SsangYong Tivoli XLV

- First Drive

SsangYong Tivoli XLV, front, static
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, side, action
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, driving
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, side
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, interior
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, front
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, rear
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, nose
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, tail
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, gear lever
SsangYong Tivoli XLV, seats

SOUTH Korean car maker SsangYong is best known for producing affordable SUVs and rugged off-road motors with go-anywhere attributes, many of them 4x4s.

But last year the brand broke into the compact SUV market with the Tivoli - a value for money all-rounder which has proved something of a hit.

Already the Tivoli has become the company's most successful product with sales topping 64,000 around the world.

Now SsangYong has gone a step further by launching a stretched model, the Tivoli XLV to provide even more carrying capacity and practicality and it will be on sale in the UK in July.

According to SsangYong, XLV stands for Exciting Lifestyle Vehicle and the extra dimensions, updated styling and above-average list of useful and practical standard equipment should appeal to those looking for value for money.

The XLV shares the same platform and wheelbase as the regular Tivoli but is almost 10 inches longer which results in the load capacity being increased to 720 litres - up from 423 litres.

To create even more room the UK version comes without a spare tyre but with a tyre inflation kit as standard.

In the UK the XLV will be a five-seater and the additional interior space means that six-footers in the back will have plenty of head and legroom.

With the rear seats folding flat it is an ideal vehicle for lugging baby buggies and cots for small children, bikes and golf clubs for the sports-minded, and materials or business equipment during the working week.

It has also been produced with safety in mind and it includes front, side and curtain airbags plus a driver's knee airbag, a multi-function Electronic Stability Program, Active Rollover Protection, Brake Assist, Hill Start Assist and ESS (Emergency Stop Signal) and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Under the bonnet the Tivoli XLV has 1.6-litre diesel engine with the option of a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic with the choice of two or four-wheel-drive.

SsangYong claims the 115bhp turbocharged power unit produces just 117g/km of CO2 on the two-wheel-drive version with manual gearing and stop-start, and will return around 63mpg on a combined run.

Top speed for the XLV is 109mph and 0-62mph comes up in 12sec.

On the test drive I found the power acceptable, if not exciting, and it coped with the motorway stretches adequately with overtaking made easy but with a fair bit of noise from the transmission and engine note.

On country roads, despite this being a fair-sized motor, it cornered pretty well at speed with just a bit of body roll.

Despite having three settings for the steering weight I didn't find much difference in feel. Road noise is well suppressed, but I found a bit of wind noise at high speed.

The cabin is a pleasant enough with very supportive seats up front, a good front and rearward view, and most of the controls are easy to reach and understand.

The quality of the materials used on the latest SsangYong is a step up for the brand and everything has a much more substantial feel to it.

Where the XLV scores heavily against the competition in this sector is the huge amount of standard equipment.

It includes dual-zone air conditioning, and infotainment system with RDS radio, seven-inch touch screen, USB/AUX port, iPad and Bluetooth connectivity, TomTom sat nav, rear-view camera, cruise control, parking sensors front and rear, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, keyless entry and tinted glass to name but a few.

Another plus point, which will appeal to those opting for the XLV, is its five-year limitless mileage warranty.

All major mechanical components are covered including wheel bearings, suspension joints and bushes, steering joints, shock absorbers and even the audio system.

Wearable components such as clutch discs and brake friction materials which could have their life reduced by poor driving are covered for one year or 12,500 miles, and the battery and paintwork for three years.

In my opinion the new SsangYong motor is well worth considering. The amount of standard kit on it is probably second to none in its sector, the built quality is much improved on previous SsangYong products and, although the price has yet to be confirmed, it will probably be around £17,500 which is a lot of motor for that price.

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