The bold and the beautiful – from Hyundai
The latest and fourth version of Hyundai’s acclaimed i-Series cars arrived in South Africa in 2010 in the form of the ix35, breaking new ground in the Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV) segment of the market.
Hyundai’s ix35 offers customers the very latest engine and safety technology in a user-friendly size which boasts exceptional refinement, quality and comfort. A number of surprise and delight features often not expected in this sector, along with avant-garde styling and with the practical benefit of wind-cheating properties, is an added bonus.
“The ix35 is another manifestation of the rapid progress which the Hyundai brand continues to make,” says Hyundai’s marketing director, Stanley Anderson.
To this end Hyundai Automotive South Africa has introduced a range of six derivatives, four of which are powered by the sophisticated Theta-II petrol engine in either 2,0-litre or 2,4-litre capacities, with the remaining two featuring a potent new R2,0-litre CRDI turbodiesel.
Drivetrain options include four-wheel-drive versions of the R Type turbodiesel and 2,4 petrol (linked to a six-speed automatic transmission), while the 2,0-litre petrol derivatives are mated to a five-speed manual or the six-speed automatic driving the front wheels. Finally, the R Type turbodiesel is also available with this 4×2 drivetrain and a six-speed manual gearbox.
Six derivatives are available, four powered by the new Theta-II petrol engine in either 2,0-litre or 2,4-litre capacities, and the other two by a potent new R2,0-litre CRDI turbodiesel. The base engine produces 122 kW/197 Nm and its big brother delivers 130 kW/227 Nm. The R Type turbodiesel delivers the same amount of power, but combined with 392 Nm of torque – all the way from 1 800 to 2 500 r/min.
Concept and design
Hyundai decided to move away from the distinctly hatchback proportions of the Tucson when they penned its replacement and the result is a sleek, low-line one-box shape.
This new “fluidic” design language breaks new ground and finds confident expression in the sweeping, gently curved lines which flow rearward and provide a level of athleticism not typically associated with this class of vehicle. To achieve this dynamic and sporty effect, ix35 gets an aggressively high waistline, coupled with a low-to-the-ground feel which is enhanced by the 225/55 R18 wheels on all but the baseline model.
The ix35 is longer and wider than the previous Tucson, but is slightly lower. It rides on a 2 640 mm wheel base that is 10 mm longer than before. At 4 410 mm and 1 820 mm, the body of the ix35 is 85 mm longer and 20 mm wider than before, greatly improving the interior cabin space. Reducing overall height by 20 mm to 1 660 mm has been achieved without affecting headroom.
Careful packaging has created a rear compartment that is well-suited to adults while the longer rear overhang addresses the needs of the luggage. Roof rails not only confirm its lifestyle positioning, but also provide a very real possibility to easily expand the load-carrying capability.
Long list of luxury features
Apart from the entry-level 2,0-litre petrol, all versions boast luxurious GLS trim while the range-topper gets a number of additional comfort and convenience items over and above this. All boast an exceptional level of equipment however, including audio remote controls on the steering wheel, a multimedia interface, reversing camera integral with the rearview mirror, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, full-function driving computer, alloy wheels, 60:40 split rear seat, auto-arming central locking and electric windows all round.
All but the entry-level model are equipped with black leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, electric folding mirrors and cruise control with switchgear on the steering wheel.
The drivetrains represent the very latest engineering and showcase Hyundai’s ability to design and manufacture state-of-the-art engines and gearboxes. The six-speed automatic transmission, for example, is an in-house design. When used with the 4×4 system, a number of additional safety features and driver’s aids are fitted, so that owners can play it safe…
Hyundai engineers have taken their World Engine – the largest petrol engine programme in the world – and created the lighter, more fuel efficient and cleaner-running Theta-II. Available locally as both a 2,0-litre and 2,4 four cylinder, these all-aluminium multivalve engines now feature variable valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust camshafts, compared to Theta-I which only adjusted the inlet cam phasing. Dual CVVT has benefits for both fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions.
Another major improvement for the iX35 application is the change to a two-stage Variable Intake System (VIS) which enables switching between long and short intake manifold lengths, resulting in an across-the-board performance increase.
The smaller engine of these two produces an impressive 122 kW at 6 200 revs/min, backed up by 197 Nm at 4 600 revs/min. Whether in two- or three-pedal guise, owners can expect overall consumption of 8.7 litres/100 km and CO2 emissions of just over 206 g/km.
The 2,4-litre engine delivers 130 kW and 227 Nm and will use 9,2 litres of unleaded petrol per 100 km, emitting 219 g of CO2 emissions per kilometre. It’ll also accelerates to 100 km/h in 10 seconds exactly and continue on to 185 km/h.
With 130 kW at 4 000 r/min. and 392 Nm between 1 800 and 2 500 r/min., the CRDi R2,0-litre has all the makings of a modern classic. This is the newest member of Hyundai’s “R” diesel engine family and benefits from the third generation common rail system developed by Bosch whose piezo-electric injectors deliver fuel at 1800 bar pressure, providing outstanding accuracy and control.
An electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger and an advanced engine control unit eliminates turbo lag and ensures the highest level of communication between engine and transmission. The R also has a lower balance shaft to eliminate vibration and a 16-valve dual overhead camshaft cylinder head. Weight-saving features include a serpentine belt with isolation pulley, a plastic head cover, plastic intake manifold and plastic oil filter housing.
To achieve Euro-5 emission compliance, the R is fitted with a close-coupled diesel particulate filter. When mated to the six-speed manual gearbox, the iX35 R Type CRDi requires just 6,4 litres of 50 ppm diesel per 100 km while emitting a mere 170 g/km of CO2.
To achieve maximum fuel efficiency, all ix35 models incorporate a state-of-the-art Alternator Management System (AMS) whose circuitry monitors electrical loads and the state of battery charge. During low electrical loads and a full charge in the battery, a clutch automatically disengages the alternator to reduce the load on the engine and lower fuel consumption.
In addition, the rack and pinion steering is power-assisted by an electric motor rather than by a hydraulic pump, limited power off-take to periods when steering lock is actually being applied.
Hyundai’s all-new six-speed automatic transaxle has helped the company meet its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions while providing smooth gearshifts. In addition, Shiftronic provides the option of sporty, manual shifting via a sequential gate.
Designed for transverse engine applications in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact transaxle puts Hyundai into an elite class of manufacturers who have designed their own proprietary six-speed automatic, demonstrating Hyundai’s advanced powertrain engineering capabilities.
The strength of the design is its totally unique layout that makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other similar transmission on the market today. Developed over a four-year period, this new six-speed automatic is 12 kilos lighter than the five-speed it replaces. It also is 41mm shorter and considerably simpler having 62 fewer parts, which is key to increased durability, lighter weight and lower cost.
The unit is also completely maintenance-free: it is not equipped with a dipstick as it is filled with an automatic transmission fluid that is designed for the life of the vehicle thereby reducing maintenance costs.
When it comes to ratios, more is definitely better. The addition of a sixth gear enables closer spacing between gear ratios providing a better balance of performance and fuel economy while the wide overall gear ratio helps deliver strong acceleration. The advantages are apparent out on the road, and both the 2,4-litre petrol and R2,0-litre turbodiesel available with this transmission exhibit silky and seamless changes while also providing instant overtaking response.
On the open road it allows relaxed cruising, intelligent management between engine and transmission prompting it to shift down only when absolutely necessary and often without the driver being aware of the fact, apart from the change in position of the tachometer needle.
Both the five-speed and six-speed manual gearboxes are proven entities, and are used largely unchanged in the iX35 apart from ratios fine-tuned to suit this application.
In the case of the two 4×4 models, torque distribution front to rear takes place automatically thanks to a viscous coupling integral with the rear differential. In addition, drivers can lock the drivetrain via a dashboard button, for a 50:50 front/rear torque distribution. As part of the Electronic Stability Programme fitted to these models, hill descent control system limits speed to a walking pace for enhanced safety in off-road situations while hill start assist also uses electronic control of the braking system to ensure slip-free pullaways.
The multi-link rear suspension was adopted not only for its superior ride and handling characteristics but also because of its compact design that minimizes intrusion into the cabin thereby creating extra space for passengers and cargo. Tried and trusted MacPherson struts are employed for the front suspension set-up and are now fitted with “side load” coils, to allow the damper to react more freely, especially over high frequency bumps.
The gas-filled shock absorbers have been tuned accordingly to control spring movement accurately both front and rear, while a pair of stabilizer bars limit body roll.
The two 4×4 also have an even more sophisticated suspension thanks to special shock absorbers. These incorporate a technology called ASD, for Amplitude Selective Damping, which allows unhindered movement of the internal piston for a plush ride over small undulations. However, when a sudden, larger suspension movement occurs, the damper stiffens up almost instantly, ensuring control by limiting unwanted body movement.
Extensive work was done to isolate sounds and eliminate vibrations. The ix35 is remarkably quiet – whether cruising, or idling along in stop/start traffic. The underside of the bonnet is fitted with a high-density insulator, while booming is reduced thanks to a sub-frame dynamic damper.
All versions of the ix35 bar the entry-level have six airbags. A new multi-link rear suspension, upgraded braking with ABS and EBD, active headrests, and a strategically reinforced bodyshell are part of Hyundai’s holistic approach to occupant safety.
Ownership of an ix35 with peace of mind is ensured by the 5-year/100 000 km service plan on all versions, not to mention Hyundai’s acclaimed 5-year/150 000 manufacturer’s warranty.