Budget manufacturer SsangYong this month strengthens its line-up with a 4×4 version of the five-door Tivoli, one of the few all-paws in the fast growing compact SUV sector.
Jonathan Smith sees whether it has what it takes to rival the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke.
We all love a bargain. And having survived the Recession, the hunger for value-for-money products has almost become a national sport…you only have to witness the success of two well known budget German supermarket chains.
But cheap, alone, isn’t quite sufficient. In the eyes of most consumers, the price has to be right, and so does the quality.
That’s why the new addition to the South Korean SsangYong brand stands a good chance of making its mark on the surging small SUV sector. Prices start at £17,100 for the smoothly contoured Tivoli 4×4 which is powered by the firm’s own 1.6 litre, 113bhp diesel and go up to £19,500 for the all singing, all dancing ELX which even includes 7-inch screen TomTom sat-nav, leather seating and front heated seats, parking sensors and cruise control.
More significant, though, than the long list of goodies is the fact that the in-house designed Tivoli is well finished, contemporary-looking and has a cabin that compares favourably with most European competitors in terms of build quality, appearance and styling.
A £400 styling pack adds black 18-inch alloys, black roof, spoiler and door mirrors and makes it stand out from the crowd.
Supported by a five warranty with unlimited mileage, the Tivoli is the smallest model produced by SsangYong which has been owned by Indian mega-firm Mahindra since 2011. The first version of the Tivoli was launched in May with a 1.6litre petrol engine, a similar sized diesel model following a few months later.
The addition of a diesel four wheel drive should broaden the appeal and in give the Tivoli a more rugged, outdoor image, although those in search of economy would be better opting for two wheel drive. Emissions of the 2WD version are just 113g/km against 156g/km for the new 4×4.
A choice between six speed manual gearbox and six speed automatic – the same system as that in the MINI – is offered.
The new diesel automatic performs quite adequately with a 107mph maximum and acceleration to 62mph in an acceptable 12.3secs. It’s not as refined and quiet as some of its European counterparts and gets a tad harsh as the revs rise. But at cruising speeds things calm down and the Tivoli is relaxed enough.
With on-demand 4WD, rather than the permanent variety, it feels well planted on the road, especially in slippery conditions. Diff-lock, as standard, splits the power 50-50 over both axles allowing it to traverse mud or snow with little trouble. Relatively low ground clearance limits over-adventurous descents or climbs however. With a towing capacity of 1.5tonnes, it leads its rivals.
On road handling is safe and secure with acceptable body roll and the steering is sufficiently direct to allow it to be hustled through bends. While pot-holes and bad road irregularities are coped with well, ripples and undulations can upset the Tivoli’s composure somewhat causing the ride to be a bit fidgety.
The well equipped interior is both comfortable and roomy enough for four or even five adults. Head and legroom is generous both front and back. Front seats are particularly well shaped and the driving position is good, although the steering wheel is adjustable only for height
SsangYong, South Korea’s oldest car manufacturer, deserves to be proud of the Tivoli 4×4 which enters a highly competitive sector with all the credentials required to succeed and help the firm achieve its target of 5,500 sales in Britain next year.
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