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Ssangyong Tivoli XLV: car review

March 2017

I heard it before I saw it – a sharp crack like a leather paddle coming down on an outstretched palm. The stone, flicked up by a speeding motorbike, hit the windscreen, as they always do, right in my eyeline, leaving a large disc of frosted glass. Typical… Autoglass, however, was soon on the spot. We disappeared into the service station to drink tea and eat cake while the technician worked in the cold. Later he sent me a customer satisfaction form along with a list of wacky things that have smashed windscreens in the past year: a hippo in a safari park; a misguided attempt to hoover off a parking ticket; and a squirrel falling nut first. My stone chip was boring but at least it was believable. Windscreen sorted, we all piled back into the SsangYong Tivoli XLV to continue our journey.

Download a SsangYong brochure

SsangYong has been building workmanlike, affordable vehicles for more than 50 years. They were big, cheap and unsatisfying – the motoring equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet. But then last year along came the Tivoli. Still affordable, but so much more accomplished. It was a surefire hit. Now SsangYong has added the XLV variant to the line-up.

This is essentially a bigger Tivoli with a giant boot. SsangYong calls it an “SUV estate”, which is a world first – and therefore I suppose also the best in its class. Handy that.

Ssangyong Tivoli XLV: car review 

The Tivoli (I lov it, backwards) is great looking, particularly from the front. It’s loaded with kit, from parking sensors to an excellent infotainment screen. It has also been blessed with the sort of premium extras you normally only associate with the luxury sector: heated leather seats, dynamic cruise control, steering wheel controls.

It used to be so easy to spot a cheap car – lousy paintwork, clanging engine, rubbish handling. But this is now a car which is as loaded with goodies as, say, Jaguar’s new SUV, the F-Pace, which costs twice as much. Up close, of course, you do sense the gulf in quality. The car is rather noisy; the switchgear a bit tacky… However, rather than worrying about these details, you’ll spend more time marvelling at just how much car you’re getting for your money.

It’s powered by the company’s standard 1.6-litre diesel, which will rule out conscientious city dwellers, but it offers superb economy, so will appeal to high mileage motorists.

Not long ago, badge snobs were rolling their eyes at the likes of Skoda, Seat and Kia. Now they are all centre-court players. Soon SsangYong will be joining their ranks.

Click here to download a brochure of one of our current models.

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