Ssang Yong Tivoli XLV 1.6 ELX 4×4 A/T
Today we are spoilt for choice in the automotive industry. We have so many brands now present in the country, with so many models and corresponding variants. This is good, a sign of a developing market that is both sophisticated and demanding, seeking the most out of their purchase.
But unfortunately, the conservative taste of the average Filipino car buyer means the top options will be a Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan & maybe a Hyundai or Ford. The more adventurous types might opt for a Subaru or Mazda.
Nothing wrong with those brands, but there’s so much more value to be had when looking through other brands and their respective models.
Case in point, SsangYong’s Tivoli XLV. If I had children andhad to make do with a single car to drive to work, drive the kids to school and accompany the missus to go shopping plus enjoy my drive, the XLV is a very good all-around & comfortable car. It’s an extended version of SsangYong’s Tivoli MPV, so ride height is just slightly higher than that of a car’s, making entry & exit very easy. Perfect for multiple short trips, clearing the occasional curb for parking, and the 167mm ground clearance is decent for bad roads. The only issue I see are the thin 215/45R18 tires. 235/50R18 tires would provide more meat on the sidewalls, give better comfort and help you breathe easier to avoid banging those nice alloy wheels on road imperfections.
The 2-box MPV body is roomy and spacious inside, with a high-tech amber-illuminated instrument cluster. It’s 45mm longer, 3mm wider and 15mm taller than the regular Tivoli. You have 574 liters of cargo space in the rear, which expands to 1,294 liters.
An 7-inch LCD touchscreen is the heart of the infotainment system, and the faux aluminum knob looks stylish and European-inspired. You can mirror-link your smartphone but the process proved a tad problematic so I didn’t bother forcing it. Thankfully, SsangYong opted to use soft-touch materials for the interior, which further gives it an air of luxury and quality, important if you want to win over new buyers to your fold. The seats are covered in fabric, and the steering wheel adjusts for both reach and rake, plus a multitude of buttons for the infotainment system. You can manually shift gears by toggling the gear lever, and there’s a handy wheel position upon start-up to inform you where the wheels are pointing, and thus avoid a potentially expensive prang even before you’ve left your destination.
Power comes from a 1.6 liter CRDi diesel engine that delivers a seemingly modest 115hp. What isn’t modest however is the torque: 300 Newton-Meters driving all four wheels (on demand) in our EX AWD variant via a 6-speed automatic transmission. However in normal driving conditions, the XLV drives the front axle only to save on fuel and improve responsiveness on the road.
The steering also offers three modes: comfort, normal and sport. In comfort mode, it feels like the wheel itself is broken and unconnected to anything so normal and sport are the only real options for car guys. Driving around town reveals that the XLV does have some annoying blind spots particularly around the A-pillar area which is troublesome when turning left into a narrow street or with low-hanging obstacles.
On the road, the XLV drives well for an MPV. The Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear deliver good comfort & compliance on our bumpy roads, and making highway driving a breeze. On winding roads, the supple suspension could do with a tad more roll-control, but of course comfort is the XLV’s primary intent. In the city, I averaged a shade under 9km/liter, while on my weekly drive down south to Tagaytay, I did close to 15km/liter. Despite the bad rep on ‘dirty diesels’ I am still a fan and believer of this.
The XLV is also nicely loaded with safety features: dual-front airbags, ABS-EBD brakes with Emergency Brake Assist although traction/stability control is absent.
Roomy, fuel efficient, and affordable at P1,245,000. It’s actually difficult to understand why the SsangYong remains underrated and not a common sight on our roads considering its awesome value for money.