The SsangYong Tivoli is by far the most stylish car to have been produced by the South Korean marque, a relatively small-scale manufacturer that is yet to achieve mainstream popularity in the UK.
With the Tivoli, SsangYong is moving away from its previous, slightly agricultural, basic image, without sacrificing its reputation for durability and ruggedness. Good looks and a keen price tag mean the car has respectable showroom appeal.
There are two 1.6-litre engines, a petrol or a diesel and we recommend the diesel over the thirstier, slightly harsh petrol.
Although the diesel can’t quite match the smoothness of equivalents used by the competition, it does offer plenty of power coupled with reasonable fuel economy. It can also be chosen with the optional four-wheel-drive system - an unusual feature for this class.
Standard equipment is fairly extensive, too, with entry-level SE models having air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. Stepping up to an EX adds dual zone climate control, bigger 18-inch alloy wheels and heated leather seats, as well as a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system.
Although the Tivoli is compact on the outside, there’s plenty of space for two rows of adults inside. They’ll sit high with a good view, and will find plenty of cubbyholes for storage. The ride isn’t the smoothest, though we did find things to be a little better in the four-wheel-drive version.
Buyers can take reassurance from the generous five year/unlimited mileage warranty that SsangYong provides. This, plus a low asking price makes for a tempting financial proposition.
SsangYong Tivoli SUV
18th October 2016
The Tivoli is a good-value, practical car that's ideal for a young, active families. It's an interesting alternative to the 'usual suspects'.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Despite modern engines, the SsangYong Tivoli is a little behind its rivals when it comes to running costs, although constant development should see the margin come down.What engine and transmission you specify your Tivoli with can seriously affect its fuel economy and emissions.
SsangYong’s 1.6-litre diesel is relatively economical in two-wheel-drive form with manual transmission, managing 65.7mpg while emitting 113g/km of CO2 for £30 road tax.
With an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, economy is 47.9mpg, while road tax rises to £180 a year.
The best the 1.6-litre petrol can manage is 44.1mpg and 149g/km of CO2, resulting in an annual road tax bill of £145. If you choose the automatic, the petrol's economy falls to 39.2mpg.
Engines, drive & performance
With front-wheel drive, the Tivoli handles well enough, staying flat through corners and generating good grip. The car is easy to manoeuvre at low speeds as well, with one of the tightest turning circles in its class.
Unfortunately, the Tivoli can’t match the ride quality of its rivals. Although the suspension soaks up the biggest bumps with little fuss, the car never really feels settled, even on smooth roads.
Go for a four-wheel drive model, which has different rear suspension and the ride improves. The 1.6-litre petrol engine produces 124bhp and can get the car from 0-62mph in 12 seconds, and while the diesel is no quicker, it's quieter and less frenetic to drive.
Interior & comfort
Bearing in mind that the SsangYong Tivoli is a cheap car to buy, the interior is surprisingly good quality, but there are still some gripes here and there.
There are a few too many black gloss trim inserts for our taste and some of the materials aren’t up to the standards of the best in this class.
The Tivoli has three trim options: the entry-level SE, the mid-range EX and top-spec ELX. The SE is surprisingly well equipped for an entry-level model, but the EX gets dual-zone climate control plus a seven-inch touchscreen. The flagship ELX has rain-sensing wipers, all-round parking sensors, keyless entry and TomTom satellite navigation.
Practicality & boot space
The compact SUV class sometimes sees practicality sacrificed for style, but the Tivoli is up with the very best cars of its type when it comes to cabin and boot space.
This is a supermini-sized car, but a six-footer can sit relatively comfortably behind another adult of similar height.
Storage space inside is plentiful, with deep pockets in the doors and more in the centre console. A multitude of cubbies, including a large glovebox, rounds off the decent amount of storage space and makes the Tivoli an excellent choice for families.
The car also had a 423-litre boot, as well as a false floor that can be folded and stored inside the car, while the folding rear seats go down completely flat.
Reliability & safety
As the Tivoli is a relatively new model, we don’t have much evidence on which to base a reliability judgement yet. The manufacturer hasn’t been included in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey yet because of the small number of cars it sells in the UK.
However, a standard five-year/unlimited-mileage warranty promises good things as far as the dependability is concerned, showing the brand’s faith in the reliability of its cars. It’s one of the best warranties on the market.
The Tivoli gives little away when it comes to safety either. Six airbags as standard, along with electronic stability control and traction control. a driver’s knee airbag features on higher-spec models.
Click here to download a brochure of one of our current models.