09 Sep: SsangYong Tivoli T GDi

… SsangYong Tivoli T GDi …

At less than twenty grand, the SsangYong Tivoli has got to be worth a look for anyone considering the purchase of a compact SUV styled family saloon. In fact the people who are most likely to buy this machine are those who will want a reliable runabout with all the kit they need, and probably a little bit more, for a reasonable price – and not care about prestige or finesse.

It goes well, rides well, and it’s comfortable, but it just lacks a little refinement. It’s as though SsangYong are trying just a bit too hard. The dashboard is too glossy and it reflects the sun quite badly at times (not a regular problem in Scotland though), the warning bings and bongs are a bit too loud and the 6 speed automatic gearbox is a bit on the slow side. However, for the majority of punters, these won’t matter a damn because it has oodles of kit and lots of space.

In fact, it’s a pretty good all-rounder. On a recent trip north to the wilds of Perthshire the 1.5 litre car drove and handled well on a variety of roads and road surfaces including motorways, A, B and C class roads! It’s the not the quickest machine on four wheels but on the speed camera festooned A9, its’ as fast as anything else around it.

Of course, a smooth and comfortable ride is to be expected on better roads, but the Tivoli was a surprise on the more countrified sections. The suspension was on the soft side of comfortable and it soaked up the bumps reasonably well without rolling around on the corners.

The test car was running 18 inch alloys as well which usually doesn’t bode too well for comfort, but the Hankook Ventus Prime rubber was a good match for the car. Even where tractors had been using the road at the exit from fields, there was grip to be had.

So far, nothing remarkable, but where the car scores well is on the interior and the kit supplied as standard. Although the quality of the materials inside the car may not be up to the same standard as some of its compact SUV class rivals, the car is a lot cheaper than the majority of them. You get what you pay for, or maybe not, because the driver aids and information available is on the generous side.

Pitched at just under 20 grand the top of the range spec machine comes with a radio that has iPhone and Bluetooth connectivity, a 7 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and built-in SatNav. Safety features are also plentiful, with front, side and curtain airbags, autonomous braking, automatic door locks and forward collision alerts.

And there’s more. The Tivoli has a ‘Smart Steer’ system operated by a button on the steering wheel which includes a ‘Sport’ mode and also lightens the steering for parking and other manoeuvres. That might seem a bit over the top but there may well be folk out there who will appreciate the extra power assistance in tight spaces.

Yes, there may well be better handling and better equipped cars out there, but they are a lot more expensive. The test car was priced at £20,545, but that was because it had the optional £550 metallic paint job, otherwise it would have been under £20,000. What you get with the Tivoli is a roomy four seater with a pretty decent sized boot and because of its SUV styling, easy to lift baby seats in and out through the back doors. And that seems to be a plus these days!

SsangYong Tivoli T GDi
Review Date:
Price: £20,545 (as tested)
Engine: 1497cc, 4 cylinder turbo petrol with 161 bhp
Performance: 0-62 mph in 10.0 secs, flat out at 108 mph
Economy: 36.7 mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 175 k/gm

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