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SsangYong Tivoli 2015 - Review

Chris Russon

IT'S the car with the flippable name and whichever way it's viewed the Tivoli speaks volumes about SsangYong.

The Korean brand has never had a car this good before and with a starting price below £13,000 it is nigh on unbeatable.

Even the range topping diesel automatic costs £18,250 and all come with masses of kit plus a five year warranty no matter the mileage.

The catch? Well there does not appear to be one and that is after putting all versions of the Tivoli to the test.

SsangYong has built its reputation in the UK on high value for money with a line up that has been very SUV-oriented for the past 20 years.

The Tivoli takes it into the mainstream market and pound for pound it is at the top of the pile with a choice of 1.6-litre petrol or diesels that are easy to drive and very economical - 50 to the gallon from the diesels is a cinch.

Both engines meet the latest European emission standards which sees a CO2 rating of 113g/km at best and come with either six speed manual or six speed auto boxes - the latter made by Aisin which also makes automatics for MINI.

The diesels - which are badged XDI - cost £1,250 more in each in each of the Tivoli's three trim levels but are the better bet in terms of fuel economy.

SsangYong claims 65.7mpg for the diesel Tivoli and 44.1 for the petrol versions in manual form and we managed 53 and 42.9 respectively.

The eye opener was the automatics - they carry a £1,000 premium - and over similar routes they out-performed their official ratings and surpassed the manuals by some margin returning 55.5mpg for the diesel and 45.3 with the petrol, well above the official figures of 51.4 and 39.2.

But that is just one of the surprises the Tivoli has up its sleeve. It is a five seat, roomy hatchback-cum-compact MPV and comes with a 423 litre boot that's big enough for four suitcases - and the rear seats fold to create more room if needs be.

The Tivoli is well built inside and out, comfortable and all but the base models have leather upholstery.

The range toppers are priced from £16,000 and include a TomTom sat nav with high definition graphics, keyless start and automatic lights and wipers.

If you can live without such features then the mid-range versions which cost from £14,600 for the petrols and £15,850 for the diesels are quite astonishing and come with a seven-inch touchscreen, reversing camera, heated front seats and 18-inch alloys.

Options are not really an option - metallic and two-tone paint jobs and different colour leathers are the only ones and all three total just £1,250 - and SsangYong has decided to fully load the Tivoli so even the base car comes with air conditioning, cruise control, variable steering settings, Bluetooth connectivity and 16-inch alloys.

The cabin is smartly laid out with a shelf above the glovebox, door pockets all round and a good sized centre console. In the rear there's a fold-down centre armrest as well as strap cords on the back of the front seats.

Both sun visors have vanity mirrors and on the higher grade models there is a welcoming sequence which flashed up on the instrument panel. The Tivoli is also fitted with a real spare wheel which is stowed under the boot floor.

On the road both engines perform well but the diesel has more bite. It may develop only 115ps compared to the 128 of the petrol but top speed s 109mph opposed to 106 and both manage 0 to 60 in 12 seconds.

At motorway speeds there is some wind rush but that's about all and overall the Tivoli is nicely composed and for a car in such a low price range, refreshingly refined.

Unusual touches include a display which shows the alignment of the front wheels on start up to warn of any unusual lock before you move away and a memory button for the air con allowing for previous comfort settings to be switched back on. Higher grade models also come with dual zone temperature controls.

SsangYong may be the least known of the three Korean brands in the UK behind Hyundai and Kia but it is still the one that is providing reasonably priced cars and the Tivoli certainly lives up to its name spelt either forwards or backwards when it becomes I Lov It - quite apt really.

For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here

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