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 revised version.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 46
The SsangYong Tivoli takes the fight to small SUVs like the Nissan Juke and the Renault Captur with budget pricing, a gutsy range of engines and build quality the like of which you wouldn't credit at this price point. It's proved to be SsangYong's breakthrough model.
Backgroundword count: 144
SsangYong's has a problem. It doesn't sell enough cars. Last year its Korean compatriots, Kia and Hyundai, shifted more vehicles in the UK alone than SsangYong does around the entire world. For a car company that competes in the budget sector, moving small volumes is fatal. Even with the financial backing of Indian giant Mahindra and Mahindra, SsangYong knew it had to do something and fast. It had no real experience of building cars in the classes that make the massive numbers, so the Ford Fiesta, the Volkswagen Golf and the rest of their ilk were safe from assault. But what if it could turn its experience in building cost-effective all-wheel drive vehicles to the rapidly-growing crossover sector? Surely it could give cars like the Nissan Juke, the Skoda Yeti and the Renault Captur something to chew on? That's the logic behind this Tivoli.
Driving Experienceword count: 237
The Koreans certainly haven't done things by halves here. This is no cut-down Korando chassis with a bunch of ancient carry-over engines. The Tivoli has had some serious investment thrown at it, and it shows. The chassis is all-new, albeit hardly adventurous in its suspension design, with MacPherson struts up front and a space-efficient torsion beam rear end. There's a choice of two 1.6-litre engines, a 128PS petrol unit and a 115PS diesel and both of them drive only through the front wheels in our market. Through the corners, body control is decent and the steering consistent, if a little light. Fortunately, 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 1.6 petrol unit will get to 62mph in a relatively relaxed 12 seconds and is offered as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. Pay a little more and you can pair this engine with a six-speed automatic, which is the same unit as seen in the latest 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 an automatic Nissan Juke. Move through its cogs though and you'll find long ratios chosen for economy rather than speed.
To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227
Pictures (high res disabled)
Scoring (subset of scores)
Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
|Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.|