It has been a long time since a road test car caused such a stir in the office.
When three people approach you in the space of half an hour and ask: “Is that your car in the car park?” you know something special is going on.
You could understand if it was a Bentley, Porsche or Rolls Royce, but for a compact, competitively-priced Korean car to cause such a fuss is remarkable.
Just how exceptional came with news that the SsangYong Tivoli had been nominated for World Car of The Year (WCOTY) 2016- the first time that Korea’s oldest carmarker had been nominated for the award.
So what’s all the fuss about? The Tivoli is a chunky sports utility vehicle, big on equipment, safety and warranty, with a compact body, low fuel consumption and temptingly low price tag. Whilst the exterior is a revelation for SsangYong which has massively upped its game in providing a fit and finish to rival not only its Korean competitors, but give it a fighting chance against any vehicle in the SUV sector.
IT’S A LITTLE WONDER THIS CHUNKY STAR’S IN THE RUNNING FOR WORLD CAR OF YEAR
Friday 23rd October 2015
Fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, the 1.6-litre diesel, that meets Euro 6 emission targets, is slick, smooth and surprisingly quiet. Around town, the Tivoli is light and easy to manage and the weight of the power steering can be switched between three settings at the touch of a button.
At speed, the car sits settled, quietly munching miles without fuss. More powerful and economical than the 1.6-litre petrol-powered model, the 115 horsepower diesel also has a 1.5-tonne towing capacity.
The test model in SE trim was finished in a business-like grey cloth trim, with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, the aforementioned ‘smart’ steering (normal, comfort and sport modes), an RDS/Bluetooth radio and seven airbags.
If you have even deeper pockets, the car can be personalised with two-tone colour roof combinations and red leather interior. Two –wheel-drive models start from £12,950 with the diesel-powered, entry-level model tested here priced at a little over £14,000. At the time of writing, only two-wheel-drive versions are available, but 4x4 models are on their way shortly.
The Tivoli, made in South Korea by SsangYong, which is 73 per cent owned by the Indian engineering conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra, is certain to be the company’s biggest seller here whether or not it wins the world car title.
Now in its 11th year, the World Car of The Year was established in 2005, and the 2016 winner will be announced in New York in late March next year.
Model: SsangYong Tivoli SE 1.6 Diesel
Insurance group: 19
Fuel consumption (Combined): 65.7mpg
Top speed: 107mph
Luggage capacity: 14.9cu ft
Fuel tank capacity: 10.3 gallons/47 litres
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Warranty: Five years/unlimited mileage
For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli click here