SsangYong’s compact SUV comes with a choice of engines, trim levels and a very attractive price-tag. The latest model sees big improvements to the styling, build quality, performance and safety. The Tivoli XLV is the beefed up version for owners looking for extra space.
The goodEconomy and value for money
The badCompeting against strong rivals
SsangYong Tivoli 1.5 Ultimate Auto (2020)
With an eye-catching, stylish design, generous levels of on-board kit, powerful new engines and attractive pricing, SsangYong aims to make an impact in the market with its latest Tivoli model.
The five-door compact SUV has been given quite an extensive makeover for 2020 which is five years after its initial launch. New Tivoli boasts an athletic-looking front end with a larger grille, new fog lights and distinctive bonnet. But the greatest improvements are within the cabin where the Korean car maker has really upped the build quality and level of technology.
Tivoli prices start from just £13,995 for the entry-level EX model – that’s the cost of a couple of optional extras on a premium car. Our range-topping Ultimate model with six-speed automatic gearbox was priced at £21,495 but this was the car with all the bells and whistles.
The interior bears quite a resemblance to the Tivoli’s bigger sibling – the Korando – with a tablet style fascia in the centre of the dashboard which brings the car bang up to date on the styling front.
And creature comforts are plentiful too, including heated front and rear seats, dual zone air conditioning, full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, leather upholstery, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, a heated steering wheel and a 10.25-inch fully customisable digital instrument cluster.
SsangYong’s new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 163PS and 260Nm of torque was powering our test car which could reach 62mph from a standing start in 11.0 seconds and maxed out at 108mph. It featured a six-speed automatic gearbox, and according to official figures, could deliver a combined 36.7mpg with carbon emissions of 175mpg.
Engineers in Spain were tasked with the job of fine-tuning the Tivoli’s ride, handling and steering for European roads and they have made a good job of it. Yes, you will still feel the odd bump and dip along the way due to our poor road surfaces, but the suspension set-up is far superior to the outgoing model.
The new Tivoli is pretty well balanced out on the faster country lanes and cornering is confident provided the tighter bends are given a little respect. The car is also well insulated against most engine, road surface and wind noise and, on motorways, the Tivoli was nicely composed with plenty of power on tap from the punchy petrol engine.
There are drive modes called Normal, Sports and Winter that alter the vehicle’s mannerisms and another plus-point is the impressive turning lock of just 5.3 metres, which is ideal in busy city centres where the clear all-round visibility makes parking a total breeze.
Despite being compact on the outside, the Tivoli is like the TARDIS with a spacious interior and ample room for four adults to sit comfortably – a trio can sit in the back if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders a little.
Storage options are good for the sector too with a boot that can swallow 311 litres of kit with a spare wheel (427 litres without), a limit that increases to 1,002 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat (1,118 litres without the spare wheel). If more boot space is the order of the day, then the Tivoli XLV model with its stretched rear-end styling could be the answer.
There are numerous handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car too, such as a practical glovebox, central cubby, non-slip trays, sunglasses holders, front cup holders, deep door pockets with designated bottle section, rear cup holders in the drop-down central armrest and elasticated straps in the seat backs for holding papers, maps and the likes.
My only slight gripes after a week behind the wheel of the new Tivoli – and I am being quite picky here – were the rather loud indicators (you’ll never forget they are on though) and the angle of the touchscreen and some dash controls that are prone to glare should the sun put in a rare appearance, but that’s about all.
SsangYong has also upgraded the safety specifications on the new car which was awarded four out of five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP rating. The Tivoli features the likes of front collision warning, lane departure warning, high beam assist, front vehicle start alert, driver attention alert, traffic sign recognition, emergency stop system, safety distance alert, Isofix child seat fixtures and six airbags.
All in all, yes, there is some lower quality hard plastic on show and there are more refined models to drive out there, but the new Tivoli is ideal for any active family looking for a practical, well equipped SUV that also wants to keep a watchful eye on the pennies.
Budgets are going to be tight for a lot of people going forward and with its attractive seven-year, 150,000-mile warranty, this could be the ideal time to get over any brand snobbery issues and check out the new Tivoli.
SsangYong Tivoli XLV 1.6 petrol Ultimate auto 2WD
“We want Teddy to test out the new Tivoli XLV” – that was the request from SsangYong which sounds fair enough except Teddy is an 18-month old cockapoo!
The reason behind SsangYong’s thinking is quite simple. The Tivoli XLV is the beefed-up version of the standard Tivoli and offers additional space. And that makes it the perfect vehicle to transport Teddy along with his vast array of toys, beds, blankets, food, bowls … I could go on!
Apart from being a practical option, the five-door Tivoli XLV is a great looking vehicle thanks to its sporty profile, shiny black pillars, rising waistline, tinted glass, sweeping light clusters with LED daytime running lights, roof rails, rear spoiler with LED stop lamp, front fog lights and smart 18-inch alloy wheels to complete the look.
And our test model, in Ultimate trim with 2WD, was generously equipped with the likes of heated leather seats, a TomTom navigation system, a seven-inch colour touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, air conditioning, a rearview camera and a steering wheel heater as standard. It was priced at £20,195 and, according to official figures, can deliver combined fuel economy of 37.2mpg with carbon emissions of 176g/km.
Powering our Tivoli XLV was a punchy 1.6-litre 128hp petrol engine that was mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox and the two worked perfectly in tandem to deliver a great all-round performance. The car races out the starting blocks at quite a click and sprints from 0-62mph in a very respectable 11.0 seconds before topping out at 99mph.
After that initial sharp burst of power it calms down to a smooth and capable performance. The acceleration through the automatic gearbox is beautifully seamless and there is a constant stream of power on tap which helps make light work of steep hill climbs or overtaking at short notice.
There is a rather clever feature called ‘smart steering’ which allows the driver to alter the steering weight. In the Comfort setting, the wheel turns with less effort which is ideal when parking if lots of twisting of the wheel is required. The Normal setting is perfectly suited to general day-to-day driving and when switched across to the Sport setting, extra effort is required to turn the wheel making it ideal for faster driving out on the B roads.
When it comes to driving dynamics, the Tivoli XLV feels beautifully poised and balanced with good grip and minimal body sway which, once again, makes it a great vehicle for transporting dogs or youngsters who may have slightly weaker stomachs.
At faster speeds and particularly on rougher surfaces, you can expect to hear a fair amount of road surface noise, which was my only slight gripe after a three-week test, but the Tivoli XLV is equipped with a decent six-speaker sound system that easily drowns out any noise intrusion. It’s also simple to connect a smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto so you can access your extensive playlists. The interior of the car oozes quality with lots of soft-touch surfaces and neat door inserts, along with a chunky D-cut steering wheel that is leather trimmed, plus a smart-looking central stack.
The slightly elevated seating means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility which is another ‘must’ on any family car that will regularly feature on the school run.
Comfort levels are high with ample space in the back for three adults (or one dog) to stretch out. The boot is also generously sized, and the wide-opening tailgate makes loading and unloading awkwardly shaped items such as bicycles a simple process. The 60:40 split-folding rear seats can be dropped flat increasing the storage capacity from 423 litres to an impressive 1,115 litres.
Elsewhere there are a number of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car including a glovebox, a central cubby beneath the armrest, door bins that are wider at the front to accommodate bottles, front and rear cup holders, some non-slip trays, elastic straps in the backs of the front seats and a sunglasses holder.
With families in mind, safety is of vital importance and the Tivoli XLV boasts a comprehensive range of safety features and driver aids. These include anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, active rollover protection, electronic stability programme, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, high beam assist, traffic sign recognition, ISOFIX fittings to the rear outer seats and a full suite of airbags.
All in all, the Tivoli XLV is a solid all-rounder that would tick all the boxes for the active family that enjoys life’s creature comforts. It looks great, drives well and is very practical. Therefore it gets a resounding ‘paws-up’ from Teddy!
SsangYong Tivoli – first drive
Think quality compact SUVs and it’s unlikely the name SsangYong will immediately spring to mind – but all that is about to change.
In the past the Korean company that was saved from the brink by Indian giant Mahindra produced cars that somehow lacked a little razzmatazz. Basically they were okay, but needed that wow factor that customers demand these days.
But now SsangYong has launched a compact SUV that will take on the likes of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur and will certainly ruffle a few feathers.
That’s because the neatly designed five-door, five-seat Tivoli has everything needed to successfully compete in the fiercely competitive B-segment SUV sector.
There are three richly-equipped trim levels – SE, EX and ELX, a choice of Euro 6 compliant petrol or diesel engines, 6-speed or automatic transmissions, front-wheel-drive or intelligent 4×4 with prices ranging from £12,950 to £19,500.
The Tivoli looks compact, sporty and modern from any angle thanks to its upright stance, sculpted bonnet, sloping roofline, sweeping headlight clusters, rear spoiler, tinted windows, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, additional central brake light, smart alloys and neat use of contrasting chrome trim.
Move inside the cabin and those days of cheap plastic and poor quality materials often associated with SsangYong are clearly a thing of the past. The interior is stylish, well-designed, packed with technology and features a beautiful combination of leather upholstery, soft-touch and gloss black materials along clear and precise instrumentation.
The company is confident the range-topping ELX models will prove the most popular so I tested out the diesel and petrol variants in that style.
First up was the 1.6-litre 115PS diesel with a six-speed manual gearbox priced at £17,250. This car can reach 62mph from a standing start in 12.0 seconds and has a top speed of 109mph. According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 65.7mpg with carbon emissions of 113g/km.
It has to be said this particular model boasted a number of techno treats and creature comforts usually associated with cars costing a whole lot more.
For example, the full leather seats could be heated, there was a leather, flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, an electronic tailgate release, LED daytime running lights, front fog lights, an easy-to-use seven-inch colour touchscreen with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, TomTom navigation, a reversing camera and plenty more besides.
Comfort levels are excellent with ample leg, head and elbow space for back seat passengers and the slightly elevated driving position is another bonus factor of note.
When it comes to performance, the Tivoli also impressed. Okay, it’s not the fastest out of the starting blocks and at times you do have to keep the revs a little high to gain momentum, but that aside it was up to all challenges.
The diesel powertrain was nice and quiet and any road surface noise was only picked up when the car was pushed particularly hard.
The steering was precise and the road-holding also good for a car in this class.
The Tivoli can easily cope with busy town centres where the excellent all-round visibility is vital and then is just as comfortable moving alongside faster motorway traffic.
When it comes to practicality the car is well placed against any competitors too. The boot has a capacity of 423 litres which can be increased further with the 60:40 split-folding seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are cup holders, sunglasses holder, door pockets, a deep central bin which is covered, a glovebox and elasticated straps in the rear of the seats to keep maps and water bottles etc from rolling around.
Next up was the 1.6 128PS petrol version with a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission also in ELX trim priced at £17,000. This model can reach from 0-62mph in 11.0 seconds and tops out at 99mph. It can deliver combined fuel economy of 39.2mpg with emissions of 167g/km.
Once again, the Tivoli impressed as an all-round package. Many of the smaller crossovers really fall down when it comes to automatic gearboxes, but not this one. The acceleration was smooth and responsive and there was no irritating whining sound whatsoever.
In busy traffic it ambled along quietly and then there was ample power on tap to tackle faster country lanes and dual carriageways. For me, this was the pick of the two test cars although it would prove less economical to run than the diesel model.
All Tivoli models boast a comprehensive range of safety specifications and all come with a class-leading five-year limitless mileage warranty too which helps to make the newcomer a very attractive option in a fiercely competitive segment and certainly one to watch.