Collins English Dictionary defines luxury as: "Something pleasant and satisfying". Granted, luxury isn’t something you automatically think of when presented with a small crossover that starts at £12,950, but the all-new SsangYong Tivoli has a habit of surprising you when you least expect it.
So, what exactly do you get for your money? Let’s start with full leather upholstery – grey or beige on EX and ELX spec, together with front seat heaters. Air-conditioning is handy for keeping occupants comfortable – it’s standard on entry-level SE trim. EX and ELX get dual-zone climate control, which is great for when your front passenger wants to be warm and you’d like to stay cool. While we’re on the subject of weather, how about automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers (ELX), plus cruise control (all models), a reversing camera (EX and ELX) and front and rear parking sensors (ELX)?
How does an instrument cluster with a choice of six colour options grab you? You get it on ELX trim. A crisp, 7.0in touchscreen with an RDS radio with USB, aux and HDMI input would be brilliant, as would Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and hands-free phone calls – all of these features come with EX and ELX specs, while the latter also gets TomTom sat-nav.
Some drivers wouldn’t even consider getting behind the wheel of a car if it didn’t have alloy wheels. You get 16in rims on SE spec and 18in alloys on EX and ELX (diamond-cut on the latter). Prefer to let the car change gear for you? An automatic gearbox is available on EX and ELX trims with the petrol and diesel engines – and who uses a key to open the door these days? Keyless entry, please: standard fit on all models.
Luxury is nothing, however, if you don’t have the space to enjoy it in. Fortunately, the Tivoli aces that one too. When we first tested it in Seoul we were struck by how much more practical it felt than many other small SUVs, with enough rear leg and headroom for six-footers to contemplate a lot more than a short hop down to the shops. If that’s where you’re heading, though, it’s useful to have a boot that’s one of the largest in the class, with a capacity of 423 litres. It’ll even swallow three golf bags with the rear seat in place. For that you can thank an overall length and width that beats that of the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.
It may seem extraordinary to be praising the levels of luxury and space of a SUV that sits at the lower end of the class, size-wise, but it just goes to show how far SsangYong has moved the game along with Tivoli.
Pleasant and satisfying? You’d better believe it.