Hyundai 2-litre ix35 Elite versus i30 2-litre Elite 2014 review

May 4th, 2014 by Robert Barry

DSC_0023Never a company to be caught on the back foot, Hyundai New Zealand launched a plethora of 2014 model year cars last November, and two of the most interesting were the new versions of the front-wheel-drive series II ix35 Elite SUV and i30 Elite hatchback with a new 2-litre direct injection petrol engine.

And even more interesting, was the price point, each currently retails at $43,990, so Car and SUV decided to evaluate which offers the better value for money or driving experience.

DSC_0026The 2-litre engine which powers the front-wheel-drive ix35 entry level and Elite models, produces 122kW of power and 205Nm of torque, while the 2-litre engine in the i30 hatch produces 129kW of power and 209Nm of torque.

For 2014 the front-wheel-drive ix35 received a significant makeover, and hence it now known as the series II, and the 2-Litre Elite test car pictured on this page arrived in a fetching shade called Atomic Orange.

As well as adding two more colours to the ix35 range, Pure DSC_0041White and Cobalt Coast, Hyundai gave the ix35 series II a new headlight treatment with new bi-function projection type headlamps, and two new alloy wheel designs while making metal-effect roof rails standard across the range.

Inside the Elite series II models not only benefitted from a rear seat reclining function offering increased comfort of occupants, and the Elite models also received new soft touch front and rear upper door trims to differentiate them from non Elite versions.

DSC_0038I previously felt the cabin plastics of the ix35 were a bit cheap looking, Hyundai obviously had received such comments from other customers and have installed a new centre console which looks a lot better, yet is still wholly functional.

Additionally the series II ix35 has a new audio system, with integrated factory Bluetooth audio and telephony as well as a new supervision cluster. Hooking up a mobile phone is done within seconds and the softer blue lighting of the supervision cluster is a nice change from white or red as used by other manufacturers.

But it is the on road behaviour that has noticeably improved, the series II ix35 has also been subject to suspension improvements from the engineers at Hyundai Motor Company Australia in conjunction with their Korean based colleagues.

The series II ix35 has been fitted with the Mando suspension system as well as a re-calibrated electric power steering system (with three modes, normal, comfort and sport) which has sharpened up the steering response, as well as providing improved handling around corners and a far better ride quality overall.

You will occasionally feel lumps and bumps more sharply, but the trade off is that the car and driver feel more connected to the road than before, and the body control of this vehicle is far better.

Additionally the six-speed automatic transmission has also been fettled by the engineers and is now far more decisive and intuitive to change up or down on steep gradients than it was before.

Being an Elite grade model means the front-wheel-drive 2-litre ix35 enjoys the same level of specification as its larger engine all-wheel-drive siblings. Push button start, dual zone climate control, proximity key, heated front seats. reversing camera and sensors, electric folding external mirrors, and steering wheel mounted controls are standard features.

Boot capacity remains generous with 465 litres (VDA) with the rear seats in place and 1436 litres with the rear seats folded down.

There is more than enough room for mum and four soccer players plus all their gear in the ix35 Elite and the wonderful thing about leather seats is just how easily they wipe clean after carrying dirty, damp teenagers. A hot damp cloth is all that is needed to keep this interior looking pristine.

DSC_0067But if the series II ix35 2-litre Elite  is still a bit too soccer mum and practical for your tastes, then may we introduce the new 2-litre GDI i30 Elite hatch which also retails for $43,990.

Sitting at the top of the i30 line, the 2-litre GDI Elite hatch is differentiated from the 1.6-litre turbo diesel and 1.8-litre petrol hatches by a unique 17-inch alloy wheels and daytime running lights.

The 2-litre i30 is solely available as an Elite variant with a DSC_0072six-speed automatic transmission, and its GDI engine has been uprated to 129kW of power, which is amongst the highest in this competitive segment.

While the specification is very similar to the ix35 Elite, the i30 Elite hatch also receives satellite navigation with a 7 inch touch screen, and it too has received the Mando suspension upgrade which provides shaper response and a more involving drive.

Ride quality over most surfaces is pretty good, the DSC_0103suspension does a good job of insulating cabin occupants from discomfort, and at motorway speed this car is a quiet and comfortable cruiser that will happily tackle long distance runs.

Naturally because if its smaller dimensions the 2-litre GDI i30 Elite does feel a lot nimbler and sportier on the road than the ix35, but in fairness it’s a quite a different animal entirely, and we feel aimed at a much different audience.

Locally the C-segment hatch market is littered with some DSC_0104very well specified, and well priced competitors such as the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda3, Holden Cruze, Kia Cerato, Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza, Peugeot 308, and Citroen C4.

To make a statement against such competition, you need to have a really well specified and competitive offer, and we feel the i30 Elite more than warrants placing on the shopping list. Its the little touches such as the dinky wee electric parking brake, the reversing camera that pops out behind the H badge on the tailgate, and the multi-setting seat heaters that just make living with this car more and more enjoyable on a daily basis.

Not to mention that the car will sense the proximity key in your pocket as you approach it and will fold out it mirrors and turn on the puddle lamps for you. It might seem twee, but on a cold and wet morning its a nice touch.

In summary we felt while the i30 was by far the more involving car for a driver, in terms of value for money, none of the two cars bettered each other, and the choice between the two Elite models will come down to how well each suits the lifestyle and needs of the buyer.

Price $43,990

Pros

  • Well priced and well specified vehicles
  • i30 is a delight to throw around a winding road
  • ix35 is a great load carrier

Cons

  • Factory tyre choice could be better
  • Styling has become a little bit “me too”
  • Will the Hyundai name have enough cachet amongst the neighbour?

Words and pictures: Robert Barry

 

 

Ford drops details and photos of Falcon FG MkII

September 16th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Ford has revealed the first photos and details of its upcoming FG Falcon MkII range this week ahead of it reaching NZ showrooms late this year.

The updated Falcon brings new technologies, an enhanced safety package, new exterior design appointments  and the first global application of EcoBoost engine technology in a rear-wheel drive vehicle. It also heralds in the debut of Ford’s global 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine which will be offered in the FG Falcon from next year.

The MkII Falcon will showcase some of Ford’s latest tech like a new 8.0-inch colour touch screen and integrated audio, phone and navigation functions and a more comprehensive occupant protection package.

“The improvements made to the award-winning Falcon range with the introduction of FG Falcon MkII have made a great car even better,” Ford New Zealand Marketing Manager, Chris Masterson said. “FG Falcon MkII builds on the success of the FG Falcon program, as well as the recently released new Territory range, by offering New Zealanders more equipment and the latest technology innovations, while continuing to deliver outstanding performance, fuel efficiency, refinement and safety.” Continue reading “Ford drops details and photos of Falcon FG MkII” »

Skoda Octavia vRS hits 325 km/h at Bonneville

August 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Last year Suzuki took a modified version of its Kizashi sedan to Bonneville in a big to break the 200 mph (321 kph) barrier and this year Skoda has done the same with its Octavia vRS.

In standard form the Octavia vRS sports the VW Group’s turbocharged 2.0 litre TSI engine producing around 150kW. This was never going to be enough so engineers from the brand’s UK team, along with partners REVO Technik made modifications including a Garret turbocharger to dial up around 373kW from the same motor.

Other modifications to the car included a high-octane race fuel supply, a full safety roll-cage, several aerodynamic aids, and a ride height that’s been lowered by more than 3-inches.

With the engine’s displacement unchanged the vRS was able to compete in the ’2.0-litre production car’ class. The hot Skoda achieved its goal and reached a top speed of 202.15 mph (325.33 km/h) during the Bonneville Speed Week. Continue reading “Skoda Octavia vRS hits 325 km/h at Bonneville” »

BMW reveals new four-cylinder turbo powerplant

February 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW has been teasing the motoring press with tidbits of information on its new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine for some time. Now finally, official details have been released on this exciting new mill.

The new four-pot motor uses the same twin-scroll turbo technology lifted from the larger N55 3.0-litre engine. Peak power is rated at 178kW at 5,000 rpm, and max torque is rated at a healthy 352Nm and is delivered at just 1,250 rpm. Naturally the advantage of switching to a smaller-displacement, turbocharged, direct-injected engine, is fuel economy so expect the cars that use this engine to go much further on a tank than the current six-cylinder models.

BMW hasn’t revealed yet exactly which models will be receiving the new 2.0-litre turbo engine. However the German automaker has given in clue in saying that the 4-cylinder offers more power and torque than the current naturally aspirated 3.0-litre inline-six engine. So don’t be surprised to see the new motor in models that previously have a 28i or 30i at the end of the name. Some earlier reports suggested that the Z4 sDrive30i will now use four-cylinder power, and both the 1 and 3 Series, as well as X1, also look likely to get the turbo-four treatment.

Nissan Qashqai +2 2010 Review

October 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s always nice to have a little bit more. Like chocolate bars that come in ‘king size’ allowing that all-important extra bite. Or that mini-series on TV that begins with a double episode. Whatever way you look at it, a good thing is only really bettered by more of a good thing. With that in mind Nissan has taken its current good thing, the big-selling Qashqai and given it just a little bit more size. The enlarged Qashqai +2 now has the space for a third row of seating, allowing two more passengers and boosting total potential capacity to seven occupants. While the Qashqai was a gamble at the start being billed as a modern alternative to the traditional hatchback it was a risk that paid off handsomely, with more than 500,000 sales globally. Then it was facelifted for 2010 and has since been well received again. But is this larger +2 model a step too far? Car and SUV spent some time with the part crossover, part people mover to get the answers.

At first glance it’s difficult to distinguish the Qashqai +2 from its standard sibling, but look closer and its dimensions are clearly chunkier. The +2 is 211mm longer to allow for the extra seat and the wheelbase has increased by 135mm. Additionally the body is taller with a flatter roofline allowing for better headroom throughout and there’s a handy 55-litres of extra cargo space.  In terms of exterior design the +2 differs little from the standard model and benefits from the smoother look brought with the recent mid-cycle facelift. Raked headlights at the front and LED two-piece fittings at the rear help give the Qashqai a distinctive look but the standard 16-inch alloys struggle to fill the raised guards. The larger Qashqai boasts some practical features like integrated roof rails, tough black plastic mouldings all round, and longer rear doors than the standard model to help entry and exit from that third row of seats.

Continue reading “Nissan Qashqai +2 2010 Review” »

Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2010 Review

September 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Sharp styling is always nice, and strong performance can be exciting, but nothing speaks to new car buyers as loudly as price. The Korean carmakers have known this for decades and now Mitsubishi has cottoned on and released a new entry-level model in its very successful Outlander range. Like buying ‘home brand’ at the supermarket the Outlander LS forgoes some of the fancy packaging to chase down a more attractive price – $37,990. That’s a tempting sum to swap for NZ’s best selling medium SUV especially coming with Mitsubishi’s 5-year/10-year warranty.  But in achieving this price what concessions have been made on this brazen base-model? Car and SUV opened the packet on the Outlander LS to take a closer look at the contents within.

Visually the LS, like all Outlanders has a more traditional boxy SUV shape when compared to the highly curved new-school SUVs like the Hyundai ix35 and the Mazda CX-7. Classic good looks aside, it’s only under close inspection that the LS differs from its more expensive siblings. Mitsubishi’s ‘jet fighter’ grille, first used on the Lancer then on the facelifted Outlander range, hasn’t filtered down to the LS model. While this leaves it a facelift behind other Outlanders the overall styling on the LS is modern and gives it genuine presence. Tough black plastic mouldings protect the underside and it rolls on 16″ steel wheels with silver covers. Overall, it’s a smart looking machine with its high beltline, tinted rear glass and subtle chrome touches.  With the exception of the steel wheels there is nothing about the Outlander LS that really screams ‘base model’.

Continue reading “Mitsubishi Outlander LS 2010 Review” »