2015 SsangYong Tivoli
Considering most of TopSpeed’s readership resides in the US, odds are few of you have ever heard of SsangYong. To help you get up to speed, here’s a brief crash course. Founded in the 50s, SsangYong is the fourth largest automaker in South Korea. A few years back, the company was bought by Mahindra and Mahindra Limited, and since then, SsangYong has been busy developing the Tivoli, sinking 42 months of development time and investing 350 billion Korean Won into its creation.
This compact SUV strives to be an entry-level vehicle that sports all the features of a mainstream crossover, but at a more affordable price. Named after the stylish town near Rome, the Tivoli was seen in concept form at four recent international motor shows, and was officially unveiled in Seoul last month.
On the surface, the SsangYong Tivoli appears to have the right combination of flair, equipment and affordability. But it takes a closer look to determine just how well this machine stacks up in a market flooded with competitors.
Click past the jump to read more about the SsangYong Tivoli.
2015 SsangYong Tivoli
Horsepower @ RPM:124 @ 6000
Torque @ RPM:115 @ 4600
0-60 time:10 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:125 mph (Est.)
The Tivoli takes styling cues from the third-generation Korando, one of the marque’s many SUV offerings. The front end is nicely sculpted, with an angular front bumper that recedes back to a slim grille connecting the two headlights. These incorporate LED daytime running lights in the upper portion of the headlight housings. The hood line is wide, moving across pronounced wheel arches on either side.
Moving to the profile, we see a wide C-pillar above rear wheel arches that are even more pronounced than those in the front. The roofline falls back into a wide tailgate, below which sits a centrally mounted rear fog lamp.
A line of chrome trim advances from the rear door across the front door and underneath the windshield, adding a dash of high-end panache. Faux carbon-fiber door mirrors are also evident. The standard wheels are 16-inch, but options include 18-inch alloys and 18-inch diamond-cut wheels.
Safety was one of SsangYong’s main concerns when building the Tivoli, and as such, 40 percent of the body uses advanced high-strength steel. Ten crucial areas of the car benefit from the incorporation of this material, with overall tensile strength increased from 590Mpa to 1500Mpa for greater crash resistance. SsangYong states that the Tivoli has achieved the highest rating possible for AE-MDB side-impact collision tests.
|Length||4,195 MM (165.15 Inches)|
|Width||1,795 MM (70.66 Inches)|
|Height||1,590 MM (62.59 Inches)|
|Wheelbase||2,600 MM (102.36 Inches)|
Connectivity and technological integration are a main focus for the cabin area. With that in mind, the Tivoli’s infotainment was designed to easily interface with smartphones through a standard HDMI connecting cable. Through this system, music is streamed to a premium six-speaker sound system capable of playing numerous file types, including MP3, WAV, WMA, FLAC and APE. You can also play videos on a 7-inch color display screen, which integrates with the back-up camera.
The ergonomic steering wheel has a flat bottom and comes covered in leather, and it’s heated! The instrument cluster is recessed into cylindrical pods, with the hue customizable between six different background colors: red, blue, sky-blue, yellow, black, and white.
There are also three interior trim colors to choose from: black, beige, and red. SsangYong says the red trim was specifically designed to offer a “sportier ambiance.”
This idea is continued with the seats, intended to create a sports-car look and feel, with subtle lateral bolsters and high-quality stitching. These feature full adjustability and recline functions.
Dual-zone climate control includes air conditioning and seven different temperature settings, plus three different modes and a memory function. There’s smart-key entry and locking, and a parking assist system with six sensors, including two in the front and four in the rear.There’s also a tire-pressure monitoring system.
Standard features include a luggage screen, one-touch automatic wiper function, and automatic hazard light activation. Optional equipment includes a safety sunroof, cruise control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlight activation, and an electrochromatic rear-view mirror. Topping it off are alloy pedals, and LED illuminated doorsills.
To help reduce NVH, a double-skin insulated bulkhead sits between the engine bay and the cabin, soaking up any unwanted engine noise.
A total of 423 cubic liters (about 15 cubic feet) of luggage space, enough to carry three golf club bags, makes for easy hauling. If you need more room in the interior, the second row seats fold flat.
Of course, SsangYong is quick to point out further safety features. Seven airbags are in place, while the seat belts feature dual pre-tensioners for even greater protection.
Under the hood of the Tivoli, SsangYong is offering either a gas or diesel powerplant, both with four cylinders and 1.6 liters of displacement. The gasoline option, called the e-XGi160, is a new development for the Korean carmaker. Output is 124 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque. NVH levels are kept at a minimum with features like an advanced timing chain, while the variable induction system helps maintain a balance between fuel economy and performance. An aluminum bedplate and high press die-casting on the bottom of the cylinder block increase strength and durability.
The Tivoli is available with either front- or all-wheel-drive. An available, low-NHV, AISIN six-speed automatic gearbox is one option to route the power down to the pavement, with gear ratios between 0.67 up to 4.04.
Drivers can adjust steering feel through a Smart Steer system with three different presets – Normal, Comfort and Sport. This adjusts the steering quickness and feedback provided by the electronic steering system to help tailor driving preferences. Additionally, the power steering module reduces power consumption by activating only when needed.
Suspension on the Tivoli includes McPherson struts and springs in the front, and a Torsion beam with rear-mounted springs in the back, all complemented by an Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
|Max. power||124 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Max. torque||115 LB-FT @ 4,600 RPM|
|Transmission||6 speed automatic/6 speed manual|
While pricing for the Tivoli has not yet been confirmed for international markets, the vehicle is currently on sale in Korea for 16.3 million Won. That converts to $14,826 at current rates (2/12/15).
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest names in small SUVs out there is the Nissan Juke, which combines funky styling and solid equipment to make one of the best-selling crossovers available. First hitting the road in 2011, the current Juke has recently enjoyed a mid-cycle refresh, with revised exterior styling that includes new xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, a new front bumper, revised LED taillights, a new rear bumper, and three new paint options. New 16-inch, 17-inch, and 18-inch wheel options round out the exterior. Further customization is available from Nissan’s “Color Studio.”
The inside is relatively unchanged, but given the Juke’s excellent cabin appointments, that’s ok. The brightly-colored center console and arm rests look cool, while the infotainment system is top notch. Materials used are high-quality, and the ergonomics of the steering wheel are fantastic. Options include parking assist, a 5.8-inch touchscreen, and satellite radio. Cargo space increases 40 percent to 12.5 cubic feet, while the rear seats can fold down for additional storage.
Power is derived from a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, with 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Both AWD and FWD are available. With an MSRP starting at just under $20,000, this is the one to beat for SsangYong.
In a new generation for the 2014 model year, the Kia Soul is another small SUV from Korea. The boxy exterior design is a bit larger this time around, with a bigger front air intake, a new front grille, revised side mirrors, and subtle fender flares. Seven new exterior colors also join the options list.
Rather than go with overt funkiness like the Juke, the Soul takes a more premium approach to the cabin, with leather, soft-touch materials, and high-gloss piano-black trim. Next to the Nissan, it’s definitely understated but every bit as well-appointed, with a standard six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity and SiriusXM radio, plus an available rear camera display, cooled glove box, and electrochromatic rear mirror.
Engine choices include a base 1.6-liter four-banger with 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, or a 2.0-liter with 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing starts at just $16,015, making this the bargain contender next to the Tivoli.
SsangYong made sure that the Tivoli was every bit as capable as its rivals. The car was tested to the German DIN standards for quality and reliability, which is the same testing used by the premium European car brands. It’s a safe, solid-looking crossover with good standard equipment at an affordable price.
And while it ticks all the right boxes, the Tivoli is stepping into one very crowded segment. It makes the right moves, but it doesn’t really stand out from the masses either. The only thing that will really draw in customers has to be the bargain price.
And that’s a tricky fallback when moving to international markets. A higher import price wouldn’t leave the Tivoli with much to stand on. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the Tivoli finally leaves Korean shores.