< Go Back

SsangYong Tivoli 1.6 diesel - Review

YOU might not be able to spell the company name properly (a double dose of S at the start and a capital Y in the middle don't help) but here is a car worth digging deeper into than the badge.

The new Tivoli (at least that part is easy enough, and has glamorous associations with Italy, Paris and Copenhagen) is the latest model from a Korean high value car maker that has decided it's time for a full frontal assault on the European car market.

In fact, SsangYong has been around since 1954 and has been selling inexpensive machines like the Rexton, Korando and Musso here for years, to people who like a lot for their money and don't mind if the car doesn't drive as well its (dearer) European rivals.

A few miles in the new Tivoli will make them sit up in surprise; here is a car that stays cheaper than rivals but looks thoroughly European inside and out and drives perfectly well enough to satisfy anyone short of a Lewis Hamilton wannabe.

Petrol powered Tivolis arrived earlier this year, with prices starting at £12,950 for an SE and stretching to £17,500 for the ELX with automatic transmission.

They all share the same 1.6 litre engine, good for 106mph and an official 44.1mpg average in manual geared form, and a £145 road tax bill because of its 149g/km tailpipe emissions.

Now comes the diesel, adding £1,250 to whichever trim level you choose but upping the average consumption to 65.7mpg and cutting road tax to zero in year one and a modest £30 thereafter, thanks to its 113g/km CO2 output.

Almost always with cars designed to be cheap to buy, the value in a range lies towards the bottom of the price list.

Not so here; there's good value at the entry point but later this year you'll be able to buy a Tivoli in top spec and four-wheel drive, with a diesel under the bonnet and automatic gearbox, for £19,500. That looks like a proper bargain.

The diesel engine is precisely the same 1.6-litre size as the petrol but produces 113bhp against the petrol's 126bhp but, as is the nature of the breed, there's lots more pulling power at many fewer revs.

On the road that translates into fewer gear changes and much better economy (the test drive showed 54mpg against 40mpg in the petrol Tivoli) but the extra weight over the front wheels made the diesel feel a little bit less responsive to the steering.

That's splitting hairs though, in a car that could comfortably carry a badge you could spell first time and not feel out of its depth.

The Tivoli's clean and chunky lines continue into the cabin, where there is much use of good quality materials and a mere £350 adds a smart red leather upgrade to the top spec car on test (a £17,250 ELX diesel), topping off a list of kit that leaves precious little more to be added.

Included is a built in TomTom satellite navigation system that displays on a big seven-inch screen, alloy wheels, rear camera, keyless entry and starting, dual zone air conditioning and auto lights and wipers.

There's enough room in the rear for a couple of big men and the boot is deep and evenly spaced and there's a space saver tyre on board, not a can of potentially useless gloop.

You will hardly feel shortchanged if you opt to enter the Tivoli range at the bottom, where the SE comes with alloys, cruise control and Bluetooth (from £12,950) or opt for EX trim, from £14,600 which adds dual zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats and touch screen with reversing camera.

So, the Tivoli is a bargain, but its a long way from the basement. Here is a serious contender for best value on the forecourt.

For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here

Related Press Releases