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Touch of 4x4: Hyundai's iX35

2010-09-15 14:26
The latest and fourth version of Hyundai’s acclaimed i-Series cars is here and it breaks new ground in the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) segment of the market.

Hyundai’s South African dealers took delivery of their first iX35s early recently, putting them in a position to offer customers the very latest engine and safety technology in a user-friendly size which boasts exceptional refinement, quality and comfort. A number of surprise and delight features often not expected in this sector, along with avant-garde styling - with the practical benefit of wind-cheating properties - are an added bonus.

“The iX35, which replaces our popular Tucson, is another manifestation of the rapid progress which the Hyundai brand continues to make,” says Hyundai’s director of marketing Stanley Anderson. “We are confident it will do the same in the important compact lifestyle vehicle segment as the i10, i20 and i30 hatchbacks have done in the segments in which they compete.”

To this end Hyundai Automotive South Africa has introduced a range comprising six derivatives, four of which are powered by the sophisticated new Theta-II petrol engine in either 2.0l or 2.4l capacities, with the remaining two featuring a potent new R2.0l CRDI turbodiesel.

Drivetrain options include all-wheel-drive versions of the R Type turbodiesel and 2.4 petrol (in which case a six-speed auto transmission is fitted), while the 2.0 petrols are mated to a five-speed manual or the six-speed auto driving the front wheel. Finally, the R Type turbodiesel is also available with this 4x2 drivetrain and a six-speed manual gearbox combination. Apart from the entry-level 2,0-litre petrol, all versions are specced in luxurious GLS trim while the range-topper gets a number of additional comfort and convenience items over and above this.

Pricing starts at R239 900 for the 2.0 GL 4x2 five-speed, with the flagship R2.0 CRDi 4x4 GLS auto R369 900. This includes Hyundai’s acclaimed five-year or 150 000 manufacturer’s warranty and a five-year or 100 000km service plan on all versions. All of South Africa’s iX35s are sourced from the highly automated Ulsan plant in South Korea and are built to the highest standards.


Hyundai decided to move away from the distinctly hatchback proportions of the Tucson when they penned its replacement and the result is a sleek, low-line one-box shape. This new "fluidic" design language breaks new ground and finds confident expression in the sweeping, gently curved lines which flow rearward and provide a level of athleticism not typically associated with this class of vehicle.

A key design feature is the hexagonal grille previewed on the ix-onic concept revealed at the 2009 Geneva Auto Salon. The grille, in this case bisected by a bold chrome styling line, is a defining look that will serve to unify the family of future Hyundai products. A pair of character lines on the bonnet, and the dramatically swept-back headlights, leads the eye to the grille, making it the focal point of the nose.

The flanks are defined by the rising beltline, and a bold black plastic sill moulding which arcs upwards between the wheelarches. Curvaceous pressings on the front and rear fenders, and a similar one lower down on the doors, reinforces the fluidic design theme. Elongated tail light clusters extend well around the corners into the prominent wheel housings, the shape of the glassware mimicking what is at the front and providing additional safety by improving side-on visibility.


While the growth in wheelbase is minimal, careful packaging has helped to achieve the maximum amount of interior space. An additional 40 mm of front seat fore/aft adjustment gives more legroom and headroom for taller drivers while rear legroom is maximized – it’ll satisfy all but the very tallest South African males - by scalloping the rear of the front seats. Rear legroom is a few millimeters shy of one metre, as is rear headroom. Large door apertures confirm that the needs of those in the rear compartment have not been overlooked.  


Hyundai engineers have taken their World Engine - the largest petrol engine programme in the world - and created the lighter, more fuel efficient and cleaner-running Theta-II. Available locally as both a two-litre and 2.4 four-cylinder, these all-aluminium multivalve engines now feature variable valve timing on both the inlet and exhaust camshafts, compared to Theta-I which only adjusted the inlet cam phasing. Dual CVVT has benefits for both fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions.

Another major improvement for the iX35 application is the change to a two-stage Variable Intake System (VIS) which enables switching between long and short intake manifold lengths, resulting in an across-the-board performance increase, especially as far as low-end torque is concerned.  To reduce internal friction, engineers have applied various technologies - such as special, hardened surfaces – to moving parts.

A strict diet has helped the Theta-II 2.0 shed more than 10kg compared to the Theta-I version.

The smaller engine of these two produces an impressive 122kW at 6200rpm, backed up by 197Nm at 4600rpm. Whether in two or three-pedal guise, owners can expect overall consumption of 8.7 litres/100 km and CO2 emissions of just over 206g/km.

The 2.4 version is rated at 130kW and 227Nm and will use 9.2 litres of unleaded per 100, emitting 219g of CO2/km. It’ll also accelerate to 100km/h in 10 seconds exactly and continue on to 185km/h.

With 130 W at 4000rpm and 392Nm from 1800-2500rpm, the CRDi R2.0-litre has all the makings of a modern classic. This is the newest member of Hyundai’s ‘R’ diesel engine family and benefits from the third-generation common-rail system developed by Bosch whose piezo-electric injectors deliver fuel at 1800 bar pressure, providing an unprecedented degree of accuracy and control.

Developed by a 150-man team at an investment cost equivalent fo R167-million, the R–Engine harnesses Hyundai´s newest and most advanced development tools.


Hyundai's all-new six-speed automatic transaxle has helped the company meet its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions while providing the highest possible shift quality. In addition, Shiftronic provides the option of more sporty, manual shifting via a sequential gate.

Designed for transverse engine applications in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact transaxle puts Hyundai into an elite class of manufacturers who have designed their own proprietary six-speed automatic, demonstrating Hyundai’s advanced powertrain engineering capabilities.


The multi-link rear suspension was adopted not only for its superior ride and handling characteristics but also because of its compact design which minimizes intrusion into the cabin thereby creating extra space for passengers and cargo. Tried and trusted MacPherson struts are employed for the front suspension set-up and are now fitted with ‘side load’ coils, to allow the damper to react more freely, especially over high frequency bumps.

The gas-filled shock absorbers have been tuned accordingly to control spring movement accurately both front and rear, while a pair of stabilizer bars limit body roll.

The two 4x4 also have an even more sophisticated suspension thanks to special shock absorbers. These incorporate a technology called ASD, for Amplitude Selective Damping, which allows unhindered movement of the internal piston for a plush ride over small undulations. However, when a sudden, larger suspension movement occurs, the damper stiffens up almost instantly, ensuring control by limiting unwanted body movement.

Extensive work was done to isolate sounds and eliminate vibrations. The ix35 is remarkably quiet whether cruising, or idling along in stop/start traffic. The underside of the bonnet is fitted with a high-density insulator, while booming is reduced thanks to a sub-frame dynamic damper. The rear luggage area gets extra soundproofing to isolate exhaust sounds and road noise has been minimized by improving stiffness in the front and rear struts and rear trailing arms.

Retail Prices
2.0 GL 4X2 - R239 900
2.0 GLS 4X2 R264 900
2.0 GLS 4X2 a/t - R274 900
2.4 GLS 4X4 a/t - R319 900
R2.0 GLS 4X2 - R299 900
R2.0 GLS 4X4 a/t - R369 900

After sales
5 year 150 000km Manufacturers Warranty
5 year 150 000km Roadside assistance
5 Year 150 000km Rust Warranty
5 year 100 000km Service plan
Service Intervals  - 15 000km

Find out more from Hyundai SA's HOMEPAGE or FIND YOUR NEAREST DEALER to arrange a test drive.


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