SsangYong Tivoli

Ultimate

SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, front
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, dynamic
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, rear
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, interior
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, controls
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, interior rear
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, detail
SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate, boot

THE startling success of Hyundai and Kia over the last couple of decades has put the South Korean motor industry well and truly on the map.

SsangYong, having been around since 1954, is actually the country's oldest vehicle manufacturer, however, and is currently putting considerable effort into trying to join its counterparts in the limelight.

The Tivoli is key to that ambition and the car that is designed to take 4x4 specialist SsangYong into the mainstream.

It is an attractively designed, family-friendly compact SUV that goes head-to-head with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Suzuki Vitara and Renault Captur - but costs a lot less, with prices starting from £13,495.

The budget price does mean some compromises, of course, but the Tivoli is undoubtedly Ssangyong's best car to date.

Power for the range comes from either a 1.6 litre petrol or diesel engine which, depending on version, is mated to a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, while higher spec oil-burners can also be had with four-wheel drive.

There are three basic trim levels - SE, EX and ELX - and all come well equipped for the price but those after something a little different can currently also choose from two limited editions.

Diesel buyers can opt for the Red Edition, which, as the name suggests, adds eye-catching red interior highlights to range-topping ELX trim, while for those who prefer petrol power orders are now open for the recently unveiled Ultimate Edition.

Costing £17,495, or £18,745 for the automatic, this version uniquely features an electrically operated and ventilated driver's seat, heated steering wheel and enhancements to the front including LED fog lamps. Further differences to the standard car include a repositioned handbrake and minor changes to the switchgear.

For an extra £400 you can also add the Style package to get a distinctive contrasting black or white roof with matching spoiler and wing mirrors.

Other equipment is, again, based on ELX versions and includes leather upholstery, keyless entry and ignition, parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control, seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, navigation, alloy wheels and dual-zone air conditioning.

All of this, coupled with the generous interior space, makes this Tivoli a very pleasant car to travel in.

There's ample head and leg room for five adults to get comfortable on all but the longest journeys and plenty of personal storage for all of their belongings while the finish shows a marked improvement over previous SsangYongs, with more soft touch surfaces.

The boot, at 423 litres, is also on of the biggest in class and load capacity rises to 1,115 litres with the 60/40-split rear seats folded down - although this will leave a step in the load bay floor.

A supple set-up is geared towards comfort and, although this means some body lean in corners, the ride is largely smooth and comfortable with potholes and other obstacles being dealt with well.

Smart steering can be switched between comfort, normal and sport modes to cater for urban or open-road motoring and makes this a simple and straightforward car to drive, if not an overly engaging one.

In similar vein the 128ps petrol power pack, which doesn't have the benefit of a turbocharger, is more suited to laid back, steady progress rather than urgent bursts of acceleration, especially when paired with the automatic transmission, which can be a little slow to react to sharp throttle inputs.

It's also worth noting that opting for the automatic gearbox does have an impact on fuel economy, with a claimed 39.2mpg on average compared to 44.1 for the manual and this, generally, is still an area where SsangYong have a little catching up to do.

Nevertheless, the bargain price goes some way to offsetting higher fuel bills and you'll struggle to find another car as well-equipped as this special edition for the money.

FAST FACTS

SsangYong Tivoli Ultimate

Price: £18,745

Mechanical: 128ps, 1,597cc petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic transmission

Max Speed: 99mph

0-62mph: 11.0 seconds

Combined MPG:39.2

Insurance Group:18D

C02 emissions: 167g/km

Bik rating: 34%

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