Tivoli 1.2 GDI-T Ventura
everybody wants to drive a
humungous SUV. Dont
take our word
for it; just count the sheer number
of compact SUVs on sale today
and while youre
at it, you might want
to add SsangYongs
latest Tivoli to
WORLDS COLLIDE IN THIS hard-fought sector of the market with price and
kit in a perpetual tug-of-war with looks and ability. So where does that leave
the Tivoli? Actually, in a rather good place. Fresh from a recent makeover that
saw a styling refresh, upgraded cabin with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment
system and some new petrol engines, SsangYong's compact SUV is good to go.
The engines first: two new turboed petrol engines have joined the 1.6-litre
diesel as under-the-clamshell-bonnet choices. On the petrol side of the fossil-fuelled
divide are a 126bhp 1.2-litre three-pot and, with an extra cylinder, and a 161bhp
1.5-litre with an optional six-speed autobox. A six-speed manual gearbox is
the default no hardship because of its positive change action.
the Tivoli crafts its own individual look not easy given the glut of
mini-SUVs clamouring for your attention and patronage. But this SsangYong does,
utilising styling cues such as bold yet subtle wheelarches to emphasise its
well-planted stance and a 'floating' roof effect created by blacked-out A- and
B-pillars that leave the stronger C- pillar above the muscular rear haunches
to visually anchor the flat roofline to the main body. Skilfully cut-in LED
tail light units add a graceful flourish to the distinctive tail treatment.
The result is a well-dressed, contemporary look-that catches the eye, more than
ever when finished in white or Dandy Blue.
driving position is
spot-on; the clear view
down the bonnet imparts
an easy sense of where
the four corners are.
And the glasshouses flat
roofline not only boosts
headroom but also allows
a deeper rear screen,
so theres an informed
view in the rearview
mirror of whats going
on behind you.
The on-trend flat-
bottomed steering wheel
comes with perforated leather work areas and
a heated rim this truly
does make a difference,
not only when the
temperate drops but also
keeping fingers flexible
on long journeys...
Inside you'll find more than a pinch of pizzazz in the upgraded cabin, its likeable
ambiance enhanced by interesting trim finishes: 'carbon weave' on door panels
and plenty of high-gloss piano black finishing. SsangYong's smallest car it
is but it still packs in more than you might expect.
The heated front chairs are long-distance comfy, accommodating and smartly upholstered
in a TPU faux leather/cloth mix and serve up three-stages of heat. The driver's
seat is height adjustable and even when set for the average adult there's still
enough room to wear a big hat plus elbow room, both inner and outer, is also
The driving position is spot-on; the clear view down the bonnet imparts an easy
sense of where the four corners are. And the glasshouse's flat roofline not
only boosts headroom but also allows a deeper rear screen, so there's an informed
view in the rearview mirror of what's going on behind you. The on-trend flat-bottomed
steering wheel comes with perforated leather work areas and a heated rim
this truly does make a difference, not only when the temperate drops but also
keeping fingers flexible on long journeys.
Remote controls on the wheel operate the phone, media and cruise control plus
clear-cut conventional AirCon buttons and rotary knobs will be appreciated by
many drivers who prefer these to stabbing at a touchscreen while driving. In-cabin
storage? Yes, and plenty of it too with a large glovebox, deep door bins that
really do hold bottles, a box under the centre armrest large enough for an iPad,
a drop-down case for your shades, and dual-use siamesed cupholders alongside
the trad-style handbrake.
The main infotainment touchscreen is a user-friendly eight-incher that responds
well to finger-taps and comes with a DAB+ radio with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity
and six speakers. A linked-in rear-view camera is also part of the package.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are particularly welcome because, unlike its
range-topping Ultimate trim sister, the Ventura doesn't get a built-in SatNav
so it's a case of using Waze or another smartphone navi app when you want directions.
instrument panel's clear white-on-black dials bookend a driver's information
panel showing a large digital roadspeed readout and also incorporates traffic
sign recognition with a handy on-screen warning should you exceed (as if!) the
the drift away from
diesel now irreversible,
the Tivolis two new
engines are timely,
particularly in more
urban landscapes where
petrol pair come
into their own. Officially
the 1.2-litre three-pot
is good for 40.4mpg;
our hard-driven week
with it saw us record a
test average of 34.6mpg
so most ordinary
drivers should expect
to see around the 40mpg
The mid-range Ventura is generously specced and many of its standard 'toys'
are extra-cost items on rivals. The main eight-inch touchscreen infotainment
system is joined by keyless entry with an engine Start button, AirCon, rearview
camera, front and rear parking sensors, tinted glass, cruise control, selectable
steering weighting, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB+, Bluetooth, auto headlights,
rain-sensing wipers, heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, four
electric windows (the driver gets one-shot auto down), drive-off auto door locking,
LED front fogs, and a set of 16-inch alloy wheels.
You will also feel protected by the Tivoli: all versions get forward collision
warning with autonomous emergency braking, seven airbags/curtains (including
one for the driver's knee), electronic stability programme, active rollover
protection, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition,
tyre pressure monitoring, driver attention alert, hill start assist, hill descent
control, front and rear LED daytime running lights, high beam assist for automatic
dipping at night, and height-adjustable front belts, plus there's an Euro NCAP
four-star safety rating.
For some cars in this class rear passenger comfort appears to be something of
an afterthought. Not so in the Tivoli. For a start the raised seating level
and wide opening doors make for hassle-free entry and exit. And once you're
seated the space is up there with the best of its peers and accommodates real-world
grown-ups: a six-footer can travel at ease behind a similarly tall adult so
for those likely to use their rear seats for people and not just shopping, this
is one of the best.
Three side-by-side is doable but two will most certainly travel cordially. A
full fist of headroom is unexpected but very welcome and it gets better
the 60:40-split backrests offer two recline positions, the padded drop-down
central armrest has built-in cupholders and there are long outer armrests, bottle-holding
door pockets and, for the children, Isofix fitting to the rear outer seats.
of compact SUVs aren't looking for Porsche-level performance but they do want
to be comfortable. Which means not just good seats and a decent ride but some
refinement too. The Tivoli obliges: most of the time you're not aware of the
three-pot's soundtrack and the cabin remains calm, while in the ride department
it delivers pretty much what its peers do. Sure you're aware of the biggest
ruts but even so they're not a problem and the ride is generally fine.
some cars in this
class, rear passenger
comfort appears to be
something of an
afterthought. Not so
in the Tivoli.
The raised seating and
wide opening doors make
for hassle-free entry
and exit. And once
seated the space
is up there with the best
of its peers; a six-footer
can travel at ease behind
a similarly tall adult...
We certainly didn't have any complaints or hear any from our passengers
and many of the back lanes and 'cart tracks' we needed to use every day were
pretty trying. Running on motorways, the Tivoli just cruises along with 70mph
calling for just 2,000 revs in top gear.
With the drift away from diesel now irreversible, the Tivoli's two new engines
are timely, particularly in more urban landscapes where SsangYong's perky petrol
pair come into their own. Officially the 1.2-litre three-pot is good for 40.4mpg;
our hard-driven week with it saw us record a test average of 34.6mpg so most
ordinary drivers should expect to see around the 40mpg mark.
The turboed petrol unit is not short on torque and is keen to work; it's gutsy
enough to let lazy drivers get away with late down-changes (thanks to decent
pick-up in the higher gears) although there's no excuse for changing on time
because the six-speed stick shift is neat to use, having a close gate and accurate
throw that's polished on the move.
Suspension-wise the Tivoli makes do very nicely thank you with a McPherson strut
set-up at the front and a Torsen beam suspension at the tail. We spent our week
with the Tivoli in the depths of Devon where away from the 'Devon Expressway'
straight roads are hard to come by. Zigzagging country lanes are the order of
the day and some locals would have you believe they were specifically designed
to deter caravan-towing tourists.
on road like these you'll be glad the Tivoli has one of the tightest turning
circles in its class. It feels reassuringly capable with well managed body control
and grip, smooth biting brakes, and the electric power steering is consistent,
making it easy to punt around the winding lanes on cross country routes. Back
on major A-roads the Tivoli romps along feeling composed. All-in-all, a safe-handing
and pleasant-to-drive small SUV.
tailgate swings up
easily and sits high
for easy access to the
Tivolis 393-litre boot
an ample sufficiency, as
they say, plus it will
happily swallow three
Drop the 60:40-split
backrests and youll
have the use of a
completely level, flat-
tailgate swings up easily and sits high for easy straightforward access to the
Tivoli's 393-litre boot an ample sufficiency, as they say, plus it will
happily swallow three golf bags! Drop the 60:40-split backrests and you'll have
the use of a completely level, flat-floored 967-litre loadbay.
Another nice touch is the dedicated storage slot for the roller blind luggage
cover when it's not in use; bag hooks and a power socket can also be taken for
granted. And if you need to haul a trailer the front-wheel drive Tivoli will
pull a braked 1,000kg.
If you want a compact crossover/SUV you're spoilt for choice. Choose the SsangYong
and with its practical and accommodating cabin space, well-stocked kit-list
and easy driveability, plus a peace-of-mind seven-year/150,000-mile warranty,
you can be sure the Tivoli will be satisfying to own. The reversed 'I LOV IT'
sticker in the rear screen says it all ?TI TEG. ~ MotorBar
SsangYong Tivoli 1.2 GDI-T Ventura
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 10.6 seconds | Test Average: 34.6mpg
Power: 126bhp | Torque: 170lb ft | CO2: 158g/km