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SsangYong Tivoli

What is it? New baby SUV to rival the Citroen C4 Cactus and Renault Captur

Verdict Beaten by the class best, but will appeal on value

THE SSANGYONG TIVOLI is a small five-seat SUV that will be offered with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines, six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes and - by the end of this year - the choice of front- or four-wheel drive.

On the road the Tivoli feels quite ordinary. Its normally aspirated petrol engine needs to be worked pretty hard to make anything approaching rapid progress, so you get a bit more noise than you would in a rival with a small turbocharged motor. The Tivoli's manual gearbox is slick enough, though, and the automatic 'box (also used in the Mini) offers quick, smooth shifts. It's slower to kick down than we'd like, however.

The cabin is easily Ssangyong's best offering yet. It's on a par with what many of the class rivals offer, thanks to a smart, gloss black finish in the centre of the dashboard and dense, soft-touch plastics on top of the fascia. It's spacious, too; there's enough room for a couple of six-footers in the rear seats, with enough leg- and headroom to make long journeys fairly comfortable - although three will fit in the back for shorter trips.

The long options list includes heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a touch-screen infotainment system that can show what's on your phone's screen via an HDMI cable. However, standard kit (as yet unconfirmed) is likely to be somewhat sparse.

To drive, the Tivoli can't match its funky looks, but in truth few small SUVs deliver an exciting on-road experience. Its trump card could be price; final figures and specs have yet to be confirmed, but it's tipped to start from less than £13,000. It could be one of 2015's surprise hits.

JohnMcllroy

John.Mcllroy@whatcar.com

For more information on the SsangYong Tivoli please click here

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