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Hyundai ix35 2011 Review

SENSIBLE SUV-ing sums up Hyundai's middle-of-the-road ix35. It ticks most of the boxes for most of the people most of the time and is an intelligent addition to the South Korean company's line-up. Hyundai sold 7202 ix35s last year to be seventh in a congested compact SUV market of 23 models.

It doesn't have the looks of its sportier-styled SUV sibling the Kia Sportage but the classic styling has won more fans and explains why it outsold the Kia two-to-one in the previous month and year.

VALUE

The ix35 power up at $32,490 plus on-roads for the all-wheel drive petrol model, while the top-end Highlander turbodiesel starts from $38,490. The base money buys a five-start rating ANCAP vehicle with six airbags and a a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with 130kW/227Nm.

Step up to the 2.0-litre turbodiesel Carsguide tested and the car is a willing, if noisy performer. The diesel idle on startup continued throughout the rev range. It was matched by the characteristic turbo push from the 135kW/392Nm turbodiesel and, with a majority of freeway driving, Carsguide returned a frugal 7.0-litres for 100km, better than the claimed average.

TECHNOLOGY

There's not much to ask for in the turbodiesel Elite. It misses the reversing camera, panoramic glass roof, six-stack CD player, heated seats and electric folding mirrors on the range-topping Highlander, but is $3000 cheaper and still has auto headlights, fog lamps and the exterior chrome detailing kit on the grille and door handles and push-button start.

The basic platform sits well on the roads until you get beyond the realms of typical SUV driving, at which point it starts to pitch and roll more than a driver wants, but less than the safety software sees fit it intervene. It's a reasonable balance, given the ix35 has off-road ambitions, but is still designed to spend more time on the bitumen than in the bush.

SAFETY

A five-star ANCAP rating puts the Hyundai is on the front line for safety. It has six airbags, a suite of protective software aids for on and off-road driving, a sound body structure and an all-wheel drive system that's mainly limited by ground clearance.

It feels stable on the road and the airconditioning is first-rate, clearing humidity/frost build-up on the windscreen in seconds. The towing rating is 1600kg (braked) to boot, so it's capable of towing the small boat/caravan found in so many backyards these days.

STYLING

The ix35 was penned at Hyundai's design centre in Russelsheim, Germany, so it's a stylish-enough beast without having the sporty pretentions of the aptly-named Sportage.

The bumpers are subtly aggressive, especially with the foglights fitted, there's a roof spoiler and it looks like a quality vehicle. Nothing inside will change your opinion, be it the seats or the instrument layout.

The basic package looks ... durable ... and that's something that will help the ix35 win even more sales. The icing on the proverbil cake is the junior family friendliness that is dials and plastics served up in an easy-to-digest format that looks like it will survive repeated wipe-downs.

DRIVING

This is a consensus approach to the compromised suspension set-up SUVs have to be fitted with. On the one hand drivers expect road-compliant riding but still demand plenty of travel when they venture onto a rain-rutted track.

The ix35 cuts the two extremes off - it's no sportscar, not a hardcore bush-basher - and does its best to satisfy the middle-class mums-and-dads' ground who won't need it for much more than the odd gravel or sand track.

The steering is light - too soft for me, but no worse than some rivals - and lets you keep the car on track at anything less than 100 per cent acceleration. Floor it and the front-end can be a bit floaty, especially with the turbodiesel's torque curve matched to the auto's six-speed ratios, meaning acceleration is brisk for quite some time.

The radio reception dies earlier underground than some of the Japanese cars in this class and the auto headlights take a couple of seconds longer to activate in tunnels, but it is a solid all-round performer that deserves its ranking on buyers' shopping lists.

There's enough space in the back to stow a family of four's weekend camping gear and the doesn't suffer too much from the extra rearward weight.

VERDICT

It stands out by being good, without being a standout, in so many areas.

HYUNDAI ix35 2.0 R ELITE

Price: $35,490
Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder
Power: 135kW at 4000 revs
Torque: 392Nm from 1800-2500 revs
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, on-demand all-wheel drive
Economy: 7.5 litres/100km (claimed, combined)
CO2 emissions: 198g/km
Body: Five-door wagon
Seats: Five
Dimensions: length 4410mm, width 1920mm, height 1655mm
Wheelbase: 2640mm, tracks front/rear 1585mm/1586mm
Steering: Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Suspension: MacPherson strut (front), multi-link (rear)
Fuel tank: 55 litres Fuel type: Diesel
Weight: 1706kg
Spare tyre: Full-size
Brakes: 300mm ventilated front discs, 284mm solid rear discs
Wheels: 17-inch alloys
Tyres: 225/60
Safety gear: ABS brakes with brakeforce distribution, hill ascent/descent control, electronic stability control, traction control, six airbags.

FEATURES

  • Air-conditioning
  • Cruise control
  • Alloy wheels
  • Parking sensors
  • Auto wipers.

Pricing Guides

$13,893
Based on 194 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$5,613
Highest Price
$20,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
ACTIVE (FWD) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,613 – 14,290 2011 Hyundai IX35 2011 ACTIVE (FWD) Pricing and Specs
ELITE (AWD) 2.4L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $8,214 – 16,990 2011 Hyundai IX35 2011 ELITE (AWD) Pricing and Specs
HIGHLANDER (AWD) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $10,990 – 20,990 2011 Hyundai IX35 2011 HIGHLANDER (AWD) Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$4,869

Lowest price, based on 170 car listings in the last 6 months

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