30th November 2020
A recent spell in the SsangYong Korando left me thinking the Korean brand has come a long way while still offering a huge amount of value. Now it’s the turn of the updated Tivoli, which comes with uprated engines for both the petrol and diesel versions. In this instance, it’s a 1.5-litre petrol model with 163hp and a six-speed automatic gearbox in Ultimate spec with a very keen list price of £21,995.
Heading out to the SsangYong this morning to run some errands, I got chatting to a neighbour at a social distance. He was very complimentary about the Toyota I had on test and went on to point out a lot of the details that made the RAV4 so much better than the opposition. His jaw nearly broke when it hit the deck after I told him this was a Tivoli. In fairness, he then said he’d need to check them out for his next car.
With no longer drives possible at the moment, the Tivoli has been racking up several shorter trips. While the 175g/km carbon dioxide emissions of the SsangYong’s 1.5-litre petrol motor are not that impressive when coupled to the auto’ box, the transmission’s shifts are smooth ands suit the easy-going nature of the Tivoli’s drive. It’s a car that feels relaxed rather than trying to be sporty and off-roady at the same time. Comfort is its main focus.
Some twisty back lanes beckon for today’s journey and the decent ride of the Tivoli is happy to deal with the bumpy bits. This does come at the expense of body lean in the corners, where the SsangYong tilts more noticeably than the likes of a RAV4 or Nissan Qashqai. Nor is the steering as direct, but then this is a family-facing crossover, not a sports car, so I’m not going to get too het up.
Running a finger down the specification list of this Ultimate model of Tivoli, it really wants for nothing. Whether it’s leather seats, heated steering wheel or large screen infotainment display, it has the lot. For the money this Tivoli costs, you’d be hard-pressed to match it anywhere else, and SsangYong includes a seven-year, 150,000-mile warrant to keep fleet managers very happy.
As those of you who are kind or daft enough to read this column on a regular basis will know, I have a bit of a pet hate for lane keep assist. Driving on a lot of country roads, it can be more of a distraction than aid, so SsangYong gets full marks for fitting a clearly marked and easily reached button to disable it. I’m not a complete Luddite, though, as the same button also makes it quick to re-engage the system once on more open roads.
The space inside the Tivoli is among the best in this corner of the crossover market. Loads of room on the back for the kids, plenty up front for me and a big boot. Quality is also on a par with anything from Ford or Vauxhall, and neither rival from those firms can match this SsangYong on equipment levels. If you’re not bothered about the last Nth of driving dynamics, the Tivoli makes a strong case for itself.