For nearly a decade I’ve been covering the National Fieldays at Mystery Creek, where Hyundai New Zealand has established a huge presence in the form of their VIP parking area and marquee, as well as being the exclusive vehicle supplier to the agribusiness event. Continue reading “Hyundai: 2015 Santa Fe Elite diesel review” »
Never 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.
The 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 White 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.
I 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.
But 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 six-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 suspension 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 very 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.
- Well priced and well specified vehicles
- i30 is a delight to throw around a winding road
- ix35 is a great load carrier
- 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
Car manufacturers often find that a popular model will often become the victim of its own success, as each new generation of a car line becomes bigger and more expensive.
To a certain degree this applies to several Hyundai models, notably the new generation i30 which has matured into a competitor for the VW Golf and Toyota Corolla with specification and price tags to match. Continue reading “Road Tests / Car Reviews: Hyundai Accent Elite 2014 second 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?
The 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.
On 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. Continue reading “Hyundai ix35 2.4 Elite AWD Series II 2014 Review” »
Comfort in our vehicles is an incrementally improving thing. Every year the bar that measures what equipment should come as standard is raised, and that leads to heavier and heavier vehicles that are more and more complex.
Hyundai’s effort to raise the bar is to put heated rear seats and three rows of air conditioning in its Santa Fe SUV, a vehicle that’s less than seventy grand, but punching above its weight in the plushness stakes. Sure, this is a long way from the vibrating Continue reading “Hyundai Santa Fe 3.3 V6 Elite – Review” »
As New Zealand is the only country in the world still selling the i45 (which is a rebadged Sonata), let’s have a look at whether you’d get one of those or the i40.
We took an (almost) back-to-back test of the two cars. First, you would expect because the i45 has 5 more of Hyundai’s ‘i’ points over the i40, that it would be more expensive, like a Mazda6 is more expensive than a Mazda3, but it’s not. The four-model i45 range starts at Continue reading “Hyundai i40 CRDi Elite 2013 vs Hyundai i45 Elite Ltd 2013 – Review” »
Two months ago I spent an excellent couple of weeks driving around Northern Queensland in Hyundai’s previous incarnation of the i20, the Getz. 2800km of budget motoring ranging from the tropical Napier-like town that is Cairns through to the dusty and rutted outback roads of Chillagoe got me intimately familiar with Hyundai’s smallest car. And it made me realise how far it’s come in six years. Continue reading “Hyundai i20 GLS 2012 Review” »
Hyundai is a brand in transition. Aiming for the Euro market, it has smartened itself up considerably in the past few years and is setting vehicles from VW group as its target. The obvious competitor to the i30 Elite is the 103kW Volkswagen Golf TDI. There’s only a couple of grand in the price difference, and the specifications are comparable.
On the outside, Hyundai’s new ‘Fluidic sculpture’ design language can be seen in a multitude of visual lines that begin at the nose and head towards a strongly creased flank with its prominent wheel arches right around to a very strong boot crease that integrates beautifully with the flow of the rear lights. The designers (housed in a studio in Russelsheim, Germany) packed in a lot of detail, to the point of risking a busy mish-mash, but they’ve pulled it off with only the Continue reading “Hyundai i30 Elite 2012 Review” »