Words and photos: Nicolas Calanoc
Just when we thought the competition couldn’t get any tighter in both the industry and in the crossover class: the Korean brand SsangYong, under the new distributorship of Ssangyong Berjaya Motor Philippines (SBMP), steps in the game with their all-new Tivoli at the front of the line and leading the pack.
Its deep paintjob and sporty stature give the Tivoli European appeal with proportions that convey maximized space. Combine all that with an appealing DRL, it’s classy to say the least. The interior hums a different tune though, following design cues that are more Asian. It has high-contrast gauges that have a matching LCD driver’s info display. The dashboard implements a piano-black finish that blends well with most of the materials used. Overall, it certainly left a good impression especially the leather on the steering wheel.
For a car brand that doesn’t have years of racing heritage, I was surprised on how the Tivoli performed. Its 1.6L gasoline engine felt strong and able especially for its size. The transmission utilizes a 6-Speed automatic transmission that offers 3 driving modes: Sport, Normal, and Comfort. They all performed as expected. The Sport mode was aggressive while the Comfort mode was smoother, leaving Normal between the two. Whichever I chose, the steering of the car was lightly weighted and instinctive from city driving to highway coasting.
The greatest strength of the Tivoli it would be on how practical it is, making it ideal as an everyday family vehicle. The abundance of interior space equated to interior comfort, with lots of shoulder room to spare. Additionally, it has a versatile storage space that you can mix and match thanks to its 60:40 split and deep trunk to work with. In the middle trim Tivoli EXG; it comes with an Android-based touchscreen infotainment system that was as easy to use as any smartphone off the shelves. For safety, it has dual airbags, ABS with EBD, and a rear-parking sensor to assist the driver.
On its own merit, the Tivoli is a contending crossover that balances price, performance, and practicality. In the sub-million category, it is one of the biggest and most loaded with features without sacrificing safety. If anything, the Tivoli is value for money with style. SsangYong may have a lot to prove in the next few years, but one thing is for sure: choosing the Tivoli as the star of the show in this comeback movie is the step in the right direction.
Engine:Inline-4, 1597 cc, dohc, 16V, 6-Speed AT
Max Power: 128 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque: 118 lb ft @ 4600 rpm
0-100 km/h: 12.0 sec.
Top Speed: 160 km/h (99 mph)
Fuel Mileage: 11.1 km/L Overall
Price as Tested: PhP 945,000.00
+ Everyday practical, sub-million peso price, materials used
– Few plastics could use improvement, transmission sometimes feels it is guessing what to do
C! Editor’s Rating: 9.0 / 10