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South Korean automaker SsangYong is planning an assault on the American market with a Jeep Wrangler competitor, Autocar reports. The company specializes in utility-style vehicles, and thinks an affordable off-roader could create just the kind of buzz it needs to make an entrance.
Although not yet officially approved for production, the vehicle will likely be based on a concept unveiled at this year’s Seoul Auto Show called the XAV, which is supposed to stand for eXciting Authentic SUV.
The XAV is powered by a four-cylinder hybrid powertrain driving all four wheels and rides on an adjustable air suspension. Its design is inspired by a rugged mini SUV that SsangYong debuted in 1996 called the Korando, which has been replaced by a more car-like crossover in recent years.
But the Korando’s history goes back even further than that. The original 1983 model was an officially-licensed carbon copy of the Jeep CJ-7, predecessor of today’s Wrangler, with which the XAV is expected to compete.
No word yet on when SsangYong plans to put it on sale, so it’ll likely be a few years before the world finds out if the student is truly ready to take on the master on its home turf.