It is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in the small SUV market. This lucrative market is being populated by more and more manufacturers launching new models and vying for sales. Being the new kid in town can mean one will have to prove a lot before gaining the trust and respect of the locals, SsangYong being the new kid aims to change all that with The Tivoli. The new crossover takes its name from Tivoli, the Italian town near Rome with a reputation for style.

The Tivoli compact crossover attempts to push SsangYong sales to a new level. It slots into the hard-fought small crossover market, where a growing glut of supermini-sized cars with SUV styling are battling for sales. The Tivoli is the smallest SsangYong yet and the firm has taken great effort to make it attractive to buyers wanting some style with their purchase.


For the general public the design and aesthetic styling can be more important than the raw performance figures, and the Tivoli excels when it comes to design. The Tivoli in terms of aesthetics and design is a well-polished piece of machinery. The metal exterior is sculpted with accents and lines that accentuate a sporty look appropriate for a crossover SUV.

Much of the attractive styling is due to its strong and aggressive theme. The nose of the Tivoli features sculpted lines also seen in the car’s muscular front and rear wheel housings. To add to that is the aggressive rear bumper and the 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Beyond the muscular look is balance, achieved by the addition of the centrally-mounted rear fog lamp.

The eye-catching projector headlights with LED daytime running lights (DRLs), sloping roofline, distinct C-pillar design and upright taillights make the car standout from the rest. Squint at the front and it has a hint of Range Rover’s Evoque about it.


Tivoli proves that you don’t have to compromise on space. Unusually for this class of car, you can fit three adults across the back bench easily. Even without sliding the back seats, the boot will accommodate 423 liters of stuff, making the car one of the more useful of its kind. Getting in and out is easy thanks to the raised seating level.

For the technophiles, the Tivoli comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment that supports AM/FM radio, CD, Bluetooth, Aux, USB and Mirror Link. The screen itself is surprisingly user-friendly and slick; it responds well to finger inputs, and while it’s not the most feature-packed it does enough for most needs. The instrument cluster is also very good with the illuminated dials being easy to read and are finished in a white-red hue. Also present is a multi-information display (MiD) that shows average or instantaneous fuel consumption, outside temperature and tripmeter.


The Tivoli’s engines have been specially developed by SsangYong’s parent company Mahindra and are completely new. It gets a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine. The snappily-named e-XGi 160 1.6-litre petrol unit delivers 128bhp at 6,000rpm. SsangYong fits a six-speed manual gearbox as standard on the Tivoli and has another option for a six-speed automatic in Nepal. The shift is slightly long-winded but it’s positive and with a nice weight to it. Its long gear ratios have been chosen for economy rather than speed.

The Tivoli has had some serious investment thrown at it, and it shows. The chassis is all-new, albeit hardly adventurous in its suspension design, with MacPhersonstruts up front and a space-efficient torsion beam rear end. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up the kind of bumps you tend to encounter on roads and motorways.

SsangYong’s also introducing a selectable weight steering system with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. For city streets that greatly vary in traffic depending on the time, the Comfort setting would be best. When out of town, or without traffic, the Sport mode would be a good change especially since it tightens up the electric power steering wheel for a more enthusiastic and professional driving style.


A total of 7 airbags are deployed around the cabin- the most in this SUV class with even a knee airbag which is designed to prevent possible injuries to driver’s knees in the event of serious collision. The Tivoli also has “Electronic Brake Force Distribution” with anti-lock brakes which distributes braking power according to which wheels are braking most effectively at the time.

Modern features like Electronic Stability Program and Parking sensors are welcome inclusions here. The Tivoli also has the ISOFIX child seat safety system that helps to give the passengers a peace of mind when travelling with a child.


For starters, it’s very stylish and has a decent engine. There’s plenty of interior space and has top notch safety features. Overall you can put aside your reservations about the SsangYong badge, because the Tivoli is a thoroughly capable small crossover. It won’t win awards for ride comfort or refinement, but you get a lot of space and kit for the price you pay.

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