There’s plenty of space for passengers inside the Tivoli, and the boot is almost the biggest in its class; it’s certainly large enough to cope with everyday family duties.
However, while it scores big marks for equipment, practicality and now safety, the Tivoli isn’t great to drive. Cars in this segment haven’t set a high standard for driver appeal, but the Tivoli's steering is vague, and while the ride copes well enough over most surfaces, there’s a proper jolt through the interior when you drive over speed bumps.
Most Tivoli buyers have opted for a diesel variant in the past, but given the recent bad press for oil-burners, Ssangyong has noticed a slight shift towards more petrol sales. Diesel still accounts for the majority, though.
If you do want a petrol engine in your Tivoli, you’re best off waiting until a new range of engines arrive next year, because the 1.6-litre unit we're testing here doesn’t have much going for it. It's flat anywhere in the rev band, and no matter how heavy your right foot is or how hard you wring its neck, it’s difficult to inject any sense of urgency into the acceleration. It’s not especially efficient either. All of its rivals, including the Citroën C4 Cactus and Nissan Juke, have much better petrol options. The 1.6-litre diesel is a much better choice for the Tivoli, because it has a lot more low-rev shove, but neither option is particularly refined, with plenty of engine noise leaking inside.
The six-speed manual gearbox is relatively slick, and is a better bet than the more expensive Mini-sourced automatic, which is rather lethargic in its shifts.