Hyundai’s replacement for the Tucson, the iX35, has gone on sale around the country and it boasts a raft of qualities which look set to make it the number one choice in the important Crossover Utility Vehicle segment. And not just because of its striking good looks.

With pricing starting at just R239 900 for the 2,0-litre GL 4×2 5-speed, and with the flagship R2.0 CRDi 4×4 GLS Automatic at R369 900, the iX35 continues the brand’s philosophy of offering exceptional value. Confirmation of this comes in the form of a 5-year/100 000 km service plan on all versions, not to mention Hyundai’s acclaimed 5-year/150 000 manufacturer’s warranty.

Six models in all are available, four of which are powered by the sophisticated new 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. The base engine produces 122 kW/197 Nm and its big brother boasts 130 kW/227 Nm. The R Type turbodiesel has the same amount of power, but combined with 392 Nm of torque – all the way from 1 800 to 2 500 revs/min.

Drivetrain options include four-wheel-drive versions of the R Type turbodiesel and 2,4 petrol (in which case a six-speed automatic transmission is fitted), while the 2,0-litre petrols are mated to a five-speed manual or the six-speed automatic driving the front wheel. Finally, the turbodiesel is also available with this 4×2 drivetrain and a six-speed manual gearbox combination.

The ix35 is longer and wider than the previous Tucson, but is slightly lower. It rides on a 2 640 mm wheelbase which is 10mm up. At 4 410 mm and 1 820 mm, it 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 which 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.

Apart from the entry-level 2,0-litre petrol, all versions are specced in 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; this including steering wheel-mounted audio remote controls, 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…

Talking safety, Hyundai expect the iX35 to achieve a five-star rating when tested by Euro NCAP and all versions 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.

“In a climate where more and more motoring consumers are demanding strong value combined with quality in both the dynamic and static sense, we’re convinced that the iX35 is going to dovetail perfectly with the needs of the marketplace,” says Hyundai’s Director of Marketing and Aftersales, Stanley Anderson. “Global demand for the vehicle, with the sector still growing at around 10 percent per annum, means that stock availability is probably going to be our biggest challenge…”