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[Behind the Wheel] Very New Tivoli runs quieter despite stronger engine

Since the 2015 launch of the Tivoli, SsangYong Motor’s bestselling compact sport utility vehicle has been especially popular among drivers who prefer a compact, stylish SUV -- one that is suitable for urban driving and has a more spacious trunk than a sedan.

But after four years, the Very New Tivoli is here. This face-lifted version will appeal to drivers seeking a dynamic driving experience, a powerful engine and the chance to try out different driving modes.

Very New Tivoli (SsangYong Motor)
Very New Tivoli (SsangYong Motor)

During the 170-kilometer test drive from Seoul to Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, The Korea Herald drove the Very New Tivoli on the highway at full speed to try out its new engine. The Very New Tivoli quickly picked up speed with minimal noise on the 100-kilometer-per-hour route, with no engine-related hiccups.

The new Tivoli features a 1.5-liter turbo gasoline engine, a first for the company. The new engine, equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, offers maximum horsepower of 163 and up to 26.5 kilogram-meters of torque.

There are three driving modes -- normal, sports and winter -- although I could only try the first two. The engine was louder and the pedal was more responsive when the vehicle was in sports mode. 

But the most impressive thing about the Very New Tivoli was how quietly it ran, an improvement from the previous model.

SsangYong strived to reduce cabin noise by adopting a new method of assembling the car frame -- it used structural glue and filled the pillars of the car with sound-absorbing materials. 

Very New Tivoli (SsangYong Motor)
Very New Tivoli (SsangYong Motor)

The automaker also added a Lock Mode function, which allows a driver to turn it on while driving off-road or on slippery roads in rain or snow. Lock Mode maximizes the use of the two rear wheels, so the vehicle remains stable even under unstable road conditions, according to the automaker. 

Despite the fully transformed insides, including the engine, the exterior of the Very New Tivoli has changed little from its predecessor, except for a revamped full LED head lamp, front bumper and clear-type rear LED lamp.

Fulfilling its purpose as an SUV, the Very New Tivoli offers a spacious 427-liter trunk, the largest of any vehicle in its class. The rear seat can be folded completely flat to make the most efficient use of the space. 

The Very New Tivoli’s gasoline model starts from 16.7 million won ($14,205) and can cost as much as 23.5 million won. The price of its diesel model ranges between 20.5 million and 25.3 million won.

By Kim Da-sol (

The Korea Herald ratings

Design: 4 stars
Fuel economy: 3 stars
Safety: 4 stars
Price: 5 stars

Overall: 16/20