SsangYong hopes the addition of a diesel engine will boost sales of its Tivoli in Europe's booming subcompact SUV/crossover segment.
The Korean automaker is currently rolling out a 113-hp 1.6-liter diesel Tivoli in its European markets after launching the car with a 126-hp 1.6-liter gasoline unit last May. The Tivoli is now also available with all-wheel drive.
"With these latest additions [diesel and AWD] we believe the Tivoli is the right product for Europe, as it has been developed and styled mainly for this market," SsangYong CEO Johng-Sik Choi said at a press event in Germany.
The Tivoli marks a big leap forward for SsangYong. The automaker bench marked vehicles such as the Mini Countryman and Volkswagen Golf to improve the car's performance and comfort. This paid off because the Tivoli was nominated for the 2016 World Car of the Year, the first nomination for SsangYong, although the Tivoli did not make it to the short list of 10 cars.
The new FF (front engine-front drive) platform on which the Tivoli is based will also underpin a long-bodied version, as well as a successor to the Korando compact SUV.
The Tivoli's all-wheel-drive option is not a common feature for small SUVs and is available with the diesel and gasoline versions. The system has a lock function that splits power evenly between the front and rear axles to improve traction in difficult conditions.
The SUV's diesel was developed in-house by SsangYong. The diesel and the gasoline Tivolis can be combined with either a six-speed manual or six-speed Aisin automatic transmission.
The Tivoli is a key model for SsangYong in Europe, accounting for at least half of its sales in the region. IHS Automotive forecasts that the automaker will sell 8,114 Tivoli models in the EU and EFTA markets this year out of total sales of 17,675.
SsangYong, which is 73 percent owned by the India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, established a European regional office in Frankfurt last year and is considering expanding its presence in the region with an r&d center.
Target buyers: The Tivoli is aimed at young European customers who seek a practical vehicle with dynamic design and opportunity for individualization, SsangYong says
Base price: 15,490 euros (Germany)
Where built: Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Lowest CO2 emissions: 109g/km
Main rivals: Suzuki Vitara, Honda HR-V, Renault Captur
What's good: Strong points are good standard equipment and value for money compared with its main rivals. All-wheel-drive is an option with the gasoline and diesel versions.