Ssangyong is unknown to most Americans as a vehicle brand; yet at least a couple of this Korean automaker's new compact crossover models—the Tivoli, and a second upcoming model previewed in a Geneva Motor Show concept teased this week—could potentially land right in the sweet spot for U.S. market growth.
While the Tivoli is sized closely with the Kia Soul, Honda HR-V and Chevrolet Trax, among others, the automaker is working on a larger five-seat crossover that would fit right in alongside the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4—one that would promise some impressive fuel efficiency, potentially.
The SIV-2 (Smart Interface Vehicle) concept—the name thus far for the larger model—has been shown with a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, as part of a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup (with a 10-kW motor and 500-Wh lithium-ion battery pack—that would allow some limited low-speed all-electric operation.
The concept is also built with lightweight bodywork and a low center of gravity.
Ssangyong plans to offer the upcoming model in plug-in hybrid and pure EV versions as well as that mild-hybrid configuration.
As for whether any of these models will be headed to the U.S., time will tell. A production version of the SIV-2 is still about two years away, and the Tivoli was reportedly designed with U.S. regulations in mind. So it could indeed be the right time for this company to make a go at it.