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Ssangyong Tivoli 1.6 e-XGi160 ELX review: New Korean a serious rival to mainstream crossovers – just not in petrol form

Ssangyong Tivoli 1.6 e-XGi160 ELX review

What is it?

The Ssangyong brand is best-known for its range of off-roaders, but the Tivoli is the Korean manufacturer’s serious assault on the popular B-segment crossover market.

With its curvier styling, a new moncoque chassis and the choice of both new 1.6 petrol and diesel engines, plus two and four-wheel drive, could the Tivoli be the Ssangyong that will make the breakthrough and appeal to mainstream buyers?

We hit the roads in the 1.6-litre two-wheel drive petrol, in range-topping ELX trim, to find out.

What’s hot?

  • We’re not sure you could call the Tivoli beautiful, but it’s definitely the most cohesively styled model the Korean manufacturer has produced in recent years. I mean can you remember the odious Rodius? Highlights of the angular shape are the curves around the front and rear arches, with the front and rear light units following those curves. There’s also a large cut out at the bottom of the doors to give the side of the Tivoli more definition. There’s even some personalisation options in the form of different alloys and contrasting roof colours
  • The good news continues inside the Tivoli, with a stylish, spacious and conventional feel to the interior. The range-topping ELX we have here offers the choice of two distinctive colour leather options, the red is a bit gaudy in our opinion, but the beige is classy. The colour of the easy to read instruments can also be changed too.
  • The angular shape means the Tivoll’s interior is spacious, with plenty of room for five passengers. The practically-shaped 432-litre boot compares well with rivals too.
  • Hit the road and like many of its crossover rivals, the Tivoli isn’t the most exciting drive. Competent is probably the best way to describe the Ssangyong. In two-wheel drive, the body control is still good, with negligible body roll, the steering is reasonably precise and the gearchange sharp, although it doesn’t like to be rushed!
  • We drove the range-topping Tivoli ELX which has impressive levels of standard kit, including climate control, touchscreen sat-nav, keyless go, stop/start, parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and a rear-view camera – all for just £16,000. Plus, there’s a five-year warranty too.

 

What’s not?

  • The Tivoli feels well-made, but the plastics are hard, there’s too much shiny piano black trim that we reckon won’t look quite so sharp quickly and the switchgear sometimes feels brittle.
  • The 1.6-litre e-XGi160 petrol is smooth, refined, but no fire ball and gets noisy when worked. Part of the reason why performance is lacking, is that there appears to be no mid-range torque. The 149g/km CO2 figure and 39.2mpg fuel figure mean a rather lacklustre 24% charge, which is going to be a struggle when compared to rivals for business buyers. Best go for the diesel with the lower 113g/km co2 figure and 65.7mpg fuel figure and 20% charge figure.
  • More annoying than the lack of performance from the 1.6-litre petrol is the unsettled ride. Although it deals with unmade surfaces and pot holes decently enough, the Tivoli never feels totally settled – although admittedly the standard fit 18-inch wheels don’t help here.

The Verdict on the Ssangyong Tivoli 1.6 e-XGi160 ELX

The Ssangyong Tivoli is a likeable, spacious, high-value and well-equipped alternative to a Nissan Juke or Peugeot 2008.

What a shame then, that in manual petrol form, it’s hard to recommend this Ssangyong as a business car choice, because its inefficient engine equals the 149g/km emissions figure. Rivals such as the Nissan, can better the Tivol’s’s 39.2mpg fuel figure too.

For the most efficient Tivoli, you’ll need to choose diesel power, but despite the Ssangyong’s many positives, we’d advise looking elsewhere if you’re after a petrol crossover.

The Low Down for the Ssangyong Tivoli 1.6 e-XGi160 ELX

Doors and bodystyle: Five-door crossover
Engine/Gearbox: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder 16-valve petrol/6-speed manual gearbox
CO2 Emissions: 149 g/km
Economy: 39.2mpg
Power/Torque: 126bhp/160Nm
0-62mph/top speed: 12 secs/99mph
Insurance Group: 15

 

And what it costs…

P11D Value: £15,800
Monthly Business Car Lease ex VAT (10k miles pa, 3+35 payments, non-maintained): From £276.45
Road Tax: Band F
Company Car Tax bands 2015/2016 to 2016/17: 24%, 26%, 28%
Benefit in kind 2014/15 to 2016/17: 4,229, 4,028, 4,431
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%): 1,061/88.41
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%): 2,122/176.83
Annual/Monthly company car tax (20%): 758/63.16
Annual/Monthly company car tax (40%): 1,517/126.41

 

For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here

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