SsangYong Tivoli road test

Posted on December 6th, 2016 by James Luckhurst

The likeable Tivoli with added length, bigger boot, and better practicality

SsangYong Tivoli road test

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What is it?

A budget-brand SUV with elastication. The Tivoli XLV is South Korean car maker SsangYong’s newest model, essentially the likeable Tivoli crossover stretched longer for extra boot space and more practicality.

How safe is it?

It hasn’t been tested yet by Euro NCAP, so there’s no confirmation of its crash test performance, but it does come well equipped with seven airbags, including one for the driver’s knees.

Who should buy one?
Someone with a family, who needs a big boot for carrying lots of kit. Not a badge snob, though, plus you mustn’t mind a cheesy reverse-Tivoli ‘ILOVIT’ tailgate sticker.

Road test by Sue Baker 6 December 2016



SsangYong Tivoli road test

With a 1.6-litre diesel engine in a car that weighs just under one and a half tonnes, the Tivoli XLV is a robust performer that won’t quicken your pulse, but it drives very pleasantly and does an efficient job as a roomy and comfortable family transporter. It isn’t exciting to drive, but it’s mannerly and likeable.

Performance is quite brisk, with enough mid-range oomph for an overtaking manoeuvre when you need it. The engine has a 113bhp power output and 221lb ft of torque. The 0-62 mph acceleration time is a fairly average 12 seconds, and with a top speed of 108mph it has ample in reserve for relaxed cruising at the UK legal limit. At urban pace the engine isn’t particularly intrusive although you are aware of it doing its job, but when you work it harder across country it becomes quite a bit more vocal and is noisier than the engines in other brands’ rival models.

Most buyers will go for the front-wheel-drive version like our test car, and it behaves agreeably, handles quite tidily, has reasonable grip and a mostly civilised ride. It is sprung to smooth out most surface undulations tolerably well with adequate cushioning, and is only ruffled by the more severe bumps in the road surface. The front-wheel-drive XLV rides slightly better than the 4×4 model, although there’s not much in it.

It’s disappointing that the steering isn’t more pert, it’s a bit short on communicative feedback. It is quite nicely weighted, though. The test car’s auto gearbox is a bit disappointing, with changes that aren’t always where you’d choose, and it can be a bit slow to respond. Unless you’re really sold on auto, the manual is a better bet with a slick-action six-speed ‘box that suits the car much better, as well as saving £1,000.

SsangYong Tivoli road test
This is the Tivoli XLV’s key asset, good interior space and a particularly big boot. Although it is on the same wheelbase as a standard Tivoli, the XLV’s body is almost 25cm longer, and it makes a big difference in carrying capacity. While its smaller sibling has a pretty reasonable 423 litres of boot room, the XLV has a whopping 720 litres, which is only 50 litres less than an Audi Q7.
When the back seats are folded down, it’s like a van with windows, with a big enough load area to ferry home a large chest of drawers or a couple of bikes. The boot lip is quite high, as is typical of this type of car, so it’s a bit of a lift to load in heavy items. There’s no spare wheel, just a tyre inflation kit for dealing with a puncture, which some may find a bit inconvenient. Overall, though, it’s a space ace of a car.

SsangYong Tivoli road test

Seven airbags is a good starting point, and there’s a standard stability control system to help keep the car in line if there’s a risk of skidding. It also has brake assist, hill start assist, active rollover protection and automatic hazard warning activation in an emergency stop. There are plans to add active city braking before it undergoes crash testing for Euro NCAP, which hasn’t happened yet so there’s no star rating to judge it by.

SsangYong Tivoli road test

The XLV comes well-equipped with standard kit, including dual-zone climate control, cruise control, TomTom satnav, leather upholstery, a rear-view camera for reversing, and heated front seats in the back as well as the front. There is only one trim level, and that’s high-spec ELX. What’s rather surprisingly missing, though, is an extra pair of seats at the back. Despite the extra length and big boot, it’s five-seater only, with no seven-seat option.


SsangYong Tivoli road test

The standard Tivoli is good value and so is this longer XLV model, which costs £1,000 more than its smaller sibling. With a price range from £18,250 to £20,500, the XLV looks reasonable value for money. Carbon dioxide outputs range from 117 to 154g/km. The auto transmission costs £1,000 over the manual version. It has the standard SsangYong five year, unlimited mileage warranty, which is more generous than on most other cars.

The likeable Tivoli with added length, bigger boot, and better practicality

Price: £19,250 as tested
Performance: 0-62mph in 12.0 seconds
Economy: 57.6mpg combined
Insurance: Group 20
Tax: Band G (£185 first year)

Figures for Tivoli XLV ELX auto