Hyundai ix35 First Drive Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services

20 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Hyundai ix35 First Drive Car Reviews | NRMA Motoring & Services
Hyundai ix35

Hyundai ix35

First Drive

Author: NRMA Motoring Date: 1 February 2010

Hyundai is going be busy in the first half of 2010, with the launch of its new small car, the i20 and the all-new replacement for the Sonata – the i45. However kicking things off is its mid-sized SUV replacement for the ageing Tucson – the ix35.

Launched in 2004 the Tucson, especially the Tucson City, sold in reasonable numbers right until the end, with sharp pricing being the major attraction.

With the launch of the Euro inspired i30 hatch in 2007, the Accent nameplate was dropped and it heralded a change in direction for Hyundai. So too with the Tucson badge – its been consigned to the spare parts bin, and its replacement – the ix35 continues with the euro style nonclementure.

It’s no surprise then that this latest off-road compact SUV was penned and developed by designers from Hyundai’s Russelsheim German studio, one of four design studios worldwide that bid for its design rights.

There are three variants in the line-up – Active, Elite and Highlander

Active is the entry level model, and like the Tucson City, it’s only two-wheel drive. It#39;s powered by Hyundai#39;s revised 2.0 litre ‘theta’ engine that develops 122kW of power thanks to the adoption of dual variable valve timing. The old unit was rated at 104kW. There’s a new six speed automatic transmission, or if you prefer, a five-speed manual. Pricing starts at $26,990.

The six-speed auto adds $2000, at $28,990.

Standard features include electronic stability control, six airbags, active front headrests, downhill brake control, hill start control, a full size spare, 17-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, driver’s electric adjustable seat and a USB port that’s iPod compatible.

AWD Elite

Next in line is the AWD Elite, powered by a larger 2.4 litre four cylinder engine or a 2.0 litre diesel. The petrol engine develops 130kW of power and 227Nm of torque and the diesel 135kW of power and 392Nm of torque. A six-speed auto is behind both engines with no manual available.

Specification levels are upgraded to include a proximity key and push button start, roof rails, fog lamps, dusk sensing headlamps, leather steering wheel, leather/cloth trim, fog lamps, roof rails and 17 inch alloy wheels.

The Elite petrol starts at $31,990 and the diesel at $34,990.

The flagship version is the Highlander, and is available as a diesel auto only.

Extra equipment includes 18-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, full leather trim, electric folding external mirrors, heated front seats. six-stack CD player and a rear view camera, mounted in the rear view mirror.

The Highlander is priced at $37,990.

Inside and out the ix35 looks new and sharp reflecting a sporty rather than off-road look. Front on it shows off Hyundai’s newest corporate face with a dominant hexagonal shaped grille design which will be carried across all future models.

Hyundai ix35

We drove examples of all three variants over a range of conditions that included some sections of dirt road. All models are clearly more refined than the old Tucson, with greatly improved dynamics. That’s no surprise as the Tuscon was only just above average in terms of on-road ability and was really starting to show its age, especially given the quality of the field in this competitive segment with Subaru, Volkswagen, Toyota and Mitsubishi all having strong contenders.

Inside the ix35 it’s about as contemporary as you can get with lots of flowing lines and different materials and colours. The car’s cabin elevates the ix35 to new levels for Hyundai.

Sure there’s a bit of form over function happening with the way some of the minor controls are placed but, in the main it comes together and works well.

Buyers like this style of vehicle for the elevated driving position and forward vision they provide and the new ix35 won’t disappoint. Forward vision is excellent, and the only area that might be a concern for some drivers is the slightly restrictive view through the rear 3/4 of the car due to the upward tapering waistline.

Performance-wise the stars of the line-up are the larger 2.4 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel, found in the mid specced Elite and top of the range Highlander. The 2.0 litre in the base 2WD Active needed to be pushed and became very busy when asked to overtake. The extra torque from the larger petrol and diesel engines really helped.

They’re no lightweights either, with the diesel Highlander weighing in at over 1700kg which could explain the less than remarkable fuel consumption figures across the range.

The 2WD Active auto returns 8.5 litres per 100km. The likely volume selling Elite used 9.2 litres and the diesel Highlander, although the heaviest, was the best of the bunch at 7.5 litres per 100km combined.


On the brief drive, the suspension setup on the Elite and Highlander seemed the best suited to the road conditions on the day. The 2WD Active felt too firm and harsh on the secondary roads we encountered. It’s not the worst SUV I’ve driven in terms of ride quality, but given the fact that at launch Hyundai executives spoke about how there was some Australian input into the suspension settings and tuning it seemed off the pace.

A longer evaluation of the new models is coming soon.

Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
Hyundai ix35
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