The ix35 1.7 Premium is endowed with 85kW and 260Nm and brings the range offering to seven derivatives. The figures themselves do not conjure up visions of performance but the little plant is surprisingly capable when it comes to hauling the not-so-small ix35 around.
Admittedly, we were not carrying a load or towing, but the ix35 1.7 Premium – mated to its six-speed manual gearbox – zipped around quite willingly and it was seldom necessary to change out of top gear on the open road.
The big plus obviously is cost saving. Not so much the R50000 lower ticket price when compared with the next diesel in the range, the 2.0 Elite six-speed manual at R409900. Indeed, if price is the issue , the petrol derivative at the same spec level is R30000 less.
The ix35 1.7 is pretty frugal when it comes to fuel, with Hyundai claiming real-world figures of under 7l/km while testing South African-quality diesel – which passed muster. Hyundai might be slightly miffed, therefore, that oil prices are plummeting when they bring their fuel miser to market, but even at record lows diesel will still prove a cost worth making savings on. I predict the oil situation will not last, in any event.
The ix35 1.7 Premium is built mostly by robots at Hyundai’s ultramodern factory in Nosovice, Czech Republic, which spits out a vehicle per minute.
The engine was designed and built by Hyundai, which is an indicator of just how far the manufacturer has come in what is its short lifetime in industrial conglomorate terms.
The six-speed gearbox has slightly different ratios to that of its two-litre turbodiesel partner and delivers power to the front wheels only.
Its top speed has been clocked at 173km/h and acceleration from standstill to 100km/h takes 12.4 seconds.
To complement its attractive exterior, the ix35 boasts a roomy and ergonomically well-planned cabin with a commanding view of the road and surroundings. It is simply a comfortable and pleasing vehicle to spend time in – whether commuting in town or going on a long cross-country trip.
The cabin comes standard with Hyundai’s signature blue lighting, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, with steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise
controls, electrically powered windows and door locks and remote keyless entry.
For added security, the doors lock automatically at 15km/h.
The ix35 1.7 Premium’s seats are covered with a combination of cloth and leather, which creates a cool and comfortable feeling in the generally hot South African summer climate.
A trip computer, displayed in the middle of the instrument housing, supplies a host of information: from average fuel consumption to estimated range, average speed and two trip measurements.
The car is equipped with a 160W AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers.
This system includes iPod/USB auxiliary inputs housed in the centre console underneath the air-conditioner controls.
The audio system information is displayed on a 4.3-inch colour touch screen, which is also the display screen for the standard rear-view park-assist camera.
The sound system plays CDs as well as digital music files, employing Bluetooth streaming audio.
It also allows the driver and passengers to access their personal music devices through the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs.
The ix35’s athletic shape is complemented with agile handling and impressive body control. It uses MacPherson strut front and multilink rear-suspension systems.
All four wheels are controlled by coil springs and gas-filled high-performance dampers for improved ride comfort.
On the safety front the car offers dual-advanced front and side airbags as well as curtain airbags, and an ABS braking system with brake-assist and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).
Part of this new Hyundai package is a five-year/150 000km warranty, a five-year/90 000km service plan and five-year/150 000km roadside assistance.