in 2011) and powered by the same range of 1.6 litre petrol and diesel engines, Ssyangyong's new SUV will be more softroader than offroader.
A 1.1 litre thee-cylinder turbo petrol engine is also rumoured, while a hybrid variant could use a similar powertrain to the XAV's 1.6 litre petrol-electric system.
A range-extender hybrid using the unique single-cylinder generator/electric drive motor arrangement seen in the Tivoli EVR Concept (above) is another possibility.
A timeline has yet to be announced for the new SUV (which may take over the Korando nameplate), however it's expected to make its debut sometime following the launch of the long-wheelbase Tivoli in 2016.