Hyundai ix35 2.4 Elite AWD Series II 2014 Review

Hyundai ix35 2.4 Elite AWD Series II 2014 Review

The time to update the ix35 arrived a little before this new model. We last had an ix35 back in 2010 and since then the crossover challengers upped their game and the ix35 slipped down the rankings in terms of its competitiveness. We noted the strong engine, sharp styling, economy and equipment levels in the review (which you can read here), so how does this update treat the ix35?

hyundai-ix35-2.4-elite-awd-rear-quarterThe styling hasn’t changed significantly – headlights and alloys, both with more modern detailing, plus new colour options and roof rails – so you won’t notice much difference. Hyundai is working on colours that are branding statements themselves and you can have yours in Atomic Orange, Remington Red and a few other more muted tones.

The ix35’s styling has aged well in its short lifetime, and all that was needed was a freshen up. And so we have this model which is essentially a facelift.

hyundai-ix35-2.4-elite-awd-front-interiorOn the inside there’s a slightly larger LCD between the rev counter and speedometer which shows the trip computer. The steering wheel features a couple of buttons for answering a Bluetooth-connected phone, plus a button to change the steering feeling to one of three modes (Flexsteer) – something that helps fix the vague steering we noted in the previous review. The rest of the interior is virtually identical.

The new audio system will stream audio via Bluetooth, and you can plug your phone in as well as use more conventional audio sources.

hyundai-ix35-2.4-elite-awd-instrumentsThe main changes are under the skin. The ix35 still handles pretty much like a car. The suspension has been improved with an increased spring rate leading to cornering performance that’s fairly flat. It still doesn’t really like mid-corner bumps – perhaps the 225/55R18 wheels are too influenced by them – but it seems to settle quickly.

hyundai-ix35-2.4-elite-awd-side

All-wheel drive gives it some off-road credibility as it comes with a lockable differential. The 2.4-litre petrol engine is one of the new GDI powertrains and produces 136kW and 240Nm of torque. Acceleration off the line isn’t exactly spritely, but the six-speed CVT works its way through the ratios and there’s overtaking  power there. The fuel economy for the 2.4-litre petrol engine is quoted at 9.8l/100km. This is 0.6 more than the outgoing version – quite surprising that Hyundai would do this, but it does provide more power and torque than the outgoing model.
hyundai-ix35-2.4-elite-awd-rear-seatsHyundai says the engine is quieter and road rumble has reduced by 3.5%. That’s barely noticeable, and definitely not able to be directly compared with my memory of it several years ago.
Safety is five-star and the ix35 comes with ABS braking, electronic brakeforce distribution, hill start assistance, traction control, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, electronic torque split for the four-wheel drive, downhill brake control and six airbags. The reversing camera image is displayed in the rear-view mirror, and there are reversing sensors, too.

hyundai-ix35-2.4-elite-awd-headlight

It remains a useful sized cabin which you can fit two adults and three kids in for a fairly long journey.  Use the split-folding rear seats and you can easily fit a bike or other cumbersome item, and you can employ the roof racks to carry snowboards or kayaks. Cabin comfort is good, with leather seating for all passengers. There is dual climate control air conditioning to keep both front occupants comfortable.

The fact that Hyundai shifted 220 of the ix35 in September 2013 alone speaks volumes to its popularity as a vehicle that can serve practical family duties, has light towing ability, and will get you off the beaten track (probably quite a way if you put off-road tyres on it).

My overall verdict is that the ix35 is a car I could live with given my varied interests and occasional desire to go to places that are more remote. I think there are competitor crossover SUVs that look better, but in terms of ride comfort and practicality, the ix35 is right up there.

You might also want to check out Toyota RAV4, Holden Captiva, Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi ASX, Kia Sportage and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Price: $44,990 (non-Elite); $48,990 (Elite, as tested)

Pros

  • All-wheel drive with lockable diff
  • Practical load space
  • Competent drive

Cons

  • Fuel economy didn’t improve since the last model

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