As the years go by, there should be ever-declining scepticism about the merits of remodelling and introducing new engines and new technology, because they only seem to get better. A case in point is the 1.7-litre diesel unit that Hyundai has introduced to its popular ix35 range.
Text: Farzana Chaumoo
The Hyundai ix35 has been available in the SA market for five years and has been a massive sales success for the South Korean manufacturer.
The facelift earlier in the year was largely a cosmetic one, which added new headlights and tail lights, bumpers and a full alloy spare wheel. On the technical side, a reverse camera display popped up onto the new touch-screen interface.
The engines were carried over from the pre-facelift model, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they were more than up to the task of powering Hyundai’s medium sized SUV. The price increase did, however, leave a neat gap for an entry-level diesel option.
“The ix35 has been one of the strongest pillars in Hyundai Automotive SA’s vehicle range, and when we were given the opportunity to bring the 1.7 Premium turbodiesel to the South African customers, there was no hesitation,” says marketing director Stanley Anderson. “We expect this derivative to appeal to an SUV buyer who is looking for the benefits of a frugal turbodiesel engine, but at a more affordable price and with a specification level that still offers the luxury driving experience that made the ix35 a top-seller.”
The diesel engine is coupled to an ultra-smooth six-speed manual gearbox. It runs effortlessly and provides considerable power when needed. The output of 85kW and 260Nm of torque is perfectly adequate and comes with the added benefit of being exceptionally frugal compared to the rest of the iX35 range. Hyundai claims that an average fuel consumption figure of 6,5 l/100km is possible. Top speed has been clocked at 173 km/h, and acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h takes 12,4 seconds.
The cabin is comfortable and gives one a self-assured feeling that only comes from a car with quality fittings. There is good all-round vision for the driver, and minimal road noise within the cabin.
There is decent passenger space in the back with the normal storage facilities around the vehicle for mobile phones and drinks. The standard features list includes everything the modern customer could expect in this segment, including a 4,3-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod/USB/auxiliary ports, electric windows, cruise control and keyless entry.
Euro NCAP has tested the iX35 and it received the full five stars, making it one of the safest SUVs available in SA.
The vehicle is comfortable and quiet on tarred roads and equally impressive on gravel. The steering responds well and the brakes are fantastic. I experienced the power of the brakes first hand when a bird with a death wish swept in front of the vehicle.
Stanley Anderson says there will be no further updates or face-lifts as an all-new ix35 is expected in the 2015.
The new entry-level Hyundai ix35 1.7 CRDi comes with a price tag of R359 900, which includes a five-year/ 90 000km service plan and a five-year/150 000km warranty.