The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Tivoli's driving position is unusually high-set, even with the seat height adjustment in its lowest setting. You only get a height-adjustable driver’s seat on the higher ELX and Ultimate trims; that's a little disappointing when many rivals get such a basic feature by default. Some rivals, including the Ford Puma, Volkswagen T-Roc and T-Cross, also include lumbar adjustment, which isn't available on the Tivoli. The seat doesn't hold you very firmly through corners, but it is comfortable for a long trip.
The Tivoli’s steering wheel moves up and down as standard, but again you have to move up to ELX trim for the facility to move it in-and-out. Still, despite the compromises, drivers of most shapes and sizes should still be able to find a reasonably comfortable driving position. In general, the switches and buttons are within easy reach and clearly marked, making them easy to use at a glance.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
If one of your motivations for buying an SUV is to gain a lofty driving position, the Tivoli will be a little disappointing. You don't feel as high up as you would in a Dacia Duster or Volkswagen T-Roc. But there's still a relatively unobstructed view of the road ahead, though, thanks to the narrow front pillars.
It’s a little less open at the rear. The shallow rear window and thick rear pillars hinder the view of what’s behind and over your shoulders – the Skoda Kamiq has a much more open glass area to see out when reversing. This isn’t such an issue if you go for the upper ELX and Ultimate trims, as both come with a rear-view camera plus front and rear parking sensors.
Sat nav and infotainment
Even entry-level SE and EX models get a very antediluvian FM radio with six speakers, albeit with Bluetooth and an aux-in port. You’ll have to make do with a small LCD screen instead of a touchscreen, and it can be fiddly to use. Steering wheel-mounted audio controls are standard, and cover the basic functions when on the move.
Move up a grade to ELX trim and you get a 7.0in colour touchscreen with a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Ultimate adds TomTom sat-nav into the mix. It’s a reasonable system to use – far better than the Dacia Duster's –with timely responses to prompts and sensible menus. Then again, it lacks the features and screen quality of the best systems in the class, like the Volkwagen T-Roc's, T-Cross's and Seat Arona's.
It’s clear Ssangyong has made an effort with the quality of the Tivoli’s interior; for the price it’s not bad, and has some plusher materials than a Dacia Duster. It still lags behind other rivals, and not just the pricier ones; the MG ZS feels sturdier and better finished, too.
So what's wrong with the Tivoli's interior? Cast your eyes around and, apart from the fleeting soft-touch finish on portions of the upper dashboard and gloss-black elements, the rest of the plastics look low-rent and feel a long way from the more tactile and robust-looking materials you’ll find in a Skoda Kamiq or Nissan Juke.
Many of the buttons also look to have been plucked from the depths of the bargain basement, and, when pressed, do nothing to dissuade you otherwise.