SsangYong Tivoli’s family values and appeal so obvious

PUBLISHED: 07:51 07 January 2016

New diesel SsangYong Tivoli offers big-car feel for supermini money, making it very appealing.

New diesel SsangYong Tivoli offers big-car feel for supermini money, making it very appealing.


SsangYong’s new diesel Tivoli compact crossover’s appeal, value and kit makes a huge impression with Matt Kimberley.

What’s new?

The SsangYong Tivoli is probably the most disruptive car to enter the crossover sector since the original Nissan Qashqai. Priced to undercut its rivals, equipped to make them all look overpriced and with a five-year unlimited-mileage warranty on its side, it’s a massive eye-opener.

You can now add diesel power to the list of options when buying a Tivoli. A 1.6-litre unit squeezes 113bhp and a meaty 221lb/ft of torque through the front wheels. That’s plenty given that the car is no fatty, so it delivers the mid=range muscle that the petrol model lacks.

SsangYong Tivoli

Price: SsangYong Tivoli 1.6 e-XDi EX, £15,795 (diesel range £14,145 for SE 2WD to £19,265 for ELX auto 4x4)

Engine: 1.6-litre, 113bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Transmission: Six-speed manual driving front wheels

Performance: 0-62mph 12 seconds; top speed 109mph

MPG: 65.7 combined

CO2 emissions: 113g/km

Looks and image

Dandy Blue is a winner, with beautiful blue metallic flecks that sparkle in the sun. The car is good looking anyway with its own distinctive styling.

The front is prettier than the back, but even the latter hardly leaves you shielding your eyes in horror.

Space and practicality

The boot is deep and broad, although you have to lift your bags over the fairly significant load lip. You’ll find ample space for four adults or two grown-ups at the front and three kids across the 60/40 split rear bench seat. Bungee cord stretched across the backs of the front seats is one of many practical touches. As an everyday car for parents with children it’s excellent.

One caveat is that the lovely, supple perforated leather seats – beige only for Dandy Blue cars – isn’t especially practical if you have children. And the shiny black centre console plastic picks up fingerprints.

Behind the wheel

The diesel is tuned to give you a big hit of torque almost as soon as you press the pedal, which takes a little getting used to but means it feels nippy and powerful around town. You sit high, with excellent visibility and more than enough comfort for most journeys.

SsangYong has engineered the Tivoli with precision. It feels solid, stable and composed at all times and has extremely strong brakes.

But it needs more engine soundproofing with more diesel clatter audible at low speeds than in rival cars.

Value for money

The word ‘astonishing’ comes to mind when describing this car’s value for money. Leather seats, a large touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, reversing camera, 18in alloy wheels, Bluetooth, USB and HDMI inputs are all standard on mid-range EX. All for less than £16,000 with a diesel engine. That’s remarkable.

Who would buy one?

This type of car is fast becoming the new compact family hatchback. As more people choose compact crossovers instead of family hatchbacks, the diversity of buyers only increases. From parents and grandparents who love the pricing and warranty back-up, to younger drivers who want that big car feel for supermini money, the Tivoli’s appeal is obvious.

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Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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