Every so often I ask myself a strange question when I’m reviewing a car: “Would Mum like it?”
It isn’t an easy question to answer, I’ve spent my life trying my hardest not to imagine her reaction to things.
When I bought my first motorbike, when I shaved my head, when the funny smelling cigarette was being passed around the park – if I had pictured her face, I probably would have bottled it.
But once in a while I climb inside a car like the SsangYong Tivoli and my mind goes to her.
You see, my mum is the kind of customer who keeps the industry we love so much alive.
She buys cars without passion, she buys with her head, she buys for her needs. People like her are bread and butter to motor companies.
Packed with technology
They are the ones who make the Ford Fiesta the biggest-selling car in Britain, which gives Ford the dosh to develop the new Mustang and better still, the stunning GT. You can probably guess what I’m getting at here.
The Tivoli is not a car which will be bought by those looking for electrifying performance, head-turning looks or to help them pull on a Friday night down Southend Pier. But that doesn’t mean it’s not great. The first thing you need to know about the Tivoli is is costs £13,000.
Yep, just 13 big ones, that’s not a typo. For that you get an SUV which is sure to be giving the team behind the Nissan Juke a few sleepless nights.
It’s a big car with acres of room in the cabin and a hefty boot. Inside, it’s packed with technology.
It rolls around on 16in alloys (18in for a few quid more) and returns nearly 40mpg. All for 13 grand.
That’s not it. Being Korean, it comes with five years’ warranty, although it feels strong and solid, so you probably won’t end up on first-name terms with your mechanic.
Driving the Tivoli is a leisurely experience. By that I mean it feels slow and painful during overtaking but at the same time everything about it works. It’s smooth, the gearbox is solid and the steering response is pin-sharp.
The centrepiece of the console is a beautiful 7in colour screen, which controls the Bluetooth, iPod and a reverse camera.
But it’s absolutely screaming out for a satnav, which can be added in the option packs.
If you want to beef up your Tivoli you can take it all the way to £19K, and you’ll get a 4x4 version with all the bells and whistles.
But something tells me this car will sell best at its lower end.
For what would probably cost you less than £150 a month on finance, you are getting a car at least as good as something which would cost £250 a month.
The trade-off is, you’re driving something with zero street cred. But for many, that doesn’t matter.
Just ask your mum.
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol
0-62mph: 12 seconds
Top speed: 106mph
Length: 4.1 metres
Turning circle: 10 metres
For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here