The Korea Herald


[Behind the Wheel] Tivoli Air returns for young outdoor enthusiasts

Tivoli back after discontinuation as pandemic drives demand for low-risk outdoor activities

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Nov. 8, 2020 - 16:40

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SsangYong Motor’s Tivoli Air (SsangYong Motor) SsangYong Motor’s Tivoli Air (SsangYong Motor)

SsangYong Motor’s Tivoli Air returned again a year after its discontinuation to attract young outdoor enthusiasts in the wake of the pandemic.

Tivoli, which was introduced as SsangYong’s first compact sport utility vehicle in 2016, was discontinued last year due to weak sales. However, as demand for small SUVs grows among young drivers for low-risk outdoor activities during the pandemic, Tivoli nimbly returned with more cargo space and greater cost efficiency.

Tivoli should now join the heated competition of small SUVs that includes Hyundai’s Kona, Kia’s Niro and Seltos, Chevrolet’s Trailblazer and Renault Samsung’s XM3. In the first half of this year, sales of small SUVs produced by Korean carmakers rose more than 50 percent on-year, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Last month, The Korea Herald had an opportunity to test-drive the Tivoli Air for 140 kilometers from Yangjae-dong in Seoul to Yangpyeong in Gyeonggi Province, for about two hours.

In appearance, the Tivoli Air’s design has not changed much from the previous model, continuing to emphasize softness and simplicity overall.

The total length of the new Tivoli Air is 4,480 millimeters, an increase of 40 millimeters compared to the previous model. The overall width and height increased by 15 millimeters and 10 millimeters respectively, to 1,810 millimeters and 1,645 millimeters.

With the increased size, it has the largest cargo space among small SUVs launched here.

When the second-row seats are folded down, the indoor space reaches 1,879 millimeters -- enough for an adult male to lie down, although it seems tight for two. The cargo space can be separated into two layers so luggage can also be stowed underneath.

The vehicle has a 1.5-liter turbo gasoline engine, a maximum output of 163 horsepower and maximum torque of 26.5 kilogram-meters.

When stepping on the accelerator, it glided out and the brake was responsive. The overall stable driving was satisfying. When driving at more than 100 kilometers per hour, there was a sense of stability for a small SUV, but quite a bit of noise seeped into the car.

The Tivoli Air is equipped with SsangYong Motor’s advanced connected car system “InfoCon,” which has a voice recognition function. When pressing the button located on the steering wheel and saying “Turn off the air conditioner,” the car responded on its own.

Its safety system allows the car not to deviate from the lane even if a driver would leave the lane due to careless or drowsy driving. An emergency braking system is also equipped for risk of collision from the rear, such as in blind spots.

The 2021 Tivoli Air is priced between 18.98 million won ($16,900) and 24.3 million won, depending on the trim and options.

By Shin Ji-hye (