At the end of the first day of driving the Tivoli, the response is rather positive to SsangYong’s first-ever compact SUV. I had two people asking me when the review would go online; two passengers and three onlookers lending their approving nods and, to top it all, an eager SMS to check if I had bought the new Ssangyong in my parking lot.
The start looks good for Ssangyong’s best bet to better times.
THE PERFORMANCE: 1.6 L, 6-speed automatic gearbox,126 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 160 Nm torque @ 4600 rpm, 0-100 in 12.0 sec, Test fuel economy: 8.9 km/L
THE SPECS: Seven air bags, Six-sensor obstacle detection system, 7.0 inch display screen, luggage screen
THE DIMENSIONS: 4195 x 1795 x 1590 mm (L x W x H) Wheelbase 2600 mm, Boot space: 423 L
THE PRICE: AED 55,000 to AED 75,000
THE UPSIDE: Clean lines and cute looks, Practicality and right-size, Base trim comes with Parking sensors and Bluetooth
THE FLIPSIDE: Body roll, Not for badge value mongers
The compact SUV segment has recently turned on the spotlight on itself bringing to light a motley crowd of exotic charmers, reformed rogues and better looking plastic. Now, the Ssangyong Tivoli joins the Fiat 500x, the souped up Juke, the uplifted Tucson and the likes.
SsangYong is known for – while this might sound like an overstatement – and respected for the exceptional value it brought into the market with its earlier association with Mercedes. In fact even now, next to where the Tivoli was parked in National Auto, there was a brand new Rexton from a couple of years, bringing back memories of the ML class with a ultra-value price tag!
The link up has rubbed off nicely in that SsangYong, in its own rights, still brings to the table reassuring glimpses of uncompromising detail; a concept to which Hyundai and Kia are still warming up.
SsangYong Tivoli is not about bragging rights. The new SUV elicits appreciation from those who value good sense, plenty of practicality and a reasonably smooth drive. It doesn’t floor you with g-force but neither would you know it is a 1.6 L engine unless you read the specs. The 12.0-second climb to three figure speeds isn’t built on wails and wheezes, and that is a relief!
Tivoli is shorter than a Nissan Tiida but the height and width gives it a squatting stance, which helps in maintaining a grip on the road. As expected, there is under steer and body roll but seriously, you won’t catch me complaining. The car has a way of sharing your gusto and even surprising you with a little more in everything. Even the way the interiors feel to your touch.
There aren’t many examples of the four-wheel drive full option Tivoli, but if you grab that one, it comes with seriously smart, red leather interiors that pales only in front of the Fiat 500X that was parked 10 feet away, and costs a bunch more.
The Tivoli has arguably the cleanest lines to come out of a Korean assembly line recently; quite different from the deliberate approach of Hyundai or Kia – eye-catchy, yet bearing the sweat of the burdened brows of over-briefed designers. Tivoli captures the good bits of Japanese austerity; just the way Rexton carried the residual German manners of contained elegance. Something about it brings to mind the Nissan Juke with a smaller dose of quirk or a Mini Countryman with not as exactly the same cool quotient or the price, for that matter!
Cabin and Controls
From adjusting the air conditioning to choosing gears or dropping the rear seats forward, the Tivoli keeps it simple with the turn of a knob, or the press of a button.
The Tivoli is fitted with seven air bags, a six-sensor obstacle detection system and hazard lights that automatically activate under hard braking. That is very unlike its segment rivals. This compact SUV has not been stingy with things you will appreciate in its cabin. A 7.0” screen with impressive graphic quality comes as standard on EX and ELX trims and the six-speaker stereo sings a better tune than what you expect in a sixties bracket car. The Tivoli is built for the times with Bluetooth, AUX, USB and even HDMI sockets., a luggage screen to segregate and stop spill overs in the boot and automatic washer for the lights,
You can drive the Tivoli at National Auto, located in the Al Ghandi Auto Group complex. Finding the place could mean a missed turn or two, but a test drive is definitely the thing to do.
THE RIVALS: Ford Ecosport, Nissan Juke, Renault Captur