Ssangyong Tivoli – a bargain in the basement of SUVs

It’s called Style – so it must qualify for Car Couture then? No, well, I beg to differ. Ssangyong competes at the bargain basement end of the family SUV market, alongside the likes of the Nissan Juke and Dacia Duster.

Where I live in the Cotswolds, you might think it’s all Range Rovers and Porsche Cayennes. Not so – cars like the Tivoli are actually doing a roaring trade. And that’s because they offer fantastic value for money for people who don’t give a stuff about the badge on the boot.

The Tivoli is also a very capable crossover, with a classy interior and a decent diesel engine that’s a bit rattly but otherwise does the job. Avoid the petrol models, which are underpowered.

There are two-wheel drive models and 4x4s like our ELX. Unless you really need four-wheel drive, I’d stick to 2 and save your cash.

Competition in the supermini SUV market is mighty fierce but this is the best Ssangyong I’ve ever driven. You can even opt for a XLV model which has a larger boot.

I’ve enjoyed my day buzzing around the Shire in the Tivoli. It even has funky red leather insert trims and a sat nav. Safety features include lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition and high beam assist.

So do you really want a bug-eyed Nissan Juke or would you rather turn up at Countrywide in something a little different?

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This Week’s Test Car

Nissan X-Trail 2.0 Tekna

The latest upgrades to the family-friendly seven-seater are based around a re-style front end. Essentially a larger Qashqai (it shares much with the smaller SUV), Nissan will tell you it is now ‘styled for adventure’. In reality, it’s strictly a family-mover with optional four-wheel drive and plenty of kit. Our top spec Tekna costs around £37,000, so it’s going to have to be good to better the Mazda CX-5 and the Skoda Kodiaq. It is reliable, affordable and safe. Did somebody forget fun?