KGM Tivoli 1.5 P Ultimate Auto Nav

Now under ownership of the Korean KG Group, SsangYong, in one giant leap, has rebranded as KGM. Set to revitalise sales of the established range of vehicles KGM also has far reaching plans to introduce advanced new models including an electric pick up truck.

If the new facelifted compact SUV Tivoli is anything to go by, the marque’s future should be assured. Where else can you get such a quality product at such a ‘knock-me-down-with-a-feather’ price? The top model Tivoli 1.5P Ultimate Auto Nav, tested here, costs just £24,550. A lower spec version can be had for £20,530.

Its jolly name, bearing connotations of pleasure gardens and promenades (Gardens of Villa d’Este at Tivoli near Rome and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen), high style and luxurious living, is well suited to a car that conveys – through an up-to-the-minute facelifted design – instant well-accoutred appeal. And because the Tivoli’s dashing looks do not deceive (its capabilities more than match its promise) this car is bound to cast shadows of Danish noir over the aspirations of many rival car firms.

Frankly, my time with the Tivoli felt like a holiday: all was sweetness and light. Admiring glances from friends, neighbours and urbanites came with such frequency that I had to conclude that this was one cool-looking dude. But I knew that already from the moment I first clapped eyes on its tastefully rendered contours. It seemed to represent a mapped-out promise of pleasures to come. Certainly the Tivoli compels delighted attention.

I discovered a totally revised interior with quality in abundance. From the comfortable seating, ample room for five and plenty of luggage space, to the fully-loaded complement of well-designed pieces of equipment that are incorporated into the dashboard and other areas, there’s subtlety and good taste.

The £24,550 Tivoli 1.5 Ultimate Auto Nav felt luxurious. And what’s more there is full leather upholstery for those who adore the texture of hide. Not to mention a host of features from a touch screen RDS radio with Bluetooth, to cruise control, dual zone climate control, a reversing camera – to heated seating: all the things we know and love. And the Tivoli serves them up with panache. It will not be outdone in the gift shop department either, with treats galore all there, even at this keen price. And there’s been no compromise in the safety department. As well as seven airbags there’s even Active Rollover Protection.

To speak of the Tivoli’s 1.5 4 cylinder160 bhp turbo petrol engine is again to be pleasantly surprised at the level of refinement Here is an engine that delivers plenty of pulling power and enough ‘zip’ if you use the smooth changing six-speed automatic gearbox in Sport Mode (There’s Normal Mode and Winter Mode too) to take you to near 110mph. And yet fuel consumption proved to be surprisingly low.  47 mpg was easily achieved – and that was with hard driving in a wide variety of conditions.

Not only is it surprisingly lively but it rides well over our badly maintained roads. Handling is responsive and confidence inspiring. In short it’s safe, reassuring and secure. And, of course, it meets all the latest safety requirements. ‘Smooth’ is the word that springs to mind when you’re cruising at speed and ‘surefooted’ when you’re whizzing through bends.

I thoroughly enjoyed the refinement – and so too did my passenger Kevin Kipling, a bon viveur of note. Particularly for him during the balmy Summer days when the Tivoli proved as entrancing as a relaxing afternoon stroll through beautiful gardens  beneath an azure blue sky: all sparkle and novelty. He loved its comfortable – and comforting – interior appointments and cherished its capacity to reinforce his own sense of worth. As a great man it behoved him to be content only with the best.

“An exceedingly fine automobile” he declared. “Fit for a king or queen – or indeed, yours truly!”

I kept my counsel, but did allow myself a covert smile.

He was right, of course. For the money, it does produce the goods, matching the best in most respects. It’s an honest motor at an honest price. With products of such quality as offered here by KGM, the rise of this marque in the UK market under the new banner seems assured.