Although the Ssangyong Tivoli XLV’s powertrain is a bit noisy and much prefers a measured driving style to a hurried one, it offers three things that are likely to appeal to its customer base: decent fuel economy, adequately gutsy acceleration and the laid-back ease of use conferred by the use of a proper torque converter automatic gearbox.
It’s a combination that’s actually quite rare at the affordable end of the crossover class, with the diesel options either costing more or coming with a fairly small and relatively weedy engine and either a robotised manual or dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The upshot is that you can punt around in the Tivoli very easily and without investing much effort. There’s plenty of torque on offer without needing to work the engine up to its 4000rpm rev limit, and certainly enough that you can keep the car’s mass rolling along easily and then accelerate it fairly briskly when you need to.
That Aisin gearbox is at its best when shifting ratios on part-throttle and keeping the engine’s crankshaft between 2000 and 3000rpm, something it does well enough.
There is a manual shift mode, commanded by a small switch positioned on the gear selector itself, to be twiddled with your left thumb. But honestly, it’s a mistake to try to interact too closely with this powertrain or generally stoke it too hard, with manual changes being delivered in an unhurried fashion.