► Big-booted Tivoli XLV tested
► Majors on space and value
► Diesel auto costs less than £20k
Creating new niches is normally a job for German manufacturers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Now, however, Korean brand SsangYong is at it with its new Tivoli XLV, which is described as an ‘SUV estate’.
In other words, it’s an extended version of the distinctive Tivoli crossover that offers more boot space.
Does it look better in the metal?
Yes. It is slightly ungainly – that rear end is pretty bulbous – but its sheer bulk is concealed fairly well, thanks to SsangYong’s use of various creases, angles and differing colours to break everything up.
It’s not going to win any beauty contests, but it certainly stands out – and its increased storage space will appeal if you’re looking for something to deal with everyday family duties and trips away at the weekend.
What’s it like inside?
Quite pleasant. The XLV is only offered in one trim level, dubbed ELX, which comes with plenty of equipment. Standard features include heated leather seats, a reversing camera and a responsive 7-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav.
There’s plenty of space, too. The extra 238mm in length, compared to the regular Tivoli, going straight into the tail. SsangYong claims an impressive 720-litre capacity, but that’s measured to the roof – most will be interested in the 576-litre capacity to the load cover. And if you want to fit something like a bike in, the rear seats fold flat.
It’s bigger and heavier. Has it ruined the drive?
Not really. The regular Tivoli is no sports car, but the bigger XLV retains the light steering and perky 1.6-litre diesel engine, although the extra weight means it has a tendency to roll more prominently in corners. It will easily wash wide, too, if you press on – but then few are likely to go barrelling around in an XLV.
The only thing that really lets it down is the automatic gearbox. It’s fine when trundling around, but it kicks down too many gears too easily, leading to the diesel engine being very vocal when you call for prompt acceleration. Still, its 221lb ft provides plenty of punch for overtaking when the most appropriate ratio finally hits home.
If you’re not troubled by the looks of the normal Tivoli, but you need something a little more practical, then you’ll like the XLV. It makes great sense if you need lots of space, and lots of equipment, and you don’t want to spend an excessive amount. We’d recommend the manual instead of the automatic, however.
Those with a keen eye for the figures may be put off by the 154g/km CO2 that the SsangYong emits, however. A more powerful Hyundai Tucson diesel with an automatic transmission emits 129g/km, for example; the saving grace is that the manual version of the XLV emits a lesser 117g/km – just in case you needed another reason to opt for it.
Read more SsangYong reviews