Hyundai ix35 Active is a solid small SUV effort from Hyundai
What we like:
- Interior space
- Storage compartments
- Locally tuned ride and handling
- Steering feel
- Build quality
Not so much:
- No reversing camera
- No auto headlights or “headlight on” warning
- No hands free telephony buttons on the steering wheel
- Engine harsh beyond 4,000 rpm
- Rear seats miss out on air conditioning vents
- Slabs of black plastic on the doors
The small/medium SUV segment is becoming ever more popular and manufacturers are responding with new or revised products at a lightening rate. Hyundai has kept its contribution to this market segment, the ix35, fresh with the Series II update. We’re testing the base ix35 Active with the optional six-speed automatic.
Price and Equipment
The ix35 Active is the base model of the ix35 range and, to an extent, this evident. But, Hyundai has cleverly incorporated luxurious necessities such as a heated rear window and wing mirrors. Rear parking sensors are standard.
Occupants are entertained by a 5” touchscreen head unit that is in command of AUX & USB audio input with iPod® compatibility, MP3 / WMA / CD player, AM/FM tuner with integrated Bluetooth® media streaming and handsfree which pump out tunes through six speakers. There are buttons for audio and cruise control on the steering wheel.
Space is one characteristic that could define the ix35’s interior. There is ample leg, shoulder and head room in both the front and rear rows of seats. Even the middle passenger in the rear seats is afforded more space than one may expect as the transmission tunnel is lower than normal, freeing up legroom. However, the rear seat base is a little low, forcing a “knees up” seating position for taller passengers.
The dash is well laid out and everything is where you’d expect to find it and it is built from plastics are of a high quality. However, the dominant black plastic is a little hard to the touch. Especially on door cards, where cloth, another type trim or even different texturing (the main plastic is of a cow hide texture) to break up large areas.
Buttons for the hands free telephone system should be on the steering wheel. Instead they are on the head unit which requires the driver to take their hands off the wheel (and potentially eyes off the road) ergonomic flaw.
The steering wheel is also home to the cruise and audio control buttons, and we found the switch for the volume control fiddly and sometimes frustrating to use. However, the audio head unit itself is relatively intuitive to use and sound reproduction is above average. Controls for the ventilation system are clear, large and simple, although it is a shame that there aren’t vents for rear seat passengers.
There are plenty of cubby holes to store knick knacks that form a part of everyday life-the door pockets and glove box are generous as is the well-shaped centre console.
The load area up the back is rated at 730 litres, drop those 60:40 split rear seats and that expands to 1579 litres.
Engine and Transmission
The 2.0 litre engine with 122 kW @ 6200rpm and 205 Nm @ 4600rpm is smooth, energetic and does a respectable job of moving the ix35 along. The engine is also reasonably quiet, but did become coarse as the tacho needle swept towards 4,000 rpm.
Additionally, the six-speed auto generally a good match for the engine, but was a little slow to react at times and could be indecisive under duress.
During the test week, we attained an average fuel consumption figure of around 9.0 litres/100 kilometres.
Ride and Handling
Hyundai has calibrated the ix35’s ride and handling to local conditions and ultimately, it shows. The ride is incredibly comfortable without being too soft and spongey and it is unruffled by the worst of tarmac.
Steering is well weighted and, given the Active’s road-going bias, it made navigating tight inner-urban car parks a doddle. We also noticed it has Hill Descent Control, but we’re not sure if that’ll ever see off-road use.
Safety and Servicing
The ix35, has been awarded a five-star safety rating by ANCAP and standard safety equipment includes: Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) 4 channel with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) incorporating Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).
Passive safety armoury consists of: driver and front passenger airbags, dual side front (thorax) airbags and front and rear passenger side curtain airbags.
One safety feature that is absent on the Active is a reversing camera, which really should be standard. Consumers should not have to buy a more expensive variant (in this case the mid-spec Elite) in order to have access to a potentially life-saving feature. Especially as many of the customers buying this type of car may have a family with small children.
The ix35 Active falls under Hyundai’s capped price servicing plan and the first three services, scheduled at 15,000 kilometre intervals are $259.00 each.
Nicely made and intelligently engineered. The ix35 Active has proven itself as a good car, if a little sparsely equipped for the money.
Overall score: 16/20
Make and model: Hyundai ix35 Active Series II
Engine type: 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 16 Valve DOHC with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT) and Gasoline Direct Injection (GDi).
Power: 122 kW @ 6200rpm
Torque: 205 Nm @ 4600rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with front-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 8.4 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4410mm long, 1820mm wide, 1650mm high and 2640mm wheelbase
Suspension: Front: MacPherson Strut system Rear: Multi-link system
Steering: Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS)
Country of Origin: Korea