Kylie was driving around a diminutive Ford KA, It was lots of fun but not really practical when you need to carry 3 dogs around. We had the Patrol and it was a great 4WD but, driving it in the city was a bit of a chore. Manual’s are never much fun in peak hour traffic in Melbourne and the inner city carparks don’t offer a lot of headroom for larger 4WDs. So whatever we decided on, it had to be a practical vehicle that was economical and easy to drive. We also didn’t want to spend a lot of money but, by the same token, we didn’t want some piece of rubbish that was going to breakdown every few months. It was Kylie’s car so she had to like it and be comfortable driving it too. We looked at a lot of different cars including the VW Golf and the Ford Focus. While both were nice cars we decided to look at the smaller SUV style vehicles including the Suzuki Vitara. Most of the ones we looked at felt a bit dated and really weren’t all that comfortable. Then we went into the Hyundai dealership and checked out the iX35.
First impressions were that this is not what one would expect from Hyundai. It looked modern and fresh and I thought i had very similar lines to a Lexus RX-350. This was one classy looking vehicle from the outside. Inside was where the real WOW moment happens. It had a beautifully designed interior with supportive, leather trimmed bucket seats, leather steering wheel, well laid out instrumentation and quality materials used throughout. No scratchy plastics. No squeaks or rattles. Everything felt very substantial. We kept thinking this was very un-Hyundai like. At night, the switches and dials light up in a sea of deep blue. It’s so refreshing compared to the typical green or orange of most vehicles. I really liked it…! Kylie was in love too.
We went for the 2.0l turbo diesel with 6 speed automatic transmission. This engine is a cracker and the transmission is superb. The combination was probably the best I have ever driven, by a country mile. There’s no hint of turbo lag whatsoever. Put your foot to the floor and it leap shots off the line with a satisfying wave of torque. It also seemed to rev quite freely to the point it’s hard to believe you’re driving a diesel. It really is that good. In peak hour traffic, it easily outpaces most vehicles at the lights and darts in and out of traffic like a small hatchback. For a car this size, it’s a lot of fun.
On the road the ride was firm but not uncomfortable. It inspires confidence especially around corners where you can exploit its all-wheel drive grip. We had the mid spec model with 18 inch low profile tyres and I was never able to get them to break traction. On the freeway and highways, the iX35 settles into 6th gear and cruises effortlessly up hill and down dale. Long interstate trips between Melbourne and Canberra were no effort at all.
Come time to fuel up and this is where we would get a cheesy grin on our faces. Around town in stop start peak hour traffic we would average around 7-8l/100ks. On a highway run, it was possible to get down to 5.5l/100ks. That is remarkable fuel economy. It meant the small 50l fuel tank was actually good for 800km. That may seem fairly average by today’s standards but back then, it was unbelievable.
We had Cherry for about 5 years and did over 150,000ks in her and when it came time to move to another car, we were happy to sell her to Kylie’s parents who are still driving her today. She still feels like a new car. Apart from routine maintenance, nothing ever went wrong. You could not ask for a more reliable car.
We never did any towing with the iX35 except our small garden trailer which, for the record, it handled like it wasn’t there. From memory the towing capacity was around the 2000kg mark. I cannot see why it wouldn’t be more than capable of towing up around this range. The engine and transmission had sufficient power in reserve to handle much bigger jobs. I would definitely consider one if we were towing a smaller caravan or camper.
Today, the iX35 has reverted to its previous name, the Tuson. I don’t believe too much has changed so I expect the quality, reliability and general drivability to be carried over to the current model. If you’re ever considering a mid-sized SUV, you would be a complete dill not to check one out. They are brilliant…!