Hyundai ix35 Highlander Review 2014

Tegan Lawson checks out the updated version of Hyundai's compact SUV. Read her full review here:

- [Tegan] If you're in the market for a small SUV, you're spoilt for choice. It's one of the most popular segments and the Hyundai ix35 is smashing it in the sales department. So why is it such a standout seller? Let's take a closer look at the top-spec Highlander.


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Now this is at the larger end of the small SUV segment, which I think contributes to its popularity. Overall, I just think it looks fantastic. I love those aggressive headlights and the alloy wheels, and the roofline looks like it was designed with these roof racks in mind. On the other hand, though, these big over-sized side protectors, the longer you stare at them, the stranger they look. Well let's see what it's like inside.


Inside, it is a little bit of a mixed bag. There is a lot of this hard plasticy stuff around. But the seats are quite comfortable. They're nice and high, giving you good visibility. But you do also have a resin camera that comes up nice and clear in this 7-inch touchscreen. It does come standard with Sat Nav as well, though you need to watch that, it did get a little bit confused in the tunnels. Started to give me directions for what's up above the surface. The dash is well laid out. The media system's excellent, they're quite easy to use. When it comes to space, as you can see there's more than enough, though it's not class-leading, neither is the boot size. But there is one obvious plus, the sunroof. The sun is shining, it's the perfect time to go for a drive.


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This is a 2-liter turbo diesel and it is quite a nice drive. The engine's relatively smooth revving and there's not a lot of turbo lag. The transmission offers quick gear changes and it's fairly quiet for a diesel.


The ride really is quite firm. You will feel all of those little sharp bumps and edges around town. Many of its competitors actually offer a more comfortable suspension setup. But get it out in the country and on the open roads, and you'll find it a lot more accommodating. I also like the all-wheel drive that gives that little bit of extra peace of mind particularly in the wet weather or on rough surfaces. The other thing worth mentioning is fuel economy, 7.2 liters per 100 kilometers, that's not too bad.


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So if you've got your eye on one of these top-spec ix35's with a turbo diesel engine, you can expect to pay a little bit more, $40,990 before on-road cost. But I think it just looks gorgeous. That's why it made 24.1% of the small SUV sales for April. So does it deserve its top spot on the podium? The people have spoken.

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