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Geneva show: Hyundai makes over the ix35

Mild child: Hyundai’s warmed over ix35 will have its suspension and steering tuned to local tastes.

Fresh-faced compact soft-roader adds economy, technology and quality to checklist

4 Mar 2013

HYUNDAI has unveiled a more European-flavoured version of its ix35 compact soft-roader, although with the promise of ride and handling tuned to Australian tastes.

To be presented at the Geneva motor show this week ahead of an Australian launch in the second half of this year, the new model deviates little in terms of styling from the car that Hyundai Australia launched here in 2010.

However, the Korean car-maker says it will include an all-new 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ four-cylinder fuel-injected petrol engine boasting more power and better economy than the 122kW ‘Theta II’ version used today.

The model will also continue with its 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, but add more technology such as exhaust gas recirculation to reduce harmful emissions.

For the first time, too, Hyundai will introduce a steering system that will allow the driver to add or remove weight depending on driving style.

The three-mode “flex steer” system will allow drivers to choose between normal, comfort and sport modes to “tailor levels of feedback and the overall driving experience”.

Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas said both the steering and suspension of the facelifted ix35 would be tweaked to suit Australian tastes.

“They’ll all be done in the next few months,” Mr Thomas said. “We hope to tune all of our vehicles – that’s the general policy – and it will undergo a major local tuning program.”

While Australian engineers are expected to soon get their hands on the new model to start local tuning, the vehicle isn’t expected to go on sale here until later this year.

One unknown is where the new-look ix35 will be sourced from. The Korean car maker earlier this year said it would start importing one ix35 model, the mid-specification front-wheel-drive SX, from its European factory in the Czech Republic rather than from Korea to help meet strong demand.

Mr Thomas said Hyundai was yet to decide if any of the facelifted cars would likewise come from Europe.

“We’re looking into it,” he said. “We’re looking at the balance of where we take the vehicle from.

“We haven’t decided anything yet, so watch this space on that one.”

While no details have been released on the ix35’s Australian fit-out, European specifications include bi-Xenon headlights, an improved LCD screen on the centre console, and upgrades and enhancements to the interior “to improve quality”.

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