ix to hit the spot

Breathe again — we’re not about to go a week with­out news of a new SUV

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL POT­TINGER CARS­GUIDE ED­I­TOR paul.pot­tinger@cars­guide.com.au

MORE go for less dough— at least at the fuel pump— is the ba­sis for Hyundai’s re­newed com­pact SUV.

Due here in the third quar­ter of this year, the rein­vig­o­rated ix35— the first of Hyundai’s new wave of al­pha-nu­meric models to reach mid­dle age— does away with its ob­so­lete en­try level petrol en­gine and gets fix­tures from the 2012 model Santa Fe. A Europe­made di­rect in­jec­tion 2.0-litre re­places the thrashy an­cient Theta-II. A new turbo diesel four is also promised.

The so-called Flex­is­teer is adapted from the big­ger SUV, a three mode sys­tem which in Cars­guide’s es­ti­ma­tion pro­vides lit­tle real feel in any set­ting. Up­per spec­i­fi­ca­tion models get bi-xenon head­lights and lusher in­te­ri­ors.

While Hyundai is keep­ing de­tails un­der wraps un­til the ix35’s un­veil­ing at this week’s Geneva mo­tor show, it is cer­tain the next en­try $26,990 model will eas­ily sur­pass the cur­rent car’s 122kW/197Nm and poor 8.5L/100km.

The first of Hyundai’s ‘‘ made for Europe’’ models, it is no­table for de­but­ing the Korean car­maker’s flu­idic de­sign gam­bit, a strik­ing look that has helped un­der­write the brand’s success there and in Aus­tralia. But though a hit there and here, the Hyundai has been over­shad­owed by smaller cousin Kia’s Sportage.

All but a twin un­der the skin, the Peter Schreyer-de­signed com­pact SUV ben­e­fits from a lo­cal adap­ta­tion led by Gra­ham Gambold, with be­spoke sus­pen­sion and steer­ing set­ting. So suc­cess­ful was Kia’s prece­dent, Hyundai will adopt a sim­i­lar ap­proach with the ix35.

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