2011 Hyundai ix35 Highlander Review and Road Test | CarShowroom.com.au

3 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2011 Hyundai ix35 Highlander Review and Road Test | CarShowroom.com.au
Hyundai ix35

2011 Hyundai ix35 Highlander Review and Road Test

Hyundai’s handily-priced and nicely-equipped ix35 is now one of Australia’s most popular compact SUVs taking the sales race right up to the established stars like Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV and Nissan X-TRAIL.

The good-looking Hyundai ix35 highlights the world-standard products now emerging from Hyundai. That’s world standard in looks, engineering and anything else you can think of.

Hyundai ix35 Overview

Hyundai ix35 is sold in three models grades ‘Active’, ‘Elite’ and range-topping ‘Highlander’. Car Showroom has previously tested the ix35 in Highlander specification powered by Hyundai’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, but this time around we got behind the wheel of a petrol-powered model.

The Hyundai ix35 Elite and Highlander diesel are sold as all-wheel-drive (AWD), while the Highlander petrol (as tested) and Active models drive the front wheels (2WD).

Highlander models score lots of nice extras including leather seats.

Like other brands, Hyundai has recognized a shift in customer thinking with compact SUVs many buyers don’t need off-road ability but do need the extra space and load-carrying of these ‘crossovers’. For those buyers (often families), the Hyundai ix35 Highlander 2WD petrol automatic ticks many boxes.

Hyundai ix35 Engine

There’s no denying diesel engines are enjoying a surge in popularity amongst Australian new car buyers. It’s also undeniable that, at many outlets, local diesel customers – unlike their counterparts in Europe – are still treated like dump truck drivers and forced to refill their vehicles at, dirty, smelly, stained fuel bowsers.

And at the pump, diesel prices in Australia remain inexplicably high compared to Europe.

So if you’re marketing an SUV in Australia, expect to lose sales if your model range doesn’t include a petrol engine.

In addition to its turbo-diesel, Hyundai offers the Hyundai ix35 with a choice of two, four-cylinder petrol engines a 2.4-litre powered Elite AWD, and the Highlander 2WD automatic we tested, while the Active model employs a 2.0-litre powerplant.

Hyundai’s Theta II, 2.4-litre petrol engine is a DOHC design and it’s good for 130kW at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 227Nm at 4,000rpm. Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 9.2l/100kms and the Hyundai ix35 runs a 55-litre fuel tank.

Those outputs are lineball with Subaru Forester, Nissan X-TRAIL and Toyota RAV four-cylinder.

Hyundai ix35 Highlander petrol drives the front wheels via Hyundai’s slick six-speed automatic transmission. That six-speed auto is a Hyundai design, claimed to be the most compact and lightest of any comparable six-speed automatic (many other companies use transmissions sourced from gearbox specialists like ZF and Getrag).

Hyundai ix35 The Interior

Style meets functionality inside the Hyundai ix35 and that’s a claim some rival compact SUVs would struggle to make. There’s a degree of ‘softness’ felt once you climb inside the Hyundai ix35, reflecting its urban-resident design intent and explaining its popularity amongst female and first-time SUV buyers.

That’s not to say Hyundai’s designers have ignored requirements for hard workit’s just that the ix35 is a tad more user-friendly for mums and school runs than some rivals.

In Highlander specification you score nice leather seats (heated fronts), leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, a panoramic glass sunroof and dual-zone climate control, air-conditioning.

Forward visibility for the driver is good, and comfort is reasonable with electronic seat adjustment, however the squab is a bit short and lacking in under-thigh support and the steering wheel only adjusts for rake.

We liked the 8.5cm colour reversing camera display in the rear-view mirror reversing cameras are a definite safety item and should be standard in all cars. And we also liked the excellent graphics for the conventional instruments (including a nice back-lit illuminated LCD trip computer mounted between the gauges).

Audio is a six-stack, six-speaker CD system with an amplifier, sub-woofer and iPod/USB connectivity.

We must also compliment the Hyundai ix35 for its abundance of storage bins/boxes inside family buyers appreciate smart design like that.

Hyundai ix35

Rear seat space and legroom is on par with others in this segment and installation of child seats was straight-forward. The rear seat split folds 60/40 for extra cargo (luggage space maxes at 1579-litres with seats folded).

And safety gets a big tick with dual front airbags, dual side (thorax) airbags and front and rear passenger side curtain airbags.

Hyundai ix35 Exterior Styling

Stylists at Hyundai’s European Design Centre in Russelsheim, Germany have crafted a thoroughly modern, curvy and innovative compact SUV in the Hyundai ix35.

Unlike some boxy rivals, the Hyundai ix35 is distinctly ‘un-boxy’ with abundant curves flowing from the sculptured front end, along the side with its high (curved again) waistline and exaggerated wheel arch lines.

There’s the usual, modern, (yes, curved!) wraparound headlights and hallmark Hyundai hexagonal grille with its thick central bar.

The A-pillar is quite swept back and the clever kicked-up C-pillar with triangular third side windows is very sharp.

We liked the nice front fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels on our Highlander grade test car.

Hyundai ix35 On The Road

This was our first time in a petrol-powered Hyundai ix35 in Highlander grade and again we handed the car back to Hyundai with some reluctance. Refined, well-mannered and impressive in both city and rural environmentswell its no wonder Australian compact SUV buyers are snapping-up the Hyundai ix35 in big numbers.

And Hyundai Australia is to be commended for its insistence on local development for the ix35’s suspension package. ‘Downunder’ roads are challenging and specific Australian chassis tuning pays off with bump-soaking, coarse-chip-bitumen-sound-absorbing suspension which still delivers good feedback and balance even over our high-speed mountain roads test loop.

Sure the Hyundai is35 is no Mercedes-Benz ML in the quick stuff, but it can hold its own with rivals like X-TRAIL and RAV.

And a special word for refinement. The 2.4-litre four-cylinder and six-speed automatic are nicely matched for good acceleration onto freeways and noise levels were low, even under heavy harsh throttle.

Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
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