It’s fair to say that hyperbole and hot air are never in short supply when a manufacturer launches a new car. The car maker wants you to believe that its shiny baby is the best thing since sliced bread and is destined for greatness - certainly the class favourite at any rate.
It’s the journalist’s job to cut to the chase, to speak to the people in charge before assessing this new model and say is how it is.
Well, we’ve spoken to the men in charge at SsangYong and it quickly becomes apparent that the all-new Tivoli is different. Different from the SsangYongs that have gone before it and different from many of the small crossovers it’s competing with.
Automotive division boss Pawan Kumar Goenka told us at the Tivoli’s launch that: “Nothing can change the fortunes of an automotive company faster than the launch of a successful product, and I believe Tivoli has that potential.”
This upbeat outlook is echoed by Paul Williams, CEO of SsangYong Motor UK: “By any criteria, but especially style, interior finish and value for money, Tivoli stands close scrutiny.”
It’s that exterior styling which demands more attention. First previewed at the 2014 Paris motor show as the XIV-Adventure and XIV-Air concept cars, we knew that the new Tivoli was going to break new ground for Ssangyong. And so it transpired. From the piano-black grille up front via the upturned headlights (which incorporate LED daytime running lights) to the 18in alloys on the EX and ELX versions and LED rear lights, it’s clear that the Tivoli means business in a class that’s not exactly bereft of good-looking metal.
Tivoli’s curves, lines and creases give it all of the design cues required in the burgeoning small crossover sector. It has a pronounced roof angle akin to that on the Range Rover Evoque, complex surfacing on the side panels and sizeable haunches over the rear wheel arches. Meanwhile, black pillars and privacy glass create a ‘floating roof’ effect.
There are eight paint colours to choose from, while the My Tivoli personalisation programme allows customers to create their own distinctive car. This gives a choice of five two-tone finishes with a black or white roof. An extra pair of styling packs on ELX trim gives you even more potential to tailor Tivoli to your tastes.
We’ve saved the best bit about Tivoli until last. You’d probably expect contemporary styling and features that appear in much bigger cars to cost a pretty penny. The SsangYong range has always represented tremendous value for money, but a starting price of £12,950 takes the Korean firm into new territory, especially with their impressive five-year warranty. Worth a second look? Definitely.