Hyundai has taken a leaf out of Kia Australia's book with progressive localisation of its vehicle lineup. Latest to benefit from the Aussie touch is the popular Hyundai ix35, with a Series II of the popular small SUV that's been around for a few years now. Hyundai says the changes enhance the vehicle's value for money and a look at the spec' sheet gives little to complain about.
They've had a crack at the suspension set up for better ride comfort in addition to sharper handling and made it more resilient to local conditions. Other changes have been made to its appearance inside and out and mechanical upgrades include new direct-injection petrol engines.
On the outside are projection headlights with LED positioning lights, aerodynamic roof rails and new alloy wheels. Inside is new seat upholstery on the entry level Active variants, more upmarket door trims on Elite and top-spec Highlander variants, two-way adjustable split rear bench seat and more.
Engine / Transmission / Suspension
Explore the 2014 Hyundai ix35 range
Under the bonnet is a new petrol engine range in 2.0 and 2.4 litre capacities complementing the diesel. The 2.0L GDI engine achieves 122kW/205Nm while the 2.4L GDI in Elite and Highlander is good for 136kW/240Nm. Both use less fuel and generate fewer emissions along with performance gains.
The 2.0L diesel remains the same achieving some 135kW/392Nm with 7.2L/100km fuel economy. The base model now gets a six-speed, rather than five-speed manual gearbox, alongside the six-speed automatic that is standard across the rest of the range.
Other mechanical changes are to the steering now with quicker-ratio power assistance. The suspension has been fine tuned with changes to the coils, front and rear stabiliser bars and a bushing mounted engine sub-frame.
Price and features
Pricing for the front wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol six speed manual starts at $26,990. The ix35 Series II gets standard Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming, six-speaker audio including tweeters, steering wheel audio controls, USB auto input with iPod compatibility, auxiliary audio input jack and rear roof-mounted aerial. Safety rating is 5-star ANCAP.
We had a good spin in the diesel Elite covering some 500km and a stint on Fraser Island's sand tracks. On the road the ix is a delight with high levels of comfort and excellent throttle response with minimal noise or vibration. See a gap in the traffic, push the accelerator and you're there. Come to a set of corners and it's a lot like the i30 dynamically.
But the deep sand stopped it after about 6km of darting across the soft Fraser sand. Even with 4WD lock and the stability control switched off it was a case of "get the snatch strap." We were expecting way too much of the little SUV but on rough dirt roads, in the snow or on firm beach sand it would be a handy tool.
We know why they are so popular — practical, comfy, stylish and well featured at a hot price.