Modern & funky exterior PLUS a powerful-yet-frugal Turbo Diesel engine PLUS six-speed automatic gearbox PLUS an improved interior EQUALS strong value for money.
Not so Good:
Hyundai ix35 SUV sports a rather heavy design with a petrol engine that gets noisy under hard acceleration. It also gets firm while riding over rough spaces
Design and Engineering
The first to feature the Hyundai brands ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ theme which arrived in February 2010. It makes into the list of the coolest Compact SUV’s one can buy. It is enhanced by the large hexagonal grille up-front which is a typical Hyundai style of spelling its presence. The rear hatch holds a feature that could be called the ‘mini duck tail’ (Porsche 911 lovers get this). Carverdict’s Salute.
Not so good:
Considering the size of the vehicles ‘footprint’ the Hyundai ix35 is no lightweight design – tipping the scales between 1.6 & 1.8 tonnes (compare this to a medium family-sized wagon and you’ll see that on average SUV’s are definitely heavier creatures). The front grille is body coloured on the entry-level ‘Active’ grade and as a result (to our eyes) it doesn’t appear as well integrated as the grey coloured versions on the mid and upper-grades.
Interior and Styling
The steering wheel is a funky four-spoke structure and the driver’s seat features six-way power adjustment (except on the entry-level Active grade). The seat position is relatively high, providing good frontal visibility. The rear seats offer sufficient head room and feature a fold-down centre armrest with favorable sized cupholders. The Hyundai ix35’s cabin storage space is great for a family car and the rear seats fold flat to boost cargo space from almost 600L to over 1,400L! The panoramic glass roof, standard on the Highlander grade, creates a beautiful lightened feel to the interior.
Pre October 2010 the Hyundai ix35’s steering wheel adjusted for tilt (up & down) but not reach (in & out). Not any more, thankfully it now does both. The 2011 ix35 range also gains additional sound deadening materials to reduce road noise levels.
Not so good:
It is disappointing that the dash features more plastic than one would like. The rear legroom provides enough space for the legs to put up with the journey, but not as spacious as expected. The lower window lines are quite above the margin; this means the kids will have to keep bouncing to get a view of the road.
Entry-level Active’s 2.0L Petrol engine produces a respectable 122kW of power (& 197Nm of torque) and whilst noisy under hard acceleration it is by no means forgotten – it’s the sole front-wheel drive variant and subsequently lighter than the AWD ix35’s. The mid-spec 2.4L Petrol benefits from significantly more torque (227Nm); however by far the most impressive engine is the smooth-sounding 2.0L Turbo Diesel which generates a whopping 135kW of power and 392Nm of torque.
Not so good:
With the much hype of the 2.4L Petrol engine, in the real world however the speed doesn’t seems any faster than 2.0L. Yes the sound is less though.
Ride and Handling
Hyundai ix35 affords a fantastic ride displaying the ability of being the only Compact SUV on the road without the fear of being scratched at the corners. Easy to steer through the traffic. Even if the Highlander grade is set on large 18-inch alloy wheels, it gives a comfortable ride.
Not so good:
The steering is on the light side, but considering this isn’t a sports car, it’s hardly worth mentioning. Under hard acceleration the Turbo Diesel grades can suffer from torque steer through the steering wheel (no surprise considering how much pulling power this engine has).
The impressive handling (for a high-riding SUV anyway) does come at the price of ride quality; whilst fine over smooth surfaces the ride is a touch on the firm side over rougher surfaces..
From October 2010 the electronic power steering has been changed to improve steering feel and in order to enhance the ride quality all AWD variants now get ASD suspension as standard. We’ll let you know our thoughts of the changes very soon, once we spend some time driving the updated range.
Buying and Owning
Definitely a best buy with excellent features. ix35’s also features the automatic, a quality six-speed box. This is a significant improvement over the various competitors’ with four-speed gearboxes. The safety feature are impressive with six airbags, ABS brakes, Electronic Brake Distribution, traction & stability control, Downhill Brake Control and Hill Start Assist Control. Also in October 2010 with the introduction of the rear park assist has crossed standards across all grades.
Not so good:
The much talked about two Petrol powered engine offers only on-par fuel economy. Although the Turbo Diesel’s economy is placed best for a Compact SUV, we are still surprised that the official combined fuel economy figure is similar to Hyundai’s larger & heavier seven-seat Diesel powered Santa Fe.