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Living with a SsangYong Tivoli: Can SUV Match Success of Budget…

Can SUV Match Success of Budget Supermarkets?

Value brands no longer have the stigma attached to them they once did. You just need to look at major supermarkets to see how the rise of budget chains has developed over the years.

It’s claimed that almost half of UK households now shop at either Aldi or Lidl, both of which were bit-part players only a few years back. But a shift in public perception now means they’re knocking on the door of the retail giants.

The same can be said of SsangYong. The Korean brand was a bit of an unknown a few years ago, feeding on the scraps of the SUV market with the boxy Turismo and back-to-basics Rexton. Yet, with the all-new Tivoli, SsangYong has introduced a car into the market which has genuine showroom appeal, and buyers have no choice but to stand up and take notice of the little known newbie, simply because of the value on offer.

Our top-spec 1.6D ELX model comes with all the bells and whistles, including a reversing camera, seven-inch touchscreen with navigation, dual-zone climate control and a full leather interior. You also get heated seats, Bluetooth audio and 18-inch alloys. Yes, these are all features you can find on the spec sheets of major rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, but the Tivoli offers this all at a price they simply cannot match.

While low price is one thing, what really impresses about the value supermarkets is their ability to deliver high-quality produce for very little cash. Happily, that appears to be a policy that the Tivoli subscribes to. For instance, on a recent slog from London to Newcastle I was massively impressed at the SsangYong’s ability as a long-distance cruiser, where it proved comfortable and reasonably refined. After 300 miles in the Tivoli, I emerged ache-free, with the standard cruise control, decent seats and punchy diesel all taking the strain out of the five-hour journey.

And I’m not the only one who’s impressed, as the Tivoli’s blend of decent fuel economy and a surprisingly roomy interior has made it a popular choice with members of staff looking to cover plenty of miles cheaply.



Admittedly, the car isn’t perfect. The various plastics you’ll find dotted around the cabin look a little cheap compared to the mainstream competition and the bold styling still divides opinion. And while the Tivoli is always safe and surefooted, it’s not a car that you’ll drive just for fun, but then neither are its rivals.

Ultimately, though, as with the budget brand supermarkets, the Tivoli demonstrates that paying less doesn’t mean that you have to settle for less.


SsangYong Tivoli 1.6D ELX 2WD

On fleet since: November 2015

Price new: £17,250

Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 113bhp

CO₂/tax: 113g/km/£30

Options: Style pack (£400)

Insurance*: Group: 19   Quote: £318

Mileage/mpg: 5740/52.3mpg

Any problems? None so far

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

We Like

The cabin is packed with plenty of useful storage, including a large glovebox. Plus, there’s a generous amount of space in the back for passengers.

We Don’t 

Sat-nav is easy to use. However, some of the materials and switches have a low-rent look and feel.


Boot (seats up/down) - 423/1,115 litres

Running Costs

52.3mpg (on test) - £49 fill-up

Need to Know

You can also get the Tivoli with four-wheel drive, which is rare for a compact SUV.



Auto Express Verdict: If you can get past then badge snobbery, there’s no reason to discount the Tivoli if you’re in the market for a crossover. It’s spacious enough for five, built to last and comes bursting with kit. This will surely be the car that changes the public’s perception of the brand.

Second opinion: ‘‘The styling is a bit awkward in places and the interior trim is a little low-rent, but underneath is a car that drives as well as most in the class and feels robust.’’ Dean Gibson, Deputy Road Test Editor

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For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli click here

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