Ssangyong are the manufacturer that draws puzzled looks from some people when you mention their name. Not as well known as the main European brands, it’s increasing its awareness in the UK through advertising campaigns capitalising on the increase in sales of their rugged SUV model range.
Aiming to take on crossover segment rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, Ssangyong have introduced their all-new model the Tivoli.
On the Road
When Ssangyong first brought out the Tivoli it had a petrol engine, but now they’ve added a diesel. The 1.6-litre petrol produces 128 PS with 160 Nm of torque, and with the 6-speed manual transmission it has a top speed of 106 mph. It is not the liveliest of engines so you really need to maximise the revs to get the most out of it, but this isn’t a hot hatch performance car...
Now the 1.6-litre diesel engine has been added to the mix with 115 PS with 300 Nm of torque, it now gives the Tivoli a better driving experience as it’s very responsive and gets up to speed quite effortlessly
The 6-speed manual gearbox is smooth as you push it through the rev range but the automatic transmission is noisy and feels slow to drop a gear when rolling up to a junction or when you’re overtaking.
Ride & Handling
The ride isn’t always that great on the Tivoli; it doesn’t soak up rough roads well and this can make it quite uncomfortable when driving. The torque on demand 4x4 system is available on the diesel 4x4 (out in the Autumn) when you’re on muddy grass or when it’s snowy and slippery for those odd days we get. We don’t have those days very often so you’ll need it in two wheel drive mode to help aid fuel economy on normal days.
Although the steering is quite heavy, feedback is good and benefits from three modes- normal, comfort and sport - that can be changed depending on how you want to drive the Tivoli and where you’re driving it. We like those steering settings.
One thing that does let the Tivoli down is cabin noise; there is quite a lot of wind and road noise, the large mirrors probably don’t help this and a few times the radio volume was turned up to drown it out.
The diesel engine is fairly loud too as you push on so therefore the petrol provides a much quieter option.
Comfort though is nicely done in the Tivoli, the seats are well made for driver and passengers and you can be sure of a relaxed drive, be it a short hop to the shops, or that seaside weekend trip.
In the car
Behind the Wheel
What is surprising is the interior of the Tivoli as Ssangyong have gone all out to impress with the cabin and it certainly looks the business. It is incredibly spacious for a small crossover model and lacks the compactness of the Juke.
Depending on the trim level, of which there are three, SE, EX and ELX, the top two in the range come with leather as standard and not just on the seats but with it on the doors, the steering wheel and around the dash giving it a luxury feel that belies its price.
Mounted steering wheel controls, a well laid out instrument cluster that can be changed in colour and a 7-inch touchscreen make the Tivoli a well-equipped car.
Another plus point with the Ssangyong Tivoli is the amount of standard equipment on the car with plenty on the entry level SE including remote keyless entry, front and rear LED daytime running lights, a tyre pressure monitoring system and Smart steering.
The top spec ELX version comes with extras such as a smart key system, front and rear parking sensors, heated seats, cruise control and TomTom navigation.
Space & Practicality
With plenty of interior space, five adults can easily travel in the Tivoli without feeling cramped. There is plenty of storage; cubby holes are dotted all over the place, there is a shelf above the glovebox and some quirky looking storage nets behind the front seats.
Boot space is 423-litres, but it’s depth means you get quite a lot in. A couple of large suitcases easily slot in as can two folded bikes. Tardis!
Priced from £12,950 it is an affordable, well-equipped car and is more than capable of taking on rivals which include the Vauxhall Mokka which starts from £16,474. Ssangyong also offer a five year limitless mileage warranty with this model.
It has a combined 49mpg for the petrol automatic version with 167g/km of CO2 emissions. This will make running costs quite high as it falls into VED band H so the first year rate is £295, then £205 annually thereafter.
Quality & Reliability
Expect plenty of plastics in the Tivoli, but not ones that make it look and feel cheap. With the addition of the leather it gives it a decent standard of build quality in the top two trim versions.
As a new model it’s not yet known how reliable the Tivoli will be, the improved build quality of this car should give it the edge over others in their range and as owners of other Ssangyong models are happy with and sticking with the brand, then they must be doing something right.
Safety & Security
The Tivoli comes with seven airbags, the most in its class, including one for the driver’s knees, seatbelt pre-tensioners, ISOFIX child seat mountings and safety systems that include Electronic Stability Programme, Brake Assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system. All models come with an alarm and immobiliser.
The Tivoli has yet to be rated in the Euro NCAP tests but should be expected to get a good score considering the amount of occupant protection.
For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here