Hyundai ix35 a stand­out small car

Central Otago Mirror - - MOTORING - By DAVE LEGGETT

It’s dif­fi­cult mak­ing a choice in the small sports util­ity sec­tion these days. There are plenty of new mod­els as the mak­ers court the buy­ers in one of the fastest­grow­ing seg­ments of the new car mar­ket.

Kia has just brought out the new Sportage and Hyundai, the se­nior of the two South Korean part­ners, launched a new badge and a new model in the form of the ix35 – a re­place­ment for the Tuc­son.

The ix35 is aimed at that same mar­ket and, be­cause it does things even bet­ter than the Tuc­son, it should be even more suc­cess­ful.

The ix35 is one of the first of Hyundai’s new mod­els to fol­low the car maker’s new de­sign line. They call it ‘‘flu­idic sculp­ture’’ and it makes for a dis­tinc­tive ve­hi­cle that has a real pres­ence.

The ix35 comes with a choice of three en­gines, two petrol and one turbo diesel, and there is the choice of two and four-wheeldrive.

Not sur­pris­ingly the top model in the ix35 range is turbo diesel pow­ered with the four-wheeldrive. This en­gine is the most pow­er­ful of the three as well as de­vel­op­ing by far the most torque.

The en­gine is a 2-litre ver­sion of the larger 2.2-litre R se­ries unit in the Santa Fe and its power out­put is im­pres­sive for its size.

It’s ob­vi­ously a diesel but it’s not overly noisy and I’d for­give it be­cause its per­for­mance is so good. With 392Nm avail­able as low as 1800rpm there is a re­sponse that would only be pos­si­ble with a diesel. As a re­sult the ix35 will ac­cel­er­ate to the speed limit in less than nine sec­onds.

But the ve­hi­cle will still re­turn good econ­omy fig­ures. It’s of­fi­cially 7.5 litres per 100 for the com­bined cy­cle.

De­spite the all-wheel-drive it’s only re­ally a soft­roader and ground clear­ance of 170mm is lit­tle more than that of a con­ven­tional car.

The fact it sits so low is prob­a­bly one of the fac­tors for its very good high­way ride. It sits very sta­ble and there is lit­tle roll.

The ix35 is only a five-seater but be­cause a third row of seats hasn’t been squeezed in at the back the Hyundai’s two rows are able to make the most of the avail­able space.

To go with the key­less en­try and ig­ni­tion there is a stop start but­ton and the front seats are heated. There is a trip com­puter, al­though the ad­just­ment is not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble.

In the Elite there is a re­vers­ing cam­era with the dis­play built into the rearview mir­ror. But the ix35 did have one fea­ture I didn’t like – the strength of the head­lights. On dip I hardly knew I had them on and on full beam the light was in­sipid and wa­tery.

Small and sporty: The ix35 re­places the Tuc­son in Hyundai’s lineup.

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