Features: 90 / 100
Look/Design: 80 / 100
Performance: 75 / 100
Safety: 90 / 100
The small SUV market in South Africa has been a hotly contested segment for a while now. The main players have been Hyundai’s iX35, the Kia Sportage, VW Tiguan and the Nissan Qashqai. With it being such a popular segment, many other manufacturers have also decided to join the party. Ford recently introduced the Kuga, and then at the premium end of the market, BMW, Audi and Volvo has vehicles in this segment. Needless to say, with a segment as fiercely competitive as this, quality has to be a given. The iX35 doesn’t disappoint. Although the iX35 is just a facelift, Hyundai has gone through great lengths in order refine just about every aspect of the iX35, from the drive-train through to the comfort features.
The exterior has had some minor upgrades, endowing the iX35 with a much more refined and sleek look. Some of the lines have been tightened up and some edges sharpened. The overall look is more sculpted and sharper. It’s definitely one of the best looking vehicles in this segment.
Hyundai has really been making a push to produce higher end vehicles with a premium feel that will stand up to any other manufacturer, and the iX35 is one the prime examples of this push by Hyundai.
The interior is a very stylish affair and the driver’s seat is a very comfortable place to be. The plastics on the dashboard are of high quality and are soft to the touch. The blues mixed with the metal and black plastic accents work very well together. The multi-media system’s interface is easy to get used to and it doesn’t take much to familiarise yourself with how it works. The iX35 is packed when it comes to comfort features. It boasts a good sound system and has dual climate control, as well as cruise control. The iX35 linked up to my phone easily via Bluetooth and worked seamlessly throughout my tenure with the vehicle.
The interior is also extremely spacious, with enough space to trek 5 adults around for a whole weekend without any hassle or, anyone being uncomfortable. Boot space is also ample, and with the back seats folded down (with was easy to do), we managed to fit a washing machine & tumble dryer in the back. That’s pretty impressive!
The Executive model’s seats are all full leather. Front and rear seats are very comfortable, with the driver’s seat especially cosseting. There are also enough adjustments to make it basically impossible to not get a comfortable seating position. But the iX35 is not just about comfort…
As you’d expect from Hyundai, the iX35 is safe, very safe. It also gets the 5 star treatment in NCAP testing and boasts an array of safety features. The iX35 has driver and passenger airbags, as well as side and curtain airbags. It also has active headrests and extra clever reinforcements built in to the vehicle’s frame.
One of the real revelations of the iX35 was the driving experience. Although no ball of fire between traffic lights, Hyundai seems to have gotten the perfect balance with their 2.0l engine and the iX35. It makes the whole driving experience a very comfortable experience. It’s strong enough to help the iX35 over hills and steep roads, as well as keep it going strongly at 120km/h. Getting the vehicle going isn’t a chore. The engine is smooth and quite fuss free.
After my tenure with the iX35, I can definitely attest to the allure of SUVs. It’s not about the ultimate performance, but about the comfortable practicality that SUVs afford you.
Hyundai has positioned itself very well to stay a formidable player in the SUV market with the iX35. They’ve addressed and ironed out just about everything that was wrong with the original iX35 and have really done an impressive job with this new version.