SsangYong have a strange history in this country. Once upon a time there were a lot of them floating around, usually with horseboxes attached. Then they stopped being sold in Ireland, just in time for our economic downturn. Then they came back in 2013 and since then their popularity hasn't really been amazing. It's not that they make bad cars, no, they're sturdy-enough machines. It's just that some of their vehicles have been uninspiring. Times are changing for the South Korean brand though. In 2015 they unveiled a new beast to their range. The SsangYong Tivoli. It's good looking, unique, and surprisingly good!
There can’t be any arguing that the Tivoli is the best they've ever made. This car is nearly as appealing as its rivals. It wouldn't perform as well as let's say the Nissan Juke or the new Peugeot 2008, but it certainly isn't a bad alternative.
On the road the Tivoli can be a little shaky, but it's without a doubt the most refined SsangYong that I have driven. Suspension is made up of Torsen beam to the rear and McPherson strut to the front, and these coupled together work well. Things tend to be bendy on corners, but if you lighten the foot it’s a lot smoother. On bumpy surfaces it does get a bit rough - the new Peugeot 2008 for example would be smoother here.
Steering was initially heavy in normal mode, but it was accurate, and cruising in the Tivoli is comfortable. The steering can be altered by choosing from normal, comfort and sport modes - so things do loosen up.
This is certainly the most modern-looking interior that I've seen in a SsangYong. The Tivoli's dash houses an easy-to-use infotainment system. It's responsive to touch and despite the numerous buttons, navigating is handy.
The Tivoli feels a lot less claustrophobic and more spacious than the Nissan Juke and in terms of boot space, this car offers an attractive 423 litres - which is not too shabby. Another nice touch is the fact that three adults can actually fit in row two.
There are two engines available in Ireland; a 1.6 diesel offering 115bhp and a 1.6 petrol with 128bhp. The diesel can be loud, but on-paper it gives a fuel economy return of 4.2 litres per 100km. Our test drive returned 6.2 litres per 100km.
Starting price for the SsangYong Tivoli is €19,995 for the petrol. I would personally opt for the diesel model, which starts from €21,495.
So, the SsangYong Tivoli, it is certainly the best that I've seen from the South Korean manufacturer. It's starting price is attractive and it is worth a look. I like the direction in which SsangYong are going and having recently driven the Tivoli XLV, I think that things can only get better.