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Is this the breakthrough model for SsangYong?

For years, SsangYong, Korea’s oldest car firm, has won countless awards…for making UGLY motors.

Cheap, yes, no-nonsense, yes, some even had Merc engines — but they looked hideous. Just Google the hearse-like Rodius. But someone at SsangYong has swapped the ugly stick for a magic wand. Here is the Tivoli. Much more mainstream, much more stylish (you can even order two-tone roof colours) and even more affordable from £12,950 - or £159 a month.

Today I'm testing the new 4x4 version, the 1.6-litre diesel El-x at £19,500.

The floods in Cumbria are a stark reminder that drivers need to be ready for anything, so will the Tivoli really cope off-road? Will it stop my mum getting stranded in the Peak District this winter? Well, it skipped over boulder-strewn tracks, crawled up and down steep muddy gravel slopes and waded through water 65cm deep without drama.

Much more than the old girl does in her Isuzu.

It can also tow up to 1.5 tonnes. The Tivoli runs in front-wheel-drive and automatically switches to 4WD in slippery conditions. There's also a lock mode to get you out of trouble below 25mph.

But my tip is to avoid the six-speed auto. There're no paddles on the steering wheel, just a naff button on the side of the gearstick to change up or down. It's not intuitive.

Save yourself a grand and go for the manual.

The kit includes 7-in touchscreen with TomTom and reversing camera, auto headlights, auto wipers, full leather seats, heated front seats, tinted rear windows and 18-in alloys. 

VERDICT: Worth a look.

PUB FACT: The HQ for SsangYong is in the Gangnam district of Seoul, made famous by Psy - Gangnam Style!





Key Facts:


Price: £19,500

Engine: 1.6-litre diesel

Economy. 47.9mpg

0-62mph: 12.3 secs

Top speed: 109mph

Click here to request a brochure

For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here

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