What is it?
It's a hugely significant vehicle for SsangYong, the 'other' South Korean car company after Hyundai and Kia. The Tivoli is a major model for a number of reasons. For starters, it's the first all-new offering from SsangYong since the company's near-collapse and subsequent takeover by Indian giant Mahindra. Secondly, it has the potential to take SsangYong into a whole new market, because the Tivoli is a baby SUV that will rival Nissan's Juke and Renault's Captur, the style-focused models which are a world away from caravan-towing large SUVs and pick-ups. Thirdly, SsangYong has somehow managed to get its entry to this expanding market ready long before anything from the Volkswagen empire (or, dare we say it, a serious offering from Ford).
Designed by an 'Italian consultancy', the Tivoli is a chunky 4.2m-long hatchback that appears to have all of the design cues required in the burgeoning small SUV sector. It has a pronounced roof angle like a Range Rover Evoque (or a Kia Soul, come to think of it), complex surfacing on the side panels and sizeable haunches over the rear wheel arches. Will it appeal to everyone? No. But there will be enough colour choices and contrasting roof colour options to allow the sort of personalisation that's popular in small SUVs.
In practice, it's a five-seater that will be offered with one of the most comprehensive-looking mechanical line-ups in the class. The Tivoli will be launched in June as a front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre petrol, paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. A couple of months later, a 1.6-litre diesel edition will arrive - again, with the choice of six-speed manual or auto. And finally, before the end of 2015, the entire line-up will also be offered with four-wheel drive.
There are longer-term plans, too; Mahindra has admitted it's working with SsangYong on six new engines, widely believed to be small turbocharged units with three or four cylinders. It's inconceivable that the Tivoli won't get these at some point in the not too distant future.