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First Drive: Ssangyong Tivoli XLV

The extended Tivoli combines crossover styling with estate functionality, explains Alex Grant.

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SECTOR: Crossover PRICE: £19,200-£21,700 FUEL: 44.8-62.8mpg CO2: 117-164g/km

Niche is big business, and Ssangyong reckons it’s found a new part of the market with the Tivoli XLV. As traditional estate drivers move on to crossovers, this is said to be the world’s first car to combine the best of both worlds; an estate version of a crossover.

Where the standard Tivoli is Skoda Yeti sized, the XLV is as long as cars in the Qashqai segment. Not through extending the wheelbase or track widths, the XLV gains 238mm of extra bodywork behind the C-pillar, and comes in at £1,000 more than the equivalent Tivoli.

Beneath the… challenging… back end styling, it’s not short of boot space. With the seats up and the load cover in place, Ssangyong claims a 574-litre capacity – larger than most of the C-segment crossovers, and more capacious than the much larger Volvo V90. It’s well designed, too, with a large tailgate, plenty of floor space and a compartment underneath with a shelf that can be removed. But you need that shelf in place for the boot floor to be flush with the folded rear bench.

It’s an added string to the already capable Tivoli’s bow. Everything in front of the rear bench is the same as the regular crossover – the switchgear which can feel a bit like Nineties hi-fi, and the materials won’t cause Audi to miss any sleep, but there’s an overall sense of durability throughout and it’s not drab. Particularly if you opt for the pack adding red highlights on the seats and dashboard.

The XLV gets a slimmed-down range compared to the Tivoli, limited to the top-spec ELX and 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, which means start prices are a lot higher. But it also means all UK cars get touchscreen TomTom navigation, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, cruise control and parking sensors among a lengthy list of standard equipment. Business drivers should need little more.

Cars designed for petrol-loving Asian markets can be under-insulated from the rumble of a diesel engine, but Ssangyong has done a good job keeping most of the rattle out of the cabin. Plentiful mid-range pulling power should stop it feeling overwhelmed by heavy cargo, and the large wheels haven’t left it clattering over rough surfaces.

But it’s a car which, for fleets at least, will only ever work with a manual transmission. CO2 emissions of 117g/km for the two-wheel drive version and 127g/km for cars with four-wheel drive are both competitive, but the six-speed automatic gearbox (a £1,250 option) is way out of line with the segment norms. Even with two-wheel drive, Ssangyong claims 47.9mpg with 154g/km CO2 emissions – enough to offset the XLV’s otherwise good value.

For the most part, then, this is an effective meeting of worlds. All the versatility of an estate car, but with the raised driving position of a crossover and a competitive four-wheel drive version.

What we think:

The Tivoli XLV’s job-need appeal is curbed slightly by the limited model range, but it’s a competitive option for user-choosers needing huge load-carrying ability and four-wheel drive.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.


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