Skip to main content

SsangYong to show convertible crossover at Geneva

ssangyong xiv-2Does anyone need a convertible SUV? Korean automaker SsangYong apparently thinks so; its XIV-2 (eXciting User Interface Vehicle 2) concept has the tall body of a crossover, but also a folding roof. The concept will be debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show. Company spokespeople said Ssangyong was trying to “blend the characteristics of a robust and powerful SUV with the dynamic style of an open-top sports coupe.”

The XIV-2 is based on the XIV-1 concept SsangYong showed at the Frankfurt show, so it gets a steeply raked windshield and low roof, not unlike the Range Rover Evoque’s, and large alloy wheels. The rear diffuser and centered exhaust outlet give the XIV-2 performance credentials it probably doesn’t deserve. Power comes from 1.6-liter gas or diesel engines.

The top borrows its design from the Fiat 500C. Like the tiny Fiat, the XIV-2’s top slides back between fixed roof rails and folds into a stack on top of the tailgate, blocking rear visibility.

Never heard of SsangYong? It’s a Korean company that primarily builds SUVs and vans. It sells them in its home market and others, including Europe, but not the United States. That is probably a good thing, because SsangYongs are pretty ugly; Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson said the cars looked like they were designed by someone who had lost their glasses.

Sometimes it takes a fringe element to come up with a wacky idea like this, and it might even be a marketable one. Buyers of new convertibles, believe it or not, have very little choice. There are small convertibles (Mini Cooper, Fiat 500C), sporty convertibles (Ford Mustang, Mazda Miata), and luxury convertibles (BMW 3 Series, Audi A5). But if someone wants a normally-priced car that isn’t a sports car, but is a convertible, there are only two choices: the Chrysler 200 and the Volkswagen Eos.

When you factor in people’s tendency to abandon normal cars for the high driving position of SUVs, you can see the potential a convertible crossover would have. That’s probably why Nissan decided to build the Murano Cross Cabriolet, which is about as daft as a car can be.

The XIV-2 is 164.0 inches long, much shorter than the 190.1-inch long Murano. That puts the concept car in the compact crossover class with the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan’s Rogue.

Of course, the odds of a convertible crossover from an obscure carmaker becoming a success in the American market are pretty long; Nissan is having trouble selling Murano Cross Cabriolets, despite its projections. SsangYong does deserve some points for originality. If companies didn’t try some crazy ideas once in awhile, cars would be pretty boring.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Some Tesla fires were reportedly caused by Idalia floods
A Tesla Model Y is seen driving to the left.

As Florida embarks on the difficult work of cleaning up the damage caused by last week’s powerful Hurricane Idalia, local fire crews warned owners of electric cars caught up in floods to immediately move their vehicles away from buildings as a safety measure.

The alert was issued via the Facebook account of firefighters in Palm Harbor, Florida, after reports emerged of electric batteries in two Tesla cars suddenly combusting after exposure to saltwater, CBS News reported, adding that one of the Tesla cars went up in flames as it was being towed by fire crews.

Read more
The Tesla Model Y is far from my favorite EV, but I’m pretty close to buying one
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

I may finally be on my way toward buying my first EV. Sure, I've tested dozens of electric car models over the years, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), I have yet to buy one. But my family is growing, and my wife and I aren't so sure about carting our future kids around in an aging car that lacks the safety features of modern vehicles.

Because of the fact that we're expecting our kid in January, we have a bit of a deadline. So what are we leaning toward? Well, despite the fact that it's far from my favorite EV, we may actually end up just getting a Model Y.
Timing makes a difference
If the baby was coming along in a year's time, things might be completely different. There are a few reasons for that.

Read more
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more