SsangYong‘s products are pretty decent these days while remaining well priced, but unfortunately, that’s not enough. Sales have been falling, and last December, the South Korean company filed for bankruptcy. What it needs is some added spice, and thankfully, it looks like that might just be on the way.
What you see here is codenamed ‘X200’, a “next-generation SUV” previewed in a pair of design sketches. They depict a boxy, retro-looking brute that’s a little like a bigger, more muscular Suzuki Jimny. There are shades of the Jeep Wrangler and the Ford Bronco, too.
The real deal will be toned down massively, of course, but the exaggerated drawings certainly seem promising. The design philosophy behind it is something SsangYong calls “Powered by Toughness,” along with “four formative concepts”. These are ‘Robust Architecture’, ‘Unexpected Delight’, ‘Vibrant Contrast’, and ‘Communion with Nature’. Whatever any of that means.
Both the X200 and the recently revealed J100 mid-size EV (below) will also, SsangYong says, “inherit the heritage of the original Korando and Musso”. What’s particularly interesting about this is the first Korando wasn’t a SsangYong design - it was a licensed copy of the Jeep CJ-7. That car was replaced by an all-new and rather quirky-looking Korando in 1996. The Korando Family, meanwhile, was a badge-engineered Isuzu Trooper.
But who cares about the tenuous claims of ‘heritage’ - if SsangYong can make something that looks anything like as good as the X200, we can see it selling stacks of the things.
Lee Kang, head of the SsangYong Design Centre, had this to say about the two vehicles:
“We have re-interpreted our future design vision and product philosophy by drawing heavily on our unique heritage. With the forthcoming J100 and X200 models, we have drawn a line in the sand in terms of design, and everything from this point forward will follow this new brand design direction. It is a very exciting time for SsangYong and will build on the history and heritage of its unique and distinctively authentic SUV designs to impress its customers of the future.”