SsangYong is launching a value for money five-door sports car from under £13,000
Never mind John Prescott's 'Two Jags'. Thrifty motorists whose budgets won't stretch to the favourite luxury car of the Labour peer might consider 'two dragons' instead. For Korea's SsangYong is launching a new sports utility vehicle from under £13,000 that promises value for money motoring for drivers who believe in watching their pennies. But SsangYong (Korean for 'two dragons') has given its new sporty five-door family runaround a very European name - Tivoli - after the stylish Italian town near Rome, home to the Villa d'Este, a Unesco world heritage site famed for its Renaissance architecture and garden.
Pitched to take on the pumpedup Nissan Juke, the Tivoli SUV is powered by 1.6 litre Euro 6 petrol and diesel engines with six speed manual and automatic transmissions. It arrives in the UK this summer in three trim levels - SE, EX, ELX - with a choice of front-wheel drive or 'intelligent' 4x4 and seven airbags across the range. There's also a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
The entry level SE, from £12,950, is finished in grey cloth trim and includes 16-in alloys, cruise control, a petrol stop/go system, seven airbags and 'smart' steering with normal, comfort and sport modes.
The top-of-the-range ELX, from £16,000 to £19,000, comes fully loaded with a choice of the full range of engines and gearboxes plus diamond cut alloy wheels, smart keyless starting, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, rear spoiler, automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, TomTom navigation system with 7 in touch screen and a rear-view camera.
There is a choice of six exterior colours, and even a 'My Tivoli' personalisation programme which allows customers to create their own distinctive car. This includes the styling pack (£400) which gives a choice of five two-tone roof combinations, plus further engine and drivetrain options. As well as offering lots of interior seating and storage space, it aims to offer driver and passengers easy connectivity to their IT devices.
SsangYong's UK sales and marketing director Steve Gray expects it to double the firm's annual UK sales from 2,000 to 4,000 a year. UK chief executive Paul Williams says: 'This is a car that will really put SsangYong on the map and change perceptions.'
Motorists of a certain age may recall those fondly remembered TV adverts from childhood for rufty-tufty Tonka Toys. These were virtually indestructible metal cars - usually 4x4s or trucks with massive wheels. The TV advert informed viewers: 'They build real tough toys, for real tough boys - Tonka!' Well, Citroen seems to have taken its inspiration from them for its Aircross model. It even has protective alloy bumps front and side made from honeycomb aluminium castings surrounded by hard rubber. Billed as a big brother to the current Citroen C4 Cactus, it was shown in prototype hybrid form at the Shanghai Motor Show in China.
Citroen's global boss, Briton Linda Jackson, says her company has to regain the sort of design flair that created the 2CV: 'If we want stand-out cars, then we have to be bold.' The prototype has a 1.6 litre petrol engine linked to an electric motor combining to create 313bhp. Citroen claims a special boost function will help it accelerate from rest to 62mph in 4.5 seconds. Don't hold your breath. But many do see it as France's answer to Britain's new Land Rover Discovery Sport.
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