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Hyundai ix35 2.4 petrol 2010 review


Hyundai has broken away from the boxy mainstream of affordable small cars, and a declaration of its independence is the company's ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language. The creases, folds and character lines of the styling that is spreading across the carmaker’s range are what give the company's new ix35 SUV -- the replacement for the plain-Jane Tuscon -- its stand-out looks.

However, such styling often splits opinion, and such would appear to be the case here. A very unscientic 50 per cent of comment on the test car was less than complimentary while other 50 per cent were positively enthralled. In fact, if nothing else the ix35 Elite in its pale green livery does elicit strong feelings. It was love it or hate it.  Personally, I love it. The look, at least.


Having swapped out of the company's revised Santa Fe with the punchy 2.2-litre diesel it was something of a shock taking off in the petrol ix35.  The petrol car is certainly quieter than its larger oil-burning cousin and in its own small way, quite refined. In the manner of Hyundai's small petrol engines, however, the 4-cylinder, 2.4-litre Theta II coupled to the six-speed automatic feels a little dozy.

On paper there is no reason why it should. There is 130kW of power --quite adequate for highway cruising -- and a reasonable 227Nm of torque. The problem appears to be in the rather high revs needed to get enough of the torque in the game to get the ix35 up and moving.  It's not a dealer-breaker but does give the impression the little SUV is a touch lazy.

The lockable AWD system still gives the option of getting a little down and dirty at weekends or that extra safety envelope on slippery roads although it won't do anything for your fuel economy. As a 2WD around town the ix35 has been getting close to its claimed economy of 12.4L/100km.  An experiment running it with AWD locked on saw that figure a distant memory with a week's worth of running averaging out at closer to 14.5L/100km.


Ride in the ix35 is comfortable without being plush and, pleasingly, the steering has a more lively and responsive edge to it than is the case with some other models wearing the badge.  The AWD is a touch lower than the previous Tucson model and while that may disappoint some who fancy their off-road chances it has done no harm to the car's city manners. The only real disappointing is that the development budget didn't stretch to adding reach to the adjustments on the steering wheel, but with the good range of seating adjustment it can be compensated for.

Interior and equipment

Like the exterior, the cabin has a fresh feel to it and Hyundai continues to use a better quality of material than many of its competitors. Softer-touch plastics and metal highlights give the ix35 a richer feel than the outgoing Tucson and equipment level are generous.

There is six-way power adjustment for the driver, good space in the high cabin and even in the rear seats the passengers are not cheated for leg or head room. However, that does have a cost in that the extra space for sentient beings does restrict room for their luggage.  Space with the rear seats in place is sufficient for a moderate shop or a couple of smallish travel bags. Drop them and that more than doubles to a very useable boot.

Storage options for drinks and bits and pieces around the cabin are generous and cleverly placed to actually be of use to passengers.  The Elite has, as standard, an iPod compatible sound system operated from buttons on the steering wheel, cruise control, proximity key and push-button start meaning the keys need never leave your poscket, 17-inch alloys with a full-size spare.

With the ix35 Hyundai has continued its push towards fitting as much safety kit as possible into its value cars. Electronic stability control is standard as are six airbags, ABS with brake assist and hill start assist.

Bottom line

Value, if not performance, to burn.

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Range and Specs

ACTIVE (FWD) 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $9,989 – 10,000 2010 Hyundai IX35 2010 ACTIVE (FWD) Pricing and Specs
ELITE (AWD) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,990 – 15,995 2010 Hyundai IX35 2010 ELITE (AWD) Pricing and Specs
HIGHLANDER (AWD) 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $9,800 – 17,990 2010 Hyundai IX35 2010 HIGHLANDER (AWD) Pricing and Specs
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