‘Passengers, especially young, stupid ones, were constantly asking me to floor it’
This is the new way of things, I start to realise: cars that are cute like Minis or Beetles, but the size of something larger. Such a car – my first encounter was the Fiat 500X, now it’s Korean brand Ssangyong’s Tivoli – may discombobulate you for a while. You think you’re in a city runabout, and you’re not. If you have a very visual imagination, you might crash it a few times. Then one day, you’ll be used to it.
The Tivoli is a relentlessly cheerful car, not only because it is flaming red (their description; not my archaic swearing). Its demeanour is bouncy, despite its square, bossy nose and trad interior. There’s a lot of zing in the middle gears; in third, it holds its speed and responds smartly. It’s always ready with a bit more push than you expect, and sometimes feels a bit like flying. It has neither a wild top speed – 107mph – nor a particularly impressive zero to 62mph – 12 seconds – but it feels like it should have: passengers, especially young, stupid ones, were constantly asking me to floor it. It is more fun in the city than on a motorway; the handling is fine but a bit monotonous, and the ride isn’t completely smooth. That said, acceleration was never any bother and if it was a little bit whiny in sixth, well, aren’t we all?