Hyundai ix35 Active

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Hyundai ix35 Active
Hyundai ix35

Hyundai ix35


Hyundai ix35 Active

RRP: $28,990 (manufacturer’s list price, excluding on-road costs and dealer delivery)

Options fitted to test car (not included in above price): metallic paint $320

Crash rating . N/A

Fuel . Regular ULP

Claimed fuel economy (L/100km): 8.5

CO2 emissions (g/km): 203

Also consider . Toyota RAV4 CV, Holden Captiva 5, Nissan Dualis ST

Overall rating: 3.0/5.0

Engine/Drivetrain/Chassis: 3.0/5.0

Price, Packaging and Practicality: 3.0/5.0

Safety: 3.0/5.0

Behind the wheel: 2.5/5.0

X-factor: 3.5/5.0

The astonishing growth of the compact SUV segment is pretty close to unprecedented in Australia. Look at the list of carmakers in there trying to make a buck or two: From those claiming to be instigators of the category we have Subaru (initially with the 1970s DL AWD wagon and now with its Forester; and Toyota with its original three-door RAV4 in 1994), we have seen just about every carmaker of note deciding to field an entry.

Deeply engaged in all this is Korean car-maker Hyundai which has been travelling very nicely in the SUV segment in recent years with its Santa Fe and, until now, Tucson.

The Tucson came to Australia in 2004 armed with on-demand all-wheel drive and the 2.7-litre V6 engine from the bigger Santa Fe, along with a price proposition that was difficult to argue with. This combination was available for an RRP just below $30,000, which made the RAV4-size Tucson a powerful competitor in a vicious market.

This was rammed home even more when Hyundai bit the bullet and announced an even cheaper, four-cylinder City version – with front-drive only – the following year.

By quickly establishing itself as the preferred Tucson, the City demonstrated what people were really looking for in an SUV – and it was nothing to do with perceived off-road ability. This argument has been eloquently legitimised since by the arrival of a swathe of two-wheel drive only SUVs from carmakers including Ford, Holden and Toyota – and many in between.

The Hyundai ix35 abides by the same principles established in the Tucson. The base model is front-drive only, with on-demand AWD versions utilising a bigger petrol engine further up the range. As well, there’s now an AWD 2.0-litre turbodiesel.

The difference is that the base ix35 Active suggests it is anything but the entry-level version.

If you ignore the standard 17-inch steel wheels, painted grille and lack of front foglights, the ix35 Active has been carefully calculated so as not to make buyers feel they’ve skimped on their compact SUV.

As well as showing evidence of its Russelsheim (Germany) styling origins, the ix35 Active scores well in the touchy-feely stakes with a classy interior, surprising standard equipment and plenty of stretching and cargo space.

A six-way power adjusted front driver’s seat, cruise control, trip computer, a rear luggage blind, six-speaker MP3/WMA sound system with iPod compatible USB port and an auxiliary input jack – as well as steering wheel controls – all suggest this is no stripper model. Even the damped grab handles maintain a general impression of quality.

Then there’s stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and the inclusion of hill descent control and hill-start assist to give the ix35 Active every chance of doing what the driver intends.

Passive safety includes the usual six airbags, active whiplash-avoiding front headrests and a passenger-protective body design incorporating side impact bars and a rigid occupant structure with front and rear crush zones.

The ix35 Active comes with a new, Theta-II 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine featuring a dead-square bore/stroke ratio, and more oomph than the previous 2.0-litre powerplant with impressive outputs of 122kW at 6200rpm and 197Nm at 4600rpm.

The Theta II is 10kg or so lighter than the previous engine, and adopts variable camshaft timing and a two-stage variable intake system in addition to the usual 16-valve, twin overhead camshaft configuration.

Economy and emissions figures are surprisingly good. Hyundai quotes an average 8.5L/100km for both five-speed manual and six-speed auto versions, and CO2 figures of 201g/km and 203g/km respectively. Fuel economy comfortably undercuts petrol-engined (though AWD) Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan.

This is all helped along by an in-house developed six-speed sequential auto transmission that delivers equal fuel economy to the manual five-speed version and, as indicated earlier, only lags a little compared with the manual in CO2 outputs.

Hyundai has planned and executed the ix35 with characteristic savvy. The pricing has barely increased over the outgoing Tucson equivalents (the V6 is gone, but the new 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder and 2.0-litre turbodiesel more than compensate), and the style, packaging and on-road behaviour have been ramped up in accord with recent, impressive new Hyundais not the least of which is the acclaimed i30 hatch.

With its modish, wedgy, high-windowed style it guarantees kerbside attention and the airy interior promises it will deliver the practicalities expected of a compact SUV. Dimensionally, it sits comfortably among X-Trails, Tiguans, CR-Vs and RAV4s, while the packaging efficiency ensures a good balance between passenger space and luggage room.

So what is the new compact Hyundai SUV like to live with? Well, once you’ve got past the alluring looks and apparent quality of the interior, you should find the ix35 delivers on its substantial promise. It certainly gives little away to even the most impressive of its competitors.

If you thought, for example, that the 2.0-litre engine might be something of a spoiler in the lighter-than-most, 1485kg Hyundai, the on-road experience proves otherwise.

The 122kW four steps off the line with eagerness, delivering a nice healthy buzz as it does so. Transmission ratios are well spaced to ensure a steady onward surge and the shifts are brisk and smooth.

Hyundai ix35

It is only when you approach the top end of the rpm band on full throttle that it begins to sound a little uncomfortable. Part-throttle acceleration is really its forte as revs build quickly, the shifts are swift and the engine develops its decidedly sporty but well-enough subdued note.

The six-speed auto shows evidence of a job well done, although the fact that the engine’s commendably high 197Nm of torque doesn’t come in until 4600rpm shows in its need to shuffle between ratios, sometimes annoyingly, as the ix35 mounts a moderately steep incline.

On the other hand, the manual-select function holds the chosen gear longer, and more satisfyingly, than most. The driver gets the impression that the car is showing respect for a greater authority. Because of this, the up-down ‘hunting’ experienced in full auto mode can be largely overridden.

In the end, the ix35 Active is a quite sprightly compact SUV, ready for a quick overtaking manoeuvre on the open road and, via the sequential shifter, handy through a give and take set of undulating bends.

But the ride, even if there’s enough compliance to smooth off the sharp edges, tends to be a little abrupt on sudden road irregularities and the steering is far too light to contribute a well-planted feel. With three turns from lock to lock it is fast, but it lacks weight, and any sense of connectedness with the road surface.

That said, the ix35’s actual grip via its 225/60R17 tyres is fine, within the normal parameters of a high-set SUV (the spare tyre is full-size too).

The fact that the ix35 Active is front-drive only will barely be noticed unless it is being forcefully accelerated off the mark on a slippery surface. The on-demand AWD system used on Elite and Highlander versions doesn’t exactly make for a hardened off-roader but it does add a sense of extra security on damp road surfaces. The Active has stability control to look after those issues.

With the backdrop of the muted and pleasant engine note, even this base ix35 proceeds with a sense of quiet aplomb. Road noise is well attenuated, and the rush of wind at cruising speeds doesn’t intrude on the senses. It is remarkable these days how a car interpreted as a budget model can imbue such impressions of luxury.

The doors shut with a satisfying thump, and the seats, if a bit flat and short on general support, are big enough and have sufficient give to feel comfortable. Surprisingly, the cloth-clad rear seat seems more substantial and cozy than the leather seats in the top of the range ix35 Highlander.

With the power seat, even tall drivers are able to find a comfortable position at the helm.

The ix35’s luggage area folds flat with one quick movement of the 60-40 split-fold backrests, and offers as much as 1436 litres of load space with the rear seat folded, or a very decent 591 litres behind the back seat when it is in place. Considering the generosity of passenger space, this speaks volumes for the Hyundai’s packaging efficiency.

In fact the ix35, even in base form, is all about efficiency with its better than average economy, strong performance and commendable levels of safety (no ANCAP rating as yet, but it can be assumed the ix35 will score better than the four-star Tucson. The ix35’s big brother, the Santa Fe, scores five ANCAP stars).

And the on-test fuel figure of 8.8L/100km indicates the official 8.5L/100km average is within the ballpark for most drivers.

If, like most compact SUV buyers, the matter of AWD or front-drive is of no concern to you, the ix35 Active skimps on nothing (if you don’t mind the painted grille and the lack of fog lights) yet is priced to put the wind up the opposition.

Probably the only area in which it falls short, especially when you think of the good work Hyundai has been doing lately (the i30 rates a mention again), is the way it steers.

But if that is the only real criticism that can be directed at the ix35, there’s not much suggesting it should be anything but a high-ranking rational choice in the entry-level compact SUV segment.

Watch Carsales TV’s video review of the new Hyundai ix35

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Published. Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
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