SsangYong Tivoli vs Suzuki Vitara
SsangYong has turned its back on its budget roots and joined the booming crossover market with its Tivoli. Can it fell the Suzuki Vitara?
SsangYong is ready to shake off its bargain-basement status and make a bold push upmarket. The Korean brand has forged a strong reputation for building no-nonsense SUVs and MPVs that prioritise rock-bottom prices ahead of sophistication and desirability.
However, with the arrival of its bold Tivoli compact crossover, the company has mainstream competition in its sights.
The newcomer elegantly blends eye-catching looks with a smartly designed interior and a standard equipment list that would put even an executive saloon to shame, so it clearly means business. Yet these improvements don’t come at the expense of value, because the Tivoli boasts the same wallet-friendly pricing as other models in the SsangYong line-up.
However, this isn’t the only fashionable crossover with one eye on the bottom line. The Suzuki Vitara has already impressed in diesel guise on its road test debut, and now it’s the turn of the petrol model to prove that this was no fluke.
Featuring rugged looks, nimble handling and low running costs, the Suzuki makes an interesting alternative to workaday superminis and hatchbacks.
So, which of our tough-looking and great-value urban assault vehicles takes the spoils here?
Car group tests
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- SsangYong Tivoli XLV vs Dacia Duster vs Suzuki Vitara
- New SsangYong Tivoli 2020 review
- SsangYong Tivoli XLV manual 2016 review
- New SsangYong Tivoli XLV 2016 review
Used car tests
Read individual reviews by clicking the links above, and scroll down to see which crossover is crowned champ in this test...
Style and customisation are must-haves in the compact crossover class. The Tivoli’s design is certainly bold but hardly attractive, while the personalisation packs are only available on the flagship ELX. Suzuki has given the Vitara a less aggressive look, plus owners can specify a contrasting roof colour and interior trim inserts.
The SsangYong name won’t mean much to UK buyers, but the ambitious brand is hoping the Tivoli’s low price, kit levels and warranty will attract new customers. By contrast, Suzuki is an established brand. However, the Vitara was a full-on 4x4 before becoming a crossover.
Electronic all-wheel drive is available on diesel Tivolis, with prices ranging from £17,100 for the EX to £19,500 for the ELX auto. Suzuki’s ALLGRIP is only available in SZ5 guise, but can be paired with petrol or diesel engines. Prices start at £20,299.
1st place: Suzuki Vitara
In the final reckoning, it’s the Vitara that takes victory here. Not only is it faster, better to drive and more refined, but it costs less to buy and comes with all the kit you’ll need. Plus, it’s practical, robustly built and reasonably cheap to run. And while the interior looks and feels a little low rent in places, it’s less of a concern in this eye-catchingly priced entry-level model than in more costly flagship cars.
2nd place: SsangYong Tivoli
If you want the most bang for you buck, the lavishly appointed Tivoli is worth a look. Luxuries such as leather and heated seats are a real bonus in a crossover at this price point, as is the brand’s five-year warranty. Yet while the newcomer represents a decent step forward for the company, it still trails its rivals for refinement, while running costs are also a little high.
Other options in this category…
Citroen C4 Cactus 1.2 Feel
Price: £14,690 Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl, 81bhp
Boldly styled and cleverly packaged Citroen is comfortable, efficient and good value. Feel trim gets essentials such as air-con, Bluetooth and DAB, while low kerbweight makes three-cylinder a top performer.
Ford EcoSport 1.5 Zetec
Price: £14,245 Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 110bhp
Recent revisions to the Ford EcoSport have improved the driving experience and looks. It still feels a little low rent inside and CO2 emissions of 149g/km are high, but Zetec spec is well equipped and attractively priced.
|Suzuki Vitara 1.6 SZ4||SsangYong Tivoli 1.6 EX|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£13,999/£13,999||£14,600/£14,600|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£6,076/43.4%||£6,628/45.4%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£530/£1,060||£691/£1,382|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£2,326/£3,887||£2,023/£3,371|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||12/£361/D/£110||14/£318/F/£145|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£178/£236/£218||TBC|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,586cc||4cyl in-line/1,597cc|
|Peak power||118/6,000 bhp/rpm||126/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||156/4,400 Nm/rpm||160/4,600 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||47 litres/foam||47 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||375/710 litres||423/N/A litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.4 metres||10.6 metres|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||5yrs (unltd)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||12,500 miles (1yr)/149||10,000 miles (1yr)/68|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||31st/31st||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||9.1/9.0 seconds||10.7/10.7 seconds|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||5.5/8.8 seconds||6.0/8.4 seconds|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||12.7 seconds/N/A||11.4/16.2 seconds|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||112mph/2,700rpm||106mph/2,800rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||52/43/60/67dB||59/40/61/70dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||27.3/6.0/282 miles||31.4/6.9/325 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||239/123g/km/19%||208/149g/km/24%|
|Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control||No/yes/yes||£1,000/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/no/no||Yes/yes/yes|
|Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go||£430/no/no||£500/no/yes|