One For The Lifestyler

Posted: April 19, 2011 in All, Hyundai, New Car Reviews

Waiting at the Hyundai head office for the ix35 to be made ready for my week of testing I couldn’t help thinking ‘I’m going to look like an iPod carrying, iPhone yapping, iPad tapping Ponsonby ponce driving around in a four by four that will, no doubt, only go as far off road as driving over a curb, accidentally. 90% of these ‘off road’ vehicles sold will only ever see tarmac and the only gravel they might see will be one of the numerous, unnecessary, patches of road the NZTA sees fit to repair during rush hour.

After a week of driving this luxurious beauty with all the bells and whistles, and then some, I’m very happy to report that while I may have still looked like someone that wants an oversized station wagon to laud over the minions, it just makes sense. My first few days I have to admit I was not sold on this car in any way but over time I grew to love it more and more.

Normal day to day driving, like heading to the dairy at nine o’clock at night to buy the latest freakish craving for the pregnant wife can be quite irritating due to its rough ride at low speeds over some of our best broken, coarse chip road surfaces. But when you head out onto the cities motorways and further afield onto the highways things get a whole lot better. The two litre, 135 kw and 392Nm engine pulls away, up to and beyond (not that you should, or would of course!) the legal open road speed limit with no trouble what so ever. It is quite surprising how quickly the ix35 diesel accelerates, plant your foot and for a split second you’ll think something has gone wrong but once the revs hit 1800 rpm and the full force of those 392 Newton meters of torque kick in you’ll be thankful for the comfy leather clad headrests.

Cornering in this high 1700kg beast is so car like it’s easy to forget that pushing it too fast around a twisty bit you may very well find it laying on its side but you really would have to push hard as it’s stability and composure will see you accelerating out of any corner with ease. Braking can feel a little vague until you get used to them, almost as though they need to warm up before relying on them to stop you from climbing over the mid-life-crisis-convertible that just cut you off on the motorway. Speaking of which, when this does happen you will need to thump your fist on the horn to let the balding convertible driver know your dislike of said maneuver. In this car honking the hooter will actually prevent mister mid-life-crisis flipping the bird, as is usually the case in this situation, as he will be almost doubled over with laughter at little ‘eeep’ emanating from the ix35. A slightly more baritone sound from the warning device would have been nicer, but then again, there are always aftermarket air horns.

I didn’t get the chance to test the Hyundai ix35 off road, but how this Gold coloured Remuera bulldozer handles on gravel leaves me with no doubt that with the right tires it will tackle the back paddock quite nicely indeed. Just a shame that as I mentioned before very few of these will venture any further than a speed bump on an inner city side street, especially when you consider the 4wd aids such as hill decent that will never get used.

As for interior comfort, the cow clad seats are adequately comfortable. Especially so on a cold autumn morning where you can press a little button that will gently warm your buttocks. Just don’t forget to turn it off after showing it off to your 10 year old niece or you will find yourself wondering why your butt is sweating further down the road after dropping her off. This particular ix35 had all the available extras like monsoon shields, cargo net, reversing camera and Bluetooth as well as an iPod and auxiliary input for the excellent 7 speaker (including a subwoofie thing), 6 disc audio unit. Installing the daughters car seat into the back row was wonderfully easy partly thanks to the height of the vehicle and also the seat belt which was longer than most belts in the rear of other vehicles. This would also be helpful for the lager built passengers. Then there’s the very generous boot space of 729 litres that easily holds a family sized, fortnights worth of groceries.

Very few down points on this car for me but one of the most annoying had to be the blind spot just to the front right of the driver due to the sweeping ‘A’ pillar and large side mirror, this made it difficult to see things like traffic islands while turning a corner. Still wouldn’t put me off buying one though.

All in all by the end of my drive I began to fall in love with this car and this is where I found the most irritating thing with the $54,990 ix35 Elite, and that was handing the keys back to Hyundai.

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