South Korean automaker planning Jeep competitor for America

The SsangYong XAV debuted at the Seoul Motor Show on April 3, 2015.

South Korean automaker SsangYong is planning on targeting 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 Its design is inspired by a rugged mini SUV that SsangYong debuted in 1996 called the Korando, which has been replaced by a more car-like crossover in recent years.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.