Hyundai ix35 1.7 CRDi (2015) Review

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Hyundai has added a brand new diesel engine to its popular ix35 model range. The 1.7-Litre turbodiesel comes just in time as competitors such as the Nissan Qashqai have begun offering downsized turbodiesel motors at really enticing prices. The Hyundai ix35 has been around since 2010 with the facelifted version appearing last year, but has this new engine planted in the ix35 got what it takes to keep Hyundai at the forefront of SUV buyers minds?

All-New Diesel Engine

As diesel technology and fuels improve, manufacturers have found ways to extrapolate more power and more torque from less capacity. Hyundai’s 1.7-litre diesel by modern standards actually comes out a touch on the average side as it puts out 85 kW and 260 Nm. As a comparison Volvo and Nissan pump out more power and torque from smaller capacity diesels.

It’s not all about figures though and the new diesel feels quite smooth and capable. There’s a touch of turbo lag low down in the rpm range so you need to have a few more revs when pulling off and there’s a slight hesitation after every gear change before the power comes in. The quick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox has a light action so that helps to minimise the lag as well. Fuel efficiency wise the ix35 diesel claims 5.3L/100km and during our week of pounding it around the Cape we averaged 7L/100km so it’s quite an efficient driver.

Spacious Interior

The ix35 doesn’t skimp on space, the boot is one of the largest in its class and the rear legroom and headroom is spacious too. The seats fold flat conveniently and it swallows a large mountain bike with ease. The dashboard and surrounds all seem quite well put together and the materials used are solid and durable rather than soft and premium.

If anything the interior is starting to look a little on the old side as there’s no large centralised screen that controls your entire life at the touch of a button. The rear-view camera displays on the tiny radio screen that condenses the rear visibility and I resorted to looking over my shoulder and ignored the camera altogether. It’s still quite well specced though and comes with Bluetooth, USB, an aux port and the CD/MP3 player slot. Dual zone climate control would be nice, but I’ll settle for the standard air conditioner available. The steering mounted controls are all easy to understand and fathom as well.

Ride and Drive

The ix35 is starting to lose out in terms of ride quality to the newer models in the segment as it’s not as comfortable or as well planted as the likes of the Qashqai or VW Tiguan. The newer cars have really managed to smooth out the ride of a compact SUV over bumps and tarmac notches. The ix35 can feel a bit bumpy over the same surface, but I have no doubt that Hyundai will catch up when the next ix35 breaks cover.

For the average user though the ride will be more than suitable and it’s by no means uncomfortable. On the freeway at 120kph it’s stable and holds on reasonably well when the road turns bendy. On the safety side there’s a decent array of airbags and stopping power is aided by ABS and EBD. Strangely though it’s missing stability control or traction control which is a bit odd. This sort of system is becoming compulsory in Europe as it’s proven to save lives, hopefully Hyundai makes it available sooner rather than later.

Hyundai iX35 - Verdict

The new diesel motor is a welcome addition to the Hyundai ix35 range. As far as the range offering goes it’s probably the motor of choice as it offers the best combination of power and efficiency. At R359 900 it plonks itself right in the middle of the compact SUV segment, directly competing with the 1.5dCI Nissan Qashqai and the Volkswagen Tiguan 2-litre turbodiesel. I would go for the Qashqai at that price point as there’s not much in terms of spec difference and the Qashqai is newer, has a better ride and is nearly R30k cheaper. The Hyundai iX35 is worth looking at if you value space over all else at the price point but other than that factor, the other compact SUVs offer more.

Second Opinion

This new engine makes a good case for itself thanks to reasonable performance and impressive economy. Despite Ashley's racing tendencies, he was averaging in the mid 7s, and I think its easily capable of low 6s if you try hard. The Hyundai ix35 is a good product, and if you can't afford the flagship diesel all-wheel drive model, then this makes a perfect alternative.-David Taylor

We Like: Engine, Space and practicality

We Don't Like: Starting to age inside, no traction control

Also Consider: Nissan Qashqai, Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota RAV4

See a comparison between the Hyundai, Nissan and VW

Hyundai ix35 CRDi Quick Specs

Engine 1.7-Litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel
Power 85 kW
Torque 260 Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual
Wheels 17-inch alloy wheels
0-100km/h 12.4 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed 173 kph
Fuel Economy 5.3L/100km (claimed)
Fuel Tank Capacity 58 Litres