Remember the top-of-the-line SsangYong Tivoli Sport R that proved worthy to be included in your shopping list? It drives well and filled with design cues that can make it stand out when parked side-by-side with other subcompact crossovers; a real head-turner that’s more than meets the eye.
However, that range-topper’s styling may be too sporty for some, especially those who aren’t fond of brightly-colored interior. It also carries a more-than-a-million-peso price tag that appears too much for a budget-conscious buyer. And in case you’re one practical dude, well, the Tivoli’s mid-variant 1.6 EXG offering might be the car that you’re looking for.
The Tivoli EXG drops the youthful vibe brought about by the two-tone contrasting roof colored exterior of the Sport R. The media unit came in solid brown, which is arguably mundane.
Nevertheless, with its defined character lines, bulging flares, and sharp LED daytime running lights (DRL), the mid-variant Tivoli still exhumes a sort of sporty and active feel like its pricier brother. It’s like a professional athlete at the early stages of his or her retirement – still in good shape and can be way better-looking than most.
The maturity of the Tivoli EXG’s design trickles down to the interior with its black-on-black theme, letting go of the red inserts of the higher Sport variants. What’s great to see are the leather all over the cabin, particularly the seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, and door trims. The sporty instrument cluster and classic-looking gear shift knob look really nice, too.
However, there are a few hard, scratchy plastics present. Although, we’ll give this a pass as the dashboard controls are organized and intuitive, making it easy to be familiar with the car. I just wish that the knob for the manual air conditioning system feels more tactile for greater feedback.
In addition, the Tivoli EXG’s seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system needs an upgrade. It’s a bit laggy, and sometimes wouldn’t react instantaneously to swipes and taps. It also has a MirrorLink function, but it can be laggy, too. Good thing, the bluetooth connection works fine, even quite smooth for hands-free calls.
Compared to other subcompact crossovers, the Tivoli’s overall interior space is way better, able to accommodate five adults below 5’9” comfortably. Downside? The trunk space is limited and the rear seats can’t be folded as flat as the trunk. It can still fit up to five large-sized luggage, though.
That ample space is aptly partnered with stellar ride comfort. Its suspension can absorb dilapidated roads, without being felt inside the cabin and being too bouncy. It may have a high 167mm ground clearance, but the car has a very minimal body roll even when doing corners at speed. This make its overall ride comfort sedan-like, with NVH levels deadened effectively, but still needs improvement at high speeds.
Just like the Sport R, the EXG’s driver seat is bolstered just right, enough to keep your butt in place during aggressive runs, which is likely what you will do with the Tivoli’s 128-hp 1.6L gasoline engine. This engine is punchy at any speeds, whether you’re going from standstill or already cruising at high speeds. You can also be indecisive with this car, as varying accelerator inputs are well-recognized by the engine, reacting promptly with minimal delay.
The Tivoli’s six-speed transmission is commendable for that quick power delivery to the front wheels. There are also three different drive modes available but I didn’t test those as the Tivoli already performed well just in normal mode. Uphill climbs are easy, even without hill-start assist. The strong-biting front and rear disc brakes are heaven-sent, too. Kudos to SsangYong for keeping the discs with the lower variants.
Forward visibility while driving the Tivoli isn’t compromised even when seated low in the cabin. It’s different for the back, though, because of its small rear windows brought about by the sloping roof. Fortunately, it has rear proximity sensorsto assist you with that, albeit, we’re missing the rear-view cameras.
The Tivoli handles great as well. There’s a little understeer, yes, but it’s not that extensive to make you feel unsafe in winding roads. The steering feel can be adjusted to your liking, with Comfort, Normal, and Sport as your options. I opt for the Sport mode as the other two were too light for me, and that’s from a guy with an average strength and doesn’t work out.
With these performance from the Tivoli EXG, it still kept its fuel efficiency numbers at bay, even besting the Sport R variant by a hair. Driving for one hour in heavy city traffic read 6.1 km/L, while faster paces averaging 60 km/h registered 11.9 km/L. Now, highway runs at steady 90 km/h clocked in 18.2 km/L.
The SsangYong Tivoli EXG sells at P945,000. With this amount, you get a good-looking crossover that drives well, and doesn’t consume too much gasoline when driven normally. It’s a great option if you’re in the market of crossovers but keeping your budget within a million pesos. It’s a good car by itself, even without the high-tech features found in the Sport R. Now, factor in the three years of free preventive maintenance service that comes with it, well, that should be enough to bump this car up your list.
128 hp @ 6,000 rpm
SsangYong Tivoli 1.6 EXG AT
Number of Cylinders
Number of Valves
6-speed Automatic with Smart Driving Mode
Max Output (HP)
128 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque (nm)
160 Nm @ 4,600 rpm
Economy & Environment
Number of Doors
Number of Seats
Safety & Security
Front Passenger's Airbag
Auto Brake System
Electronic Brake Distribution
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
With Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist