Korean automaker SsangYong has been quite busy in our market. It’s no longer a miracle to see one of its models on the road on a daily basis. And more and more often, we’re seeing a new crossover with a stretched rear end, a petrol engine and front-wheel drive only. Yes, we’re talking again about the SsangYong Tivoli Grand, which we’ve already had back in the newsroom for a test drive once before. Let’s have a second round of testing…
As you may have noticed, the Tivoli Grand is sort of an extended version of the default crossover, and actually looks like a regular Tivoli with a backpack. The Grand version measures 4,480 mm in length and is therefore more than 25 centimetres longer. The width of 1810 mm is the same for both models and the height differs only slightly, with the Grand measuring 1646 mm, or 1660 mm with roof rails.
The wheelbase lengths of 2660 mm, the front and rear wheelbases and also the value of the front overhang are identical. The boot is therefore the biggest beneficiary of the extension, offering a boot capacity of 720 litres in the base configuration, more than double that of the standard Tivoli. With the second row of seats folded down, it will then offer a superb 1,440 litres. A small van?!
Or not. If you’re expecting an easily usable space when you open the fifth door, you’ll be disappointed at first. The boot is very choppy and the litres gain rather in height. The area from the load lip to the backs of the second-row seats measures just 80 centimetres and is just over 100 centimetres wide.
The loading edge is quite high, and the flat floor of the double floor leaves room on the sides for two deep pockets where you can place smaller items that would otherwise travel around your trunk. For carrying essentials, however, the luggage compartment is amply sufficient. Folding down the second row of seats, which unfortunately can’t be done from the trunk area, also gives you a nearly flat area.
We already know the interior and so we know that soft plastics are scarce here, and in general you can feel the car’s focus on a lower price. However, we do find some interesting texture on the door panels, for example. The workmanship is of a very good standard and nothing squeaks anywhere. Seat space is generous, and that goes for the rear bench as well. The all-round view from the car is exemplary too, and as the rear window is now a quarter of a metre further back than in the Tivoli, a reversing camera will help with the view when parking. It may not have who-knows-what resolution, but the image is more than adequate, and of course it has rendered lanes for easier driving.
There are big, clear buttons for everything, and after a few days you’ll hopefully learn to drive the car blind. As part of the Style+ option, which you don’t pay much for, you can also enjoy dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and windscreen, and wireless phone charging.
The more demanding user may be a little put off by the outdated and too austere graphics of the infotainment, which is otherwise very snappy. However, the digital dashboard delivers great graphics in contrast. It looks great, has a number of displays and each one is clear. If we wanted to compare the Tivoli, to price-related competition, then the Dacia Sandero, for example, comes to mind. If you’ve ever sat in the new generation, I’m sure you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt that it’s actually a compliment. But the Tivoli Grand has more equipment options and better handling too.
Only one engine can be chosen to power the Tivoli Grand, and it is the four-cylinder 1.5 GDI Turbo petrol engine with 120 kW (163 hp), which can get the 1,350 kg (1,350 lb) car up to 175 km/h (175 mph). It’s got pep from lower revs, and once the turbo is properly revved, overtaking and holding higher speeds on the motorway is a breeze. It feels best in quiet use, it is then also very quiet and behaves in a refined manner. At 130mph on the motorway, it spins at just under 2500rpm.
The engine is one of a car’s greatest strengths, but its gas mileage is not. But when you combine the not-so-aerodynamic body shape, the turbo engine with no hybrid helpers, and the classic hydromesh automatic transmission, it becomes clear. The average ranged from 8.5 to 11 litres per 100km. After a proper run-in, the engine’s individual components may still sit together, but even so, you can’t expect much better numbers. The 50-litre fuel tank lasts for around 500km of range.
The Tivoli Grand’s chassis tuning is very comfortable. On a good road, it just floats and rocks easily. But it has almost no lateral roll compensation, so watch out for cornering speeds. It can lurch nicely sideways and the seat, with no significant lateral guidance, doesn’t hold you up very well. Even on worse roads the damping is very good, but when the road is really rutted, you may be surprised by a strong thud from the shock stops.
A strong link and a big plus are the brakes, whose high effect is well dosed. The Tivoli Grand is a car for rather quiet drivers who will drive slowly and be gentle on the car. Then its overall refinement will certainly surprise them. The only minus for some may be the impossibility of all-wheel drive, which paradoxically the short version offers.
The SsangYong Tivoli Grand costs €17 290 in base trim. Equipment is good, but if you want, for example, 2-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, or tinted windows, you can reach for the Style+ package for €17 790, or you can get the Sport package for €1890, which adds 18-inch wheels to the above. You can then add the Tech pack for €850 and the Safety pack for the same amount. It includes wireless phone charging, automatic high beam control, rain sensor, keyless car unlocking or an interior rear view mirror with auto-dimming and various assistants. White is the standard colour, or you can reach for one of five metallic colours for an extra €490. For a fully equipped car, you’ll pay just €22 450, which is a great deal in today’s competition.
The Tivoli Grand is a great offer for families but also for older and quieter drivers who still want to treat themselves to a new car that will take them around for a while. With SsangYong, it certainly won’t be a bad choice.