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Road Test: SsangYong Tivoli XLV 1.6 ELX Diesel 2WD auto

  • Regular Tivoli crossover stretched into "SUV-estate"
  • 576-litre boot and lots of standard equipment
  • We test £19,250 front-wheel drive automatic

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SsangYong made quite a splash with the Tivoli crossover when it was launched in 2015. It moved the budget Korean brand away from slightly agricultural off-roaders and into the highly competitive mainstream crossover market, where it impressed with great value for money, plenty of space, lots of equipment and distinctive looks.

Now SsangYong is after buyers looking for even more room with the Tivoli XLV, a stretched version of the regular Tivoli that’s being marketed as an "SUV-estate" – another niche you may not have heard of before.

Such is the success of the regular Tivoli in top-spec ELX trim, the XLV is only available in this trim. Even so, SsangYong predicts the sales split between the Tivoli and Tivoli XLV will be 80:20 in favour of the standard car.

Diesel only but with choice of two- and four-wheel drive

While the Tivoli is offered with petrol and diesel engines, the Tivoli XLV is only available with a 1.6-litre diesel. However, you can choose between front- or four-wheel drive, both of which can be paired with a manual or automatic gearbox. It’s the front-wheel drive auto we’ve driven here, which SsangYong believes may be the best-seller (though it's a little early to tell at this stage).

The diesel is a strong engine, producing 115hp and 300Nm of torque. It’s got plenty of punch both around town and at higher speeds, although it does become quite vocal under hard acceleration.

Road Test: SsangYong Tivoli XLV 1.6 ELX Diesel 2WD auto

Keep the revs low, and it remains a refined car, largely thanks to the smooth shifting action of the six-speed automatic gearbox. But mash your foot to the floor and it becomes quite rattly and coarse, made all the more noticeable by the way the gearbox holds onto ratios when driven in this manner. This aside, it’s a composed and responsive performer.

Running costs are reasonable, if not class-leading. The auto gearbox means this version of the XLV emits 154g/km of CO2, currently resulting in annual road tax of £185 (the manual version emits 117g/km, reducing the tax cost to just £30), while SsangYong claims it’ll return 47.9mpg. We managed high 30s on our test, but the further we drove, the more the fuel economy improved, so above 40mpg should be potentially achievable during a lengthy motorway cruise.

Same generous kit list

The XLV is only available in ELX trim, which is the top-spec model in the regular Tivoli range. This means you get a lot of bang for your buck, with standard equipment including:

•             18-inch alloy wheels

•             Privacy glass

•             7-inch infotainment system with TomTom sat-nav

•             Dual-zone climate control

•             Cruise control

•             Heated leather seats

•             Front and rear parking sensors

•             Reversing camera

•             Keyless entry and start

•             Automatic lights and wipers

•             LED daytime-running lights

•             Tyre-pressure monitoring system

 

Furthermore, you can customise the XLV with different colours for the roof, wheels and mirrors, as well as various colour choices for the leather trim. You can even have parts of the dashboard finishied in red, if you feel so inclined.

Comfortable, spacious and pleasant drive

This is the area in which the XLV plays its trump card – it makes a great family car. While the extra length overall doesn’t convert to more space for rear passengers – the Tivoli was already very roomy back there – it does mean the boot sees a sizeable increase.

The Tivoli XLV boasts maximum boot capacity of 720 litres, but that’s measured to the roof. The figure you’ll be more interested in is the 576 litres it accommodates up to the load cover. That’s a whopping 153 litres more than the regular Tivoli, around 100 litres more than the Renault Kadjar and 60 litres more than the Hyundai Tucson. The level of the boot floor can be adjusted, too.

The XLV has gained a bit of weight thanks to the extra bulk at the rear, but it still carries itself well. There’s some body roll in corners but it remains composed, while the steering is light and makes manoeuvring very easy. Push too hard into a corner and it’ll understeer, but we doubt many XLV drivers will find this an issue in day-to-day driving.

It rides well too – the suspension soaks up even the harshest bumps in the road, so passengers can sit back and relax in the comfy leather seats.

Verdict

Comfortable, spacious, packed with equipment and with an appearance that's distinctive from everything else on the road, the Tivoli XLV is an interesting alternative to the hordes of other crossovers and traditional estate cars already on sale. And if you’re not convinced by the looks, the price tag should certainly appeal - although anyone on a tight budget would do better still by going for the more frugal manual gearbox version and saving a further £1,000.

Click here to download a brochure of one of our current models.


 

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