SOUTH Korean car maker SsangYong has had a rather varied history in the 30 years since they became part of the SsangYong Group which includes links with Mercedes-Benz and some rather bizarre looking models but they are now hoping for a much brighter future following the launch of the new Tivoli compact SUV writes Bryan Longworth.
For Tivoli which competes against rivals like the Nissan Juke and Citroen C4 Cactus has had quite a good reception from motoring writers and in the UK in particular it is a car that could well vastly improve the credibility of the brand - it has also been nominated for the World Car of the Year 2016 which is a first ever for Ssang Yong.
Paul Williams, UK Chief Executive Officer of the firm which is now 74 per cent owned by an Indian company, said the Tivoli was really going to “cause a stir” with its contemporary design, competitive price and five year limitless mileage warranty which no other brand could match.
Williams who has had wide experience in the UK motor industry added that Tivoli is a car that will really put SsangYong on the map and change brand perceptions because of its style, interior finish and value for money.
He could well be right for as well as the pricing and warranty attractions Tivoli has arguably the best styling of any SsangYong model which should attract new buyers to the brand and its Italian name has more appeal than some of the unusual names of earlier SsangYong cars.
My only reservation about the styling of Tivoli is the front of the car because I feel it would have looked even better with a larger grille like the Turismo rather than the one on the new car which is extremely narrow.
Prices for the Tivoli which is available with two and four wheel drive start at £12,950 and there are three trim levels, two 1.6 petrol and diesel engines and six speed manual and six speed automatic transmissions.
The entry level SE has 16” alloy wheels, cruise control, stop/go and Smart steering with three modes and Bluetooth radio with the EX starting at £14,600 which has leather seats, 7” touch screen audio system with rear view camera, heated front seats and the ELX starts from £16,000 with front drive or 4x4 plus front and rear parking sensors and sat nav.
Potential buyers will also be tempted by the five year limitless mileage warranty which includes all the major mechanical components while wearable components such as clutch discs and brake friction materials which are prone to poor driving are covered for one year or 12,000 miles.
SsangYong has also catered for those owners who like to personalise their cars with the My Tivoli personalisation programme which allows customers to create their own distinctive car with such features as a choice of five two-tone colour roof combinations and a red leather pack as well as further engine and drivetrain options.
It is quite clear with Tivoli that the Korean manufacturer is determined to make a sizeable impact on the UK motor market after some of their earlier models failed to capture the imagination of potential buyers.
Other Korean car manufacturers such as Kia and Hyundai have proved that it is possible to crack the UK market in a big way with some very good cars and Tivoli could be the model that will provide SsangYong with a car that could create quite an impact in the compact SUV sector.
Verdict: Tivoli could be a SsangYong game changer.
Model: SsangYong Tivoli.
Engines: 1.6-litre diesel and petrol.
Drivetrain: Two and four wheel drive.
Transmission: Manual and automatic.
Warranty: Five year limitess mileage.
Price: From £12,950.