2nd December 2015

SsangYong Tivoli 4x4 - First Drive

SSANGYONG is moving its Tivoli compact crossover to the sharp end of the market with the introduction of a 4x4 range topper.

Using the all-wheel-drive set up from the Korean brand's slightly larger Korando SUV, the latest Tivoli is surprisingly capable.

To show its mettle we drove the Tivoli 4x4 around one of the toughest off-road courses in Britain at the Millbrook Proving Centre in Bedfordshire where it took muddy tracks, some fairly steep gradients and even a bit of wading all in its stride.

That was in a vehicle shod with road tyres which made the performance that more impressive given the sodden surfaces after days of rain.

For most drivers such ability is going to be more than enough and it gives the Tivoli another string to its bow as a value-for-money all-rounder.

Since its launch in the summer the Tivoli has become SsangYong's fastest seller in the UK notching up more than 1,000 sales in only a few months with a 13 model range priced from £12,950.

The 4x4 sits at the top end of the line up and is available either in mid-grade EX trim priced from £17,100 or top specification ELX finish where it costs from £18,500 for a manual or £19,500 for an automatic - a premium of £1,250 over the front wheel drive version.

It is diesel only and that's no bad thing with the 115ps 1.6-litre engine delivering not only an adequate amount of pull but also good fuel economy.

Officially the Tivoli diesel automatic 4x4 is rated at 47.9mpg with emissions of 156g/km and even on the Millbrook off-road course we saw an average of 36 to the gallon - an excellent return given the circumstances - while out on open roads we averaged 40mpg.

Not many automatic 4x4s can deliver that sort of economy and that is a huge plus point for SsangYong.

Pound for pound the Tivoli 4x4 is more than in the mix when pitted against alternatives such as the all-wheel-drive versions of the Mazda CX-3, the Suzuki Vitara and the Skoda Yeti.

Apart from 4WD badges on the doors the Tivoli 4x4 looks no different to any other model in the range.

SsangYong has elected not to pump up the body nor add any protective mouldings and the Tivoli's ground clearance of around 6.5-inches is its only limiting factor.

The approach, departure and ramp angles are in the same league as most SUVs and with the automatic drive system backed up by an electronic lock mode, the degree of traction is above average.

Driving either on or off road is simplicity itself and the automatic systems work out just what is required to give maximum grip.

However, engine braking is limited - even in first gear which on the automatic is selected via a toggle switch on the gearlever - although the ABS and stability systems are up to the job of keeping the car in check.

The most significant 4x4 alteration is a multi-link rear suspension which improves articulation but the installation has reduced boot capacity slightly. Other than that the 4x4 is as roomy inside as the regular family-sized model.

On the road the drive system operates in front-wheel-drive mode under normal conditions and the performance figures of 0 to 60 in 12.3 seconds with a maximum of 107mph are little different to the two-wheel-drive car.

The manual 4x4 - which is not available in the UK until the end of December - is claimed to have even better economy at 60.1mpg, which is 123g/km of CO2, and marginally quicker performance.

For a car costing less than £20,000 and given its specification (ELX grade includes sat nav, keyless operation and climate control), the Tivoli 4x4 is top value as a compact family car that can look after itself when the going gets tough.

Article available here at http://eurekar.co.uk/articles/2015-12-01/ssangyong-tivoli-4x4---first-drive