The recently updated Hyundai IX35 spends a week with me and I see if it's worth adding to the list of decent family SUVs.
The Hyundai IX35 has been in South Africa for some time and I can recall driving the first generation examples back in 2010. It was quite a hit with the buying public and along with its Kia Sportage sibling, sold very well. Fast-forward to 2014 and I'm behind the wheel of the diesel-powered 2014 Hyundai IX35 2.0 Elite manual. The diesel comes in both automatic 4x4 and manual 4x2 versions. Visually, daytime running lights and new front end are the main change while LED tail lights and a panoramic roof add a nice premium touch.
Engine and economyThe 2.0-litre diesel engine is lovely. With 130 kW and 383 Nm available, this unit is smooth and refined. It's reasonably frugal too, with a combined cycle figure of 6.5 l/100 km being claimed. That said, I wasn't able to get it under 7.8 l/100km... Still, 7.8 is a good enough figure for a big family SUV. Interestingly, in the seven days I had the vehicle the fuel gauge barely moved and it was still registering half a tank, despite a weekend trip to Gansbaai. Despite the petrol engines being improved with the updated model, I still recommend going for a diesel.
Ride and comfortThe Hyundai IX35 is a spacious and comfortable car to drive. The six-speed manual gearbox is solid and there's a handy shift indicator which tells you when to change gears for better fuel consumption. The cabin is practical too, with a number of storage pockets and compartments. As a person who puts his keys and mobile phone in the cup holders, I was thankful there are no fewer than two upfront as well as a handy storage bin in the centre armrest.
Leather seats are standard for the top of the range model and rear legroom is to be commended. However all seats feel a little firm, resulting in longer drives becoming a literal pain in the proverbial... I'll give Hyundai credit though for taking all the criticism about plasticky interiors and creating a well-appointed and quality cabin. While there are still some cheap elements around, overall it's a product worthy of costing near R400 000.
FeaturesHyundai does a good job of kitting out the IX35 with pretty much everything you'd need in a semi-luxury SUV. The new IX35 now features a new audio system with built-in Bluetooth connectivity. There's a USB port neatly positioned at the bottom of the centre console and the infotainment system features a small touchscreen interface.
My one gripe is this screen feels a little too small. The other gripe is that in bright sunlight, I struggled to see the dials. In terms of features there's a reverse camera, cruise control, dual zone climate control, keyless access and start, as well as 18-inch wheels riding on low-profile rubber. There's extensive use of blue lighting in the cabin, which resulted in one of my friends calling it 'the Tron car'.
Conclusion / SummaryThe Hyundai IX35 is a pleasant family vehicle and the acid test was taking my parents on a road trip to Gansbaai, near the Southernmost tip of Africa. The car was quiet, refined and pleasant on the open road, with the diesel engine offering plenty of grunt for overtaking slower road users. The roads around Gansbaai are a mixture of poor tar and one stretch could be defined as mildly offroad. Yet, despite the lack of all-wheel drive (only the diesel automatic offers all-wheel drive), the IX35 performed admirably and even charged through some beach sand without getting stuck.
It really is a solid offering from the Koreans and you'd be hard pressed to beat the IX35 when it comes to features and driving quality. Throw in a comprehensive warranty, and you'll understand why there's a waiting order for this product.
Hyundai IX35 price in South AfricaThe Hyundai IX35 2.0 Elite manual tested here costs R389 900. The Hyundai IX35 range starts at R319 900. All IX35 vehicles come with a five year /150 000 km warranty, five year's worth of roadside assistance and a service plan of five years / 90 000 km. Servicing intervals are every 15 000 km.
Hyundai IX35 (2014) Quick Specs
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel|
|Power||130 kW @ 4 000 rpm|
|Torque||383 Nm @ 1 800 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed manual gearbox|
|Fuel economy||6.5 l/100km (claimed)|
. Good engine . Comfort . Standard features
. Dials are dim in bright sunlight . Small infotainment screen . Low profile tyres aren't good for potholed roads . Waiting lists