SsangYong is not a car company that’s well known in the UK.
The South Korean firm sits in the shadow of giants Hyundai and Kia, yet has been quietly selling increasingly impressive cars for some time now.
The company remains primarily known as a maker of rugged off road beasts, with its Musso pickup and Rexton and Korando 4x4s all extremely capable in the mud.
I spent a week with the Tivoli, which is its smallest and most road focused car.
A compact SUV, it swims in the same pond as the Suzuki Vitara, Renault Captur and Mazda CX-3.
It’s been updated for 2020, with a sharper look, updated technology and better engines.
There are 1.2 litre three-cylinder and 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol units and a 1.6 litre diesel.
Prices start at £13,400 which undercuts most of its rivals, some quite sizeably.
I drove the 1.5 litre petrol with automatic transmission in top of the range Ultimate trim. Even the all bells and whistles version only costs £21,495 and it came kitted out with full leather seats, heated seats and steering wheel, reversing camera and lots of other goodies.
Of course all of that is for naught if it’s a nightmare to drive, but that’s not the case.
It doesn’t corner as sharply as a Ford EcoSport or ride as smoothly as a Renault Captur, but nor does it disgrace itself – all but the most discerning of drivers will be perfectly happy with the experience.
It’s roomy inside too, with plenty of leg and headroom front and back and a spacious 423 litre boot. Interior quality is up to scratch, though the touchscreen is slightly fiddly to use.
South Korean firms are known for the faith they put in their cars’ longevity, with Kia offering a seven-year, 100,000 mile warranty and Hyundai five-year, unlimited mile coverage.
SsangYong goes a big step further, offering a market leading seven-year, 150,000 mile warranty. While it won’t cover you for wear and tear items, that’s an incredible amount of peace of mind should something unexpected go wrong.
Even for the warranty alone, the Tivoli would be worth a look. Add in a bargain price tag, great standard kit and ride and comfort that don’t fall too far short of its rivals and you have a car that deserves to be much more in demand than is the case.