The Korean car maker Ssangyong has included a whole lot of options for the money. We wish it also had a mosquito zapper as an option. Our test drive included a stretch of road where we were attacked by the mini vampires. They got in our car and one of my sub-editors did not make it. It's a small loss, we will replace him with a talking bug zapper.
As for the car, we reviewed the regular Tivoli last year. The XLV is more of the same with more rear cargo space. Xtra Large Vehicle? It's 24cm longer and incidentally packs a huge rear cargo space.
It's a crossover between an SUV and a station wagon. Even a decade ago Ssangyong made cars that looked like as if a blind mouse pushed pieces of holey cheese together to resemble a car shape. The blind mouse is gone. Designers have taken over.
The front has the squinty-eyed appearance we all want our cars to have these days. Lines are fluid and flow along the sides neatly to a hunched up peak at the rear doors. Window lines are high and the fenders sport rounded bulges suggesting power, muscle and all that good stuff for SUVs. But it's not an SUV. What it appears to be is a jacked up wagon with athletic butch looks. All this is wrapped up in a choice of dual colours preferably the red with black roof. Interior colours differ according to what's outside.
What’s under the hood?
The one and only model available here is the 1.6 petrol version with 126bhp and 118 lb/ft of torque. It’s paired to a 6 speed auto with an option to manually select ratios. Three driving modes include Eco for quick gear changes where the rpm band is maintained as low as possible for better fuel economy. Power mode sounds great but gives only a subtle increase in torque when you floor the throttle during cruising.
How does it drive?
It's quiet inside and the suspension is supple. Tivoli XLV is for those who want a car that looks like an SUV but isn't uncomfortable like one. The Tivoli XLV sits low, providing a lower centre of gravity compared to its competitors like the Suzuki Vitara and the Nissan Juke.
Acceleration is gutsy enough for a car this size. Push the throttle and it readily downshifts. It's an easy affair to drive around town all day with excellent visibility across the broad hood. The steering has three modes, none of which offer much road feedback. It's best left in comfort for that effortless, smooth steering action.
How does it ride?
The large 18 inch rims do thunk a little bit over potholes which is only to be expected considering we have potholes the size of small SUVs. Road noise is low but the engine emits a slight whine as you accelerate from a standstill. The four-wheel disc brakes have a tendency to bite hard at slow manoeuvres until you get used to it.
The seats are comfortable while being uselessly heated in a country like Bangladesh. The driver's seat allows cool air to circulate. I love the red and black interior of our test unit. Switchgear is easy to access for the audio and dual climate controls, latter of which has a neat and unusual memory function. It feels very spacious inside with the red seats being wide enough to comfortably seat three adults.
We love the way it looks and rides. It is supremely easy to drive and for the price, it comes loaded with features whether you need them or not. Safety features include 7 airbags, ABS and stability control for a 4-star Euro NCAP rating. Because of the stiffer than usual suspension and low profile tyres, it may be a little noisy over some poorly surfaced roads. Despite that the car feels tightly built without any squeaks or disconcerting rattles. This car is best at cruising the cityscape while offering a tight turning radius for a car this long. The Tivoli is the right car for Ssangyong's growth in international markets. It is a decent blend of good looks, comfortable city driving manners and performance.
Engine: 1.6 4 cyl, 126HP, 118 lb/ft
Transmission: 6 speed auto.
Equipment: 7 inch display, USB, HDMI, Bluetooth, i-Phone connector, 12V outlet, 220V/200W inverter, rear camera, parking sensors, cruise control, keyless entry, 2 airbags, climate control, ventilated seats, smart steering system.
Price: Below 33 lakh taka.
For details, contact Millennium SsangYong Motors Ltd.