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YONG AT HEART (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Ssangyong's small SUV, the Tivoli, offers a lot of crossover for the cash. Jonathan Crouch reports on the improved version.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 49
This much improved Ssangyong Tivoli takes the fight to small SUVs like the Nissan Juke and the Renault Captur with budget pricing, a gutsy rejuvenated range of engines and build quality the like of which you wouldn't credit at this price point. It's proving to be Ssangyong's breakthrough model.
Backgroundword count: 114
The Tivoli was the car that launched Ssangyong into the mainstream. Introduced in 2015, this small SUV sold over 50,000 units globally over the next five years and did a fine job in putting its Korean maker on the map. But the compact crossover market has changed dramatically in recent times and going forward, the Tivoli needed to be able to offer more than just high equipment and a low price. The future second generation version of this car will doubtless do that but for the time being, Ssangyong needed to breath some life into the existing model - and has done so here with two fresh petrol engines and a light exterior restyle.
Driving Experienceword count: 255
The original version of this car was a likeable package in its own way, but it was somewhat let down by its rather unremarkable 1.6-litre petrol engine. So it's good news that this unit has in recent years been superceded by a couple of far more up-to-date powerplants. The range now kicks off with a three cylinder 1.2 Gdi-T turbo unit with 128PS, which sits below a four cylinder 1.5 T-Gdi powerplant offering 163PS. The 1.5 petrol unit can be had with the option of auto transmission if you don't want the standard 6-speed manual. But the UK importers continue to ignore the 4WD version of this model that's available in other markets and would, if priced correctly, give the car a rather unique selling point here. This still isn't one of the more dynamically adept cars in its segment but through the corners, body control is decent and the steering consistent, if a little light. You can weight it up by playing with the 'Smart steering' system that SsangYong has decided all models should have, a set-up delivering three self-explanatory modes - 'Normal', 'Comfort' and 'Sport'. The six-speed automatic gearbox is the same Aisin unit used by MINI, albeit with a bit less sportiness built into the shift logic. This auto gearbox is obviously well suited for the city - and smoother than the rather jerky belt-driven CVT auto set-up you'd find in, say, an automatic Nissan Juke. Move through its cogs though and you'll find long ratios chosen for economy rather than speed.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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