Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ssangyong Tivoli

2015 Ssangyong Tivoli

This is Ssangyong's first all new vehicle since its takeover by India's Mahindra & Mahindra four years ago and it's called the Tivoli. A crossover that took its name from a confectionary we remember when we were kids. Sounds sweet but is Ssangyong's compact SUV is as sweeter as the confection where its name took it from? Uh...not quite as you imagine it.

The Tivoli is essentially a production version of two XIV concepts and it's built on the X100 platform. Although a concept turned reality, the design of the Tivoli looks questionable. On the front, it looks like an MG3 but on the back, the rear lamps kinda like it took from the Jaguar XJ. Ssangyong wanted to be somewhat as European as the European compact crossovers but even if you get too far away, you will have less chances to know that it is a Ssangyong on the road and not an MG, unless you're wearing specs.

2015 Ssangyong Tivoli interior

2015 Ssangyong Tivoli interior

The interior of the Tivoli is not half bad considering everything what you expect from an everyday car is in order. There's seating for five, there's a climate control, there's a steering wheel, and everything that a car should have are right here. There is a dial that can change into different colors at the touch of a button and that looks cool. It's like a miniature nightclub from your childhood toybox. And there's more because depending on the variant, the seats are heated and if you're on the chilly Seoul afternoon, you can turn the heated seats on so you can keep yourselves warmer.

The rear seats can be folded down for luggage purposes but sadly, being a compact car, the things you won't fit in are a king-sized mattress or a horizontally-shaped cabinet you bought from the thrift store. Still, it's good enough to store heaps of shopping bags on the go, though.

There was one downside on the inside and this sat-nav system feels more Made In China as those cheap gadgets made from companies you never heard before. It kinda feels cheap, isn't it?

2015 Ssangyong Tivoli
The Tivoli is powered by an e-XGi160 1.6L engine that develops 126PS of power and 16kg-m of torque. That's a lot more than what you get from the Nissan Juke's 1.5L engine and there's more because while the Juke is available with the rather shoddy CVT gearbox, the Tivoli is mated with either a 6-speed manual gearbox (which is quite good) and a 6-speed automatic sourced from AISIN, a Japanese transmission company. Sadly, though, unlike the Juke, the Tivoli has a smaller fuel tank because while the Juke's tank carries 52 litres, the Tivoli carries 47 litres so...that's a downside for Ssangyong there.

In terms of driving experience, the Tivoli is beyond average. Not too good but not too bad. It even has three driving modes such as Comfort that makes it softer, Normal for average, and Sport that makes the suspension firmed up to handle with precision. Sadly though, even in Sport mode, the Tivoli doesn't feel its sporty character at all. And there's another downside as well because despite being an SUV, the Tivoli is available only with front-wheel drive so you might be thinking why would Ssangyong made an SUV that is cheaper than the Korando C but offered only with a commoner drivetrain that we can't take it on day to day use and only limited to urban driving? The whole story is still shrouded in mystery for the Tivoli though.

Should you buy one? The Tivoli is priced at 16,350,000 up to 23,470,000 Korean Won (around $15,000 to $21,500) so that's more reasonably priced than the Nissan Juke so it's somewhat of a bargain for first-time buyers.

Available Colors: Grand White, Silent Silver, Flaming Red, Dandy Blue, Space Grey, Ice Cap Blue, and Techno Grey.

Photo: Ssangyong Motor Company

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