Spacious and with all the right equipment, the Korean SUV makes a strong case for itself.
The Tivoli small SUV was a huge leap forward for the Korean company; a car with far more than a cheap price in its side. Hot on its heels comes the extended Tivoli XLV, which offers the high driving position of the Suzuki Vitara, Nissan Juke and Skoda Yeti, with more space plus a four-wheel-drive option.
Space – 10/10
The XLV’s long tail allows a boot that’s larger than any rival’s. Its false floor reduces capacity, but enables easier loading. With the false floor removed, there’s plenty of room - you can even fit a couple of bikes in there. A selection of hooks and nets is handy for keeping shopping bags and smaller items secure.
Unusually for this class of car, you can fit three adults across the rear seat. There’s plenty of leg and head room, as well as good storage spaces, including well-sized door bins.
Comfort – 5/10
The tyres kick up a lot of road noise, which is a shame because the diesel engines are reasonably smooth at low speeds, although noisier on the motorway.
The front seats are supportive, but the steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach.
The suspension soaks up most main-road bumps, but on country lanes its stiff setup causes the car to bounce around.
Dashboard Layout – 7/10
All models get a seven-inch touchscreen with clear graphics, as well as a TomTom satnav. The main dials are also clear and modern, although the heater controls are less impressive.
THE TELEGRAPH TEST SSANGYONG TIVOLI XLV
1st November 2016
While some of the plastics are rather scratchy, those you touch the most have a generally good finish. What’s more, the Tivoli XLV feels solid and well-screwed together, and the leather trim is genuinely plush.
Easy to drive – 8/10
Snatchy brakes and a fairly abrupt clutch can make for jerky progress at times. The six-speed manual gearbox slots home precisely and the steering isn’t too heavy (you can increase the weight by moving through comfort, normal and sport modes via a button on the dash). The optional automatic gearbox, which is very reasonably priced, suits this car.
A flat tailgate makes parking easy, although every model also has front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
Fun to drive – 3/10
The diesel engine is pleasingly punchy, with sufficient power for overtaking without having to plan way ahead. However, front-wheel-drive models have modest grip while the steering lacks feedback.
Reliability – 7/10
As a new car with new engines, it’s hard to gauge potential reliability. Because other SsangYongs are big 4x4s often used for towing, don’t read too much into their relatively poor performance in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.
The Tivoli’s five-year, unlimited mileage warranty is superior to the four years of cover Renault offers on the Captur, or the three years you get with a Nissan Juke. In fact, as far as small SUVs go, it’s class-leading.
Fuel consumption – 5/10
The Tivoli XLV falls short of rivals in official tests, managing 62.8mpg against the equivalent Vitara’s 70mpg and the Captur’s 75mpg. Its figures are on a par with the Yeti.
The economy drops by a further 5-15mpg if you opt for all-wheel drive or an automatic gearbox - go for both and the discrepancy adds up to 18mpg.
Affordability – 6/10
The standard Tivoli, on which this car is based, is a very cheap for an SUV, but the XLV itself is more expensive because it only comes in one very well-equipped trim level.
You can buy an entry-level Mini Countryman or Yeti for less - although you won’t get nearly as much space or equipment. Lease prices are pretty high, so it’s best to buy a Tivoli XLV outright.
Safety – 5/10
It hasn’t been assessed by the Euro NCAP independent crash test organisation. However, tests on other SsangYongs elsewhere in the world suggest that they fall behind rivals in terms of safety.
The Tivoli XLV has seven airbags and a stability control system, although there’s no automated braking system that could help you avoid running into the car in front.
Standard spec – 10/10
The sole ELX trim provides all you could need – satnav, dual-zone climate control (with a neat memory function) and cruise control, along with heated front and rear seats. But the Tivoli XLV lacks the latest technology such as adaptive cruise control.
The verdict – 6/10
The Tivoli XLV is rather pricey for a Ssangyong, but then it does come very well equipped, and provides enough space for four adults and their luggage, along with an excellent warranty.
It might not be fun to drive, and it isn’t quite as high-tech as the best rivals, but if you can live with that, it makes a lot of sense.
Click here to download a brochure for one of our current models.