SsangYong is still something of a niche player in the UK, but it’s aiming to increase sales over the next few years – and the model spearheading its hopes is the new Tivoli crossover. The car is great value, but now SsangYong is making it even more attractive, with the option of four-wheel drive and a new six-speed automatic gearbox.
The addition of the former is intriguing, as it means the Tivoli is one of the few supermini-SUVs to offer total traction. Fitting 4WD has also meant a rethink for the rear suspension, with a multilink set-up replacing the standard car’s torsion beam system.
As a result, the 4WD Tivoli feels stable in a straight line, and is now more agile in corners. The suspension bounces over big bumps, but overall, the Tivoli is well behaved.
There are three steering modes to choose from, but while you can feel a difference in weighting between them, more in the way of feedback would be welcome.
Off-road, the 4x4 system works well, with the electronics automatically sending power to the wheels with most grip with minimal fuss. There’s also a hi-tech Land Rover-style lock function that splits power 50:50 between the front and rear for particularly messy situations.
On the road, there’s no sign of the transmission shunt between the front and rear axles that you get on some rivals.
The diesel offers a broad spread of torque that means the six-speed auto box isn’t in a hurry to kick down, though, and while there’s a manual mode controlled via a switch on the gearlever, this takes some getting used to.
The manual shifts are smooth, although after time you’ll be happy to let the electronics take control. Those include three modes – Eco, Power and Winter – that adjust throttle response according to conditions.
For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli click here