SsangYong Tivoli… young at Heart

Staines Informer - - NEWS -

THE SsangYong Tivoli takes the fight to com­pact crossovers like the Nis­san Juke and the Re­nault Cap­tur with bud­get pric­ing, a gutsy 125PS en­gine and build qual­ity the like of which you wouldn’t credit at this price point, writes Andy En­right.

As long as SsangYong can pro­mote this car ef­fec­tively, it could be its break-through ve­hi­cle. The Kore­ans cer­tainly haven’t done things by halves here. This is no cut­down Korando chas­sis with a bunch of an­cient carry-over en­gines. The Tivoli has had some se­ri­ous in­vest­ment thrown at it, and it shows.

The chas­sis is all-new, al­beit hardly ad­ven­tur­ous in its sus­pen­sion de­sign, with MacPher­son struts up front and a space-ef­fi­cient tor­sion beam rear end. There’s a choice of two 1.6-litre en­gines, a 128PS petrol unit and a 115PS diesel. Buy­ers can se­lect 2WD or 4WD model vari­ants and prices start from around £13,000.

The 1.6 petrol unit will get to 62mph in a rel­a­tively re­laxed 12 sec­onds and is of­fered as stan­dard with a sixspeed man­ual gear­box. Pay a lit­tle more and you can pair this en­gine with a six-speed au­to­matic – the same unit as seen in the lat­est MINI, al­beit with a bit less sporti­ness built into the shift logic. Longer term plans could well see three and four-cylin­der tur­bocharged pow­er­plants find their way into the Tivoli.

Other items of note? SsangYong’s in­tro­duc­ing a se­lectable weight steer­ing sys­tem with Com­fort, Nor­mal and Sport set­tings and some sur­pris­ingly big wheels. Go for the smaller al­loys if you value ride qual­ity.

The Tivoli is one of those cars that the longer you look at it, the more de­sign in­flu­ences you can see.

There’s some­thing of the Kia Soul in its over­all pro­por­tion­ing, with a Nis­san Juke­like rear haunch, a front end that’s mod­ern Re­nault in a good way, some Citroen DS3 about the rear three quar­ter and an in­te­rior that’s glitzy in an up­per-model Vaux­hall way.

There’s noth­ing about this car that says SsangYong and, to many, that will be a good thing. Per­haps the Kore­ans need to work a bit at de­vel­op­ing its own fam­ily look. It’s not there yet, but the Tivoli is by no stretch of the imag­i­na­tion a bad look­ing car.

Nor in­deed is it a cheap look­ing one. The de­tail­ing such as the float­ing ef­fect roof, the satin roof rails and the ma­te­ri­als qual­ity of the in­te­rior are at least as good as, if not bet­ter than, many of its main­stream ri­vals.

The cabin cer­tainly feels as if it’s been the re­cip­i­ent of bet­ter qual­ity dash pan­els and seats than, say, a Nis­san Juke. The boot mea­sures 423 litres to the par­cel shelf, which is per­fectly ad­e­quate in this class.

Re­mem­ber, this first model is just a toe in the wa­ter. The petrol en­gine might not be the most im­pres­sive pow­er­plant you’ve sam­pled but from here we get diesels, all- wheel drive mod­els and a new wave of tur­bocharged vari­ants, so even if you’re not in the mar­ket for a bud­get cross­over just at present, keep your eye on this one be­cause it’s only go­ing to get bet­ter.

The big play­ers in this sec­tor might not be wor­ried yet, but SsangYong here de­liv­ers some wholly con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ments as to why that won’t al­ways be so.

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