Hyundai ix35: First Impressions South Africa
This week saw Hyundai release a facelift version of their hot-selling compact SUV, the ix35. The ix35 was the first vehicle that really kicked off the brand’s renaissance; taking on Hyundai’s characteristic traits and design philosophies that have helped make them what they are today.
Now before you all begin to point out that the car doesn’t look any different, Hyundai do something called a model enhancement that sees changes to anything other than body panels. Outwardly the new ix35 has nothing more than new headlights, taillights, a grille and new wheels.
The most significant change comes under the bonnet. The old 2.0 litre petrol engine is replaced with a new, ‘super-efficient’ 2.0 litre Multi-Port Injection motor, that offers a more even and efficient delivery of power (116kW) and torque (192Nm). There’s the option of either a six speed manual or auto ‘box, both of which are nice and easy to use.
Your other option is a 2.0 litre CRDi turbodiesel engine that is also available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic; and is enriched by All-Wheel Drive to make this the range-topping ix35.
The interior has also had a shuffle regarding standard features across the line-up; with three levels of specification and two engine options making up six derivatives of the ix35. Tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment becomes standard across the range together with wheel-mounted audio controls; bigger, illuminated cupholders; keyless entry and start for the Elite derivatives; a new audio system with Bluetooth that is incorporated in a TFT 4.3 inch colour LCD touchscreen with a rear-view camera (in the Executive and Elite).
So, how do all the enhancements fit together to make a better SUV? Well, the new lights help keep the 3 year old shape looking fresh and the interior gets a boost of technology to keep it relevant. No doubt it won’t be long before the ix35 gets a complete cosmetic overhaul.
The foundations are far more significant however. The 2.0 litre turbo diesel is brilliant; with outstanding power delivery and first-rate refinement that makes it almost unbelievable that there is a grumbling diesel power engine up front. There’s no turbo lag and no discernable rumble at all and you can really feel the torque across the rev range.
The 2.0 petrol motor writhed a little at Joburg’s altitude. There isn’t enough torque, especially not low down, to prevent stirring at the six speed manual ‘box to make any kind of progress.
The chassis is largely unchanged and remains competent on the road; it’s comfortable, body-roll is fairly limited and grip is plentiful in normal conditions. Three steering modes, Comfort, Normal or Sport are available but don’t offer any real feedback; no matter which you use.
I can see why the ix35 makes up a hefty part of Hyundai’s sales figures. It does everything you’d want from a family SUV; being spacious, comfortable and affordable. The new model continues to do those things very well and will no doubt continue to sell.
Prices of the new Hyundai ix35 range in South Africa:
2.0 NU Premium 6MT2 – R 319 900
2.0 NU Premium 6AT2 – R 334 900
2.0 NU Executive 6MT2 – R 349 900
2.0 NU Elite 6AT2 – R 369 900
R2.0 Elite 6MT2 – R 389 900
R2.0 Elite 6AT4 – R 449 900