SsangYong Tivoli XLV Review: At a Stretch
by Sue Baker
The Korean company is known for its budget crossover-SUVs, and now there’s a stretched version of the Tivoli, the XLV.
With its tongue-twisting, double-S-fronted brand name, Ssangyong sounds more like an exotic snake than a car company. Then there’s the model name. What have gardens in Copenhagen, or a town in Italy, got to do with a car built in Korea, you might well ask.
Even so, the SsangYong Tivoli has won a following as a practical compact crossover-SUV at a relatively budget price. It isn’t the best-looking car of its kind, but it is friendly to drive and more affordable than most rivals.
There’s the slightly cringe-y slogan ‘I lov it’ – Tivoli backwards – on a rear window sticker to contend with, as well as a not over-generous boot, but the chunky little SsangYong is a likeable and practical car at a reasonable price.
Longer and bigger
Which brings us to the Tivoli’s bigger brother, and most recent addition to SsangYong’s now five-model range. Essentially an extended version of the Tivoli, the XLV has been lengthened behind the rear wheels by 245 mm, just under 10 inches. As a result, boot space has jumped from the standard Tivoli’s 423 litres to a significantly better 720 litres.
To put that in context, it’s only 50 litres less than the boot of that whopper of an SUV, an Audi Q7. So it gives the XLV a worthwhile advantage over its major rivals, notably the Nissan Juke, Suzuki Vitara and Skoda Yeti, none of which can match the XLV’s luggage capacity.
When you fold down the back row of seats, the stretched SsangYong has a van-like carrying capacity. Big flat-packs from that Swedish furniture supermarket, a chest of drawers bought on Gumtree or a pair of bikes for a leisure trip? The XLV will swallow any of them.
The car’s all-up weight is around one and a half tonnes, and its engine is a 1.6 diesel. So as you’d expect, it’s not the fastest sprinter on the road but has decent performance for the type of car it is. Its 0-62 mph acceleration time is a pretty average 12 seconds, and it’s a perfectly competent motorway cruiser.
The handling won’t thrill you, but it’s grippy enough and tucks into the bends pretty well. Ride quality is adequately cushioning, and it takes a pretty severe pothole to unsettle the car’s general equilibrium.
You could wish for a bit more feel and communicative feedback in the steering, but it’s no worse in this respect than comparative models. The general driving experience is pleasantly competent, and a lot better than other SsangYong models that pre-date the Tivoli and XLV.
As well as a generosity of space, the XLV comes pretty well equipped with standard kit that makes its keen pricing looks even better value. All of these are included: leather interior, heated front and rear seats, dual-zone climate control, TomTom satnav, cruise control, reversing camera, seven airbags and an array of electronic safety aids.
There’s no seven-seat option, sadly, even though there looks enough room in that long tail for a third seat row. The other disappointment is the auto transmission, which feels a bit slow-witted despite adding £1,000 to the price, so we prefer the six-speed manual model.
The XLV is around £1,000 dearer than the shorter standard Tivoli, and worth it for the extra space and practicality. There’s a four-wheel-drive version, if you need that capability and don’t mind dearer running costs. There’s a bonus in the SsangYong warranty, which lasts for five years with no mileage limit, making it one of the best available on a new car, bettered only by Kia.
SsangYong Tivoli XLV Stats Review
Model tested: Tivoli XLV ELX auto
Top speed: 107 mph
0-62 mph: 12.0 secs
Economy: 47.9 mpg
CO2: 154 g/km
Images: Sue Baker
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