Is techy Tivoli the ul­ti­mate fam­ily SUV?

Gloucestershire Echo - - TEST DRIVE - By MIKE TORPEY

YOU should ex­pect plenty of sound from the bells and whis­tles when a car is proudly la­belled the Ul­ti­mate ver­sion. In many cases these all-singing, all-danc­ing mod­els come with a lofty price tag at­tached – top qual­ity and ex­ten­sive kit gen­er­ally tends to come at a price.

That’s not the case, though, with com­pact SUV the Tivoli from Korean brand Ssangy­ong.

Tivoli takes its name from the Ital­ian town near Rome with a rep­u­ta­tion for style and was the model which her­alded a fresh start for Ssangy­ong when it hit UK streets four years ago.

Four trim grades of SE, EX, ELX and Ul­ti­mate are up for grabs and all of­fer a 1.6-litre petrol en­gine, though only the up­scale ELX is avail­able with diesel power. There’s also the choice of two or four­wheel drive.

Based on the flag­ship ELX, the Ul­ti­mate comes with state-of-the-art safety kit like for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing and au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, lane keep­ing as­sist, traf­fic sign recog­ni­tion and high beam as­sis­tance. And that’s not all, as the

likes of leather up­hol­stery, key­less start­ing, park­ing sen­sors, re­vers­ing cam­era, elec­tric win­dows, smart steer­ing, a seven-inch touch screen with RDS ra­dio and Blue­tooth, cruise con­trol, sat-nav, di­a­mond cut al­loys and dual-zone air-con are all part of the pack­age. You also get an elec­tri­cally op­er­ated and ven­ti­lated driver’s seat and heated steer­ing wheel, along with LED fog lamps. It all looks pretty good value kitted out to the hilt for just over £19k, but not quite so im­pres­sive if the car doesn’t per­form well.

No wor­ries on that score as the Tivoli starts off on the right foot and just keeps get­ting bet­ter the more you drive it. Be­neath the bon­net is a 1.6-litre Euro 6 petrol en­gine, fit­ted with either a six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion or for an ex­tra £800 a sixspeed au­to­matic gear­box with man­ual shifts plus modes for eco, power and win­ter. It won’t break any records for ac­cel­er­a­tion or top speed but the 128ps pow­er­plant is rea­son­ably fru­gal, our own av­er­age fuel re­turn of 37 miles per gal­lon edg­ing pretty close to the of­fi­cial fig­ure of 39.2mpg. The Tivoli is very ca­pa­ble too – nim­ble through the sub­urbs, well bal­anced round coun­try lanes and sta­ble on the mo­tor­way.

It is also well made and com­fort­that able. OK, there may be a few cheap plas­tics in the cabin but the over­all am­bi­ence is ap­peal­ing, with the feel that you have got some se­ri­ous value for money.

And if you’re look­ing for some sun­shine on a dull af­ter­noon, or just some added in­spi­ra­tion, well there’s a smart in­stru­ment clus­ter that will change its colour depend­ing on your mood.

There’s no scrimp­ing on space with plenty of room up front and suf­fi­cient shoul­der and leg room for three rear pas­sen­gers.

In fact only the en­try grade SE trim comes with­out leather up­hol­stery, some­thing the Tivoli’s ri­vals can’t match and giv­ing the car an in­te­rior more of­ten found in ve­hi­cles cost­ing dou­ble the price.

Load space, fairly stan­dard at 423 litres, is flex­i­ble in that it can be adapted to suit re­quire­ments and the cargo bay also comes with a lug­gage cover plus re­mov­able board hides a dis­creet stor­age space be­low.

Add Ssangy­ong’s five-year lim­it­less mileage war­ranty plus the abil­ity to spec­ify a con­trast­ing body colour and roof via the My Tivoli pro­gramme and you have a com­pact SUV that’s not only stylish but ex­cel­lent value for money.

Prices are from £13,995 for a 1.6litre petrol SE model with fron­twheel drive and six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion.

The Tivoli takes its name from the Ital­ian town near Rome with a rep­u­ta­tion for style

The Tivoli from Korean brand Ssangy­ong

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