2011 HYUNDAI IX35 ELITE REVIEW
Vehicle Style: SUV
Fuel Economy (claimed): 7.5 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.1 l/100km
The Hyundai iX35 comes in three variants. The front-wheel-drive Active kicks the range off at $26,990 and is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a choice of manual or automatic.
Next rung up and starting at $32,490 sits the AWD Elite (as tested). The engine choice grows with the option of a 2.4-litre petrol or the 2.0-litre R Series diesel as fitted to our test car.
Sitting atop the range is the AWD Highlander, which, at $38,490, comes standard with the R-series diesel, six-speed auto and a full equipment list.
- Quality: It is hard to argue with the level of quality that Hyundai is achieving. Our test vehicle was very well finished, with rattles and vibrations completely absent.
- Comfort: A standard six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is a feature across the range. There is a centre armrest for rear seat passengers and plenty of space to get comfortable for two adults or three kids in the back.
- Equipment: Standard features include 17-inch wheels, keyless entry and alarm, rear roof spoiler, AUX and USB port with iPod compatibility, roof rails, front fog lamps, dusk-sensing headlights, luggage net, push-button start and a proximity smart key.
- Storage: Storage spaces include a console storage tray, glove box, door bins on all four doors and overhead sunglasses storage.
With the rear seats up 591 litres of cargo can be stored in the boot, expanding to 1436 litres with the rear seats folded down.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The R-series diesel is strong and quiet. There is plenty of low-down grunt to get you moving, and it revs in a way that will have some thinking it’s a very healthy petrol engine. The Hyundai designed six-speed auto is also a polished performer on road.
The electronic all-wheel-drive system automatically activates when needed. It features a driver-selectable AWD lock that allows a 50/50 torque split between the front and rear wheels for off-road and slippery conditions
We found the IX35 surprisingly frugal for an SUV, with 8.1 l/100km being achieved on test, in stop-start city driving.
The light steering lacks feel at speed, but will be appreciated by most buyers in the daily urban grind.
- Refinement: The cabin is airy, well insulated and isolated from road noise. When pushed there is some engine roar, but it’s muted and you’d be hard pressed to pick it as a diesel.
- Suspension: Hyundai has been working on its suspension tunes and they’ve got it close to right with the ix35. Arguably a little more initial compliance would be nice, but overall the ride is smooth, and well controlled.
- Braking: Four-wheel discs provide ample stopping power.
- ANCAP rating: 5 Stars
- Safety features: Standard active safety features include ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, and ESC stability control with traction control.
The ix35 comes standard with six airbags across the range, including dual frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and roof-mounted side curtain airbags.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: Five years/unlimited kilometres.
- Service costs: Servicing intervals are set at every 15,000km/12 months. Maintenance costs vary, so contact your Hyundai dealer before purchase.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY:
- Kia Sportage Platinum AWD ($39,490) - The only Sportage with the R-series diesel. It costs more, but you do get climate control a/c, a sunroof and a place for the driver to rest their right foot.
The Sportage is better on the road and easier on the eye. (see Sportage reviews)
- Holden Captiva 5 AWD ($33,990) - Right in the ballpark on pricing, it is trounced by the Hyundai’s combination of superior build quality, more advanced drivetrain and overall feeling of greater solidity. (see Captiva reviews)
- Volkswagen Tiguan 103 TDI ($39,190) - Features a seven-speed DSG gearbox and some European brand cachet.
The German's diesel is a bit lacking in this company, down a fist-full of kilowatts and newton-metres, but the Tiguan is a good thing nonetheless. (see Tiguan reviews)
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The ix35 is a car you can buy with confidence. If it doesn’t trounce the competition on price, its engine specs sheet leave most looking under-cooked.
The only serious diesel-powered compact SUV contender is the Kia Sportage. Sharing the ix35’s platform, in Platinum guise it gets the same R-series diesel drive-train, albeit at a higher spec level and a $4,000 premium.
The Sportage is not only the better looking twin, it’s also a better drive.
We suggest you try them both.