SsangYong Tivoli by Bill McCarthy
Think Tivoli and you might think of a town in Italy or even the famous Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.
But maybe not SsangYong? SsangYong is the oldest vehicle manufacturer in Korea, dating back to 1954 and despite being overshadowed by Hyundai and Kia is the country’s only 4×4 and SUV specialist producer.
The Tivoli is a a compact SUV/crossover, which should be no surprise, given the huge popularity of the type.
Older SsangYong models I have driven like the Rexton and Korando have been notable for their, how can I put this, quirky design.
The Tivoli has led the way with new design, which has brought the range right up to day.
It is as mainstream as you can get, with sharp styling, economical engines and an industry matching seven year warranty.
But with a starting price of around £15k it is no longer rock bottom, bargain basement price.
That’s Dacia Duster territory.
Yet even the base model is packed with standard equipment and is one of the most spacious in its class.
This limited edition offers a sporty look, with three striking colours, orange in this case ,with contrasting black roof and chrome door handles, piano black grille, front fog light and projector headlines together with front and rear LED daytime running lights. In addition there are heated, power folding mirrors with integrated indicators smart black diamond cut 18-inch alloys and a rear spoiler, plus tinted glass.
The interior is smart, spacious and slightly funky looking with a neat control layout, comfortable, leather look seats and plenty of space for four and even five with a bit of a squeeze.
The cabin is roomy, airy and well appointed while head and legroom is surprisingly good. For extra comfort for passengers, the rear seats recline.
It is packed with kit and the centrepiece of the interior features seven-inch touchscreen, with DAB radio and iPod & Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
Navigation and infotainment is also controlled from here.
Other goodies on this model include cruise control, smart steering, reversing camera, heated front seats and multi-function D-shape steering wheel.
Available in petrol and diesel in this case, this model also added automatic transmission to give a health price tag of £20,245.
The latest 1.6 litre diesel delivers decent enough performance while the six-speed auto gearbox is slick enough, although it is less economical than the manual, although mid-40s mpg is still achievable.
Acceleration, if that’s what you’re looking for, is modest, hitting 60mph in around 12 seconds and there is evidence of clatter on start up but is all but absent on the motorway.
But handling is decent enough, actually quite sharp, although the ride can easily become unsettled on poorer roads. Manoeuvrability is good and with three steering settings, which is excellent, particularly around town and into tight parking spaces.
Crossovers, particularly the smaller ones need to be practical and the Tivoli scores well here.
In addition to excellent passenger space, the boot offers a more than competitive 423-litre boot that will accommodate most loads for a normal family. In addition the split folding rear seats open up a much wider cargo capacity of 997 litres. There are also other pockets and cubby holes throughout the cabin.
For safety there are seven airbags, assisted braking, stability programme, forward collision warning and rollover protection.
No longer bargain basement, the Tivoli, with its range of standard kit and seven year warranty,offers something different in a packed compact crossover field.
SsangYong Tivoli LE auto
Mechanical: 115bhp, 1,597cc, 4cyl turbo diesel engine driving front wheels via six-speed auto gearbox
Max speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 12 seconds
Combined mpg: 46.3mpg
Insurance group: 15
CO2 emissions: 161g/km
Warranty: 7 years/unlimited