Ssangyong is making a lot of noise about the Ssangyong Tivoli XLV, and for good reason. It’s a much better car than we’re used to seeing from the brand, not to mention absolutely the right car to bring growth to the firm’s European operation right now.

This extra-large, family-friendly XLV version is broadly well executed and well endowed, blending enhanced practicality into a mix that already included decent engines, a comfortable and well-equipped cabin and excellent value for money.

Practical, well-priced crossover is competent but far from compelling

But it lacks the completeness needed to get above our three-star threshold and to qualify as a ‘good’ car; for every commendable trait (performance, space, equipment, price) there’s a matching one that’s vulnerable to criticism (refinement, ride, styling, cabin sophistication and flexibility).

Some will say you get what you pay for, and in plenty of ways you’re getting more than the crossover class offers on average with the Ssangyong Tivoli – but that doesn’t quite amount to enough in our book to make the car a real contender.

But should the Tivoli improve faster than the cars around it over the next few years, ‘good’ won’t be beyond its reach.

As a result for the moment it just makes our top five, but trails the Suzuki Vitara, Kia Sportage, and Renault Kadjar.

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