Of fluids

We take a look over, in and out of Hyundai's small four-wheel drive, the ix35. When you've seen the photos, read more and watch the video in our ix35 review .

The Tucson-replacing ix35 small four-wheel drive is the first car to sport Hyundai's new "fluidic design" principles.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Visual interest

"Fluidic design" calls for a swoopy outline, interesting cuts and creases, and lots of interesting details.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Big lights

Projector-style headlights only, with no option for xenon lighting.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Engines and transmissions

There are three engines available in the Australian ix35 range: 2- and 2.4-litre petrol motors, and a 2-litre turbo-diesel. A six-speed auto is the only transmission on most of the range.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Bling

Unfortunately, the Highlander and Elite models come with chrome grille that looks significantly worse on dark coloured cars.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Can't beat 'em?

LED indicators in the wing mirrors are a must have on anything over, say, AU$30k.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Pea soup

Front fog lights are standard on the Elite and Highlander models.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Of light and dark

Roof rails and a panoramic sunroof come gratis on the Highlander .

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Trapped

Drive off and the ix35 will automatically lock the doors.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Fast lines

Vertical load space is reduced by the sloping roof line and tailgate.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Big wheels

The Highlander comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, making the ride rather firm.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

More than meets the eye

The interior design is pleasant on the eye, but the faux metal highlights on the steering wheel feel cheap and will probably rub off in time.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Dead cow

For full leather upholstery you'll need to opt for the top-of-the-range Highlander . After about 10,000km the driver's seat was beginning to look a bit sad and saggy.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

In times of trouble

A full-size spare wheel resides underneath the boot floor.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Butt!

Boot space is pretty good.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Take it lying down

The rear seats split fold, but don't lie completely flat.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Blind stowage

The rear cargo blind can be removed, and can be lain on the floor and affixed into moulded nooks in the boot wall (above).

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Stretch out

There's plenty of leg room in the rear.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Shot through the heart

The gun barrel instruments are pleasing on the eye.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

It's all over you

The electric blue lighting is funky, but can be trying on the eyes.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Protection

Fold-out flaps on the Elite and Highlander 's visors provide extra sun protection. The front head rests are tilted too far forward to be comfortable.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Digital music

All ix35s come fitted with auxiliary and USB ports. A auxiliary and USB connector for iPod/iPhone connectivity comes at extra cost though.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Exclusions

Bluetooth hands-free and factory fit sat nav are notable for their absence. The former should be available in the ix35 from September onwards.

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From alpha to omega

Most music navigation is conducted using the Tune dial, so scrolling through your music collection is both quick and easy.

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Finger on the pulse

Steering wheel audio controls are standard throughout the ix35 range.

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Cruiser

Also standard is cruise control. Thankfully, the dashboard lights let you know when the system is on and also when a speed has been set.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Off road

Four-wheel drive ix35s come with hill descent control (middle button) that automatically moderates the car's speed as you steer the car down a hill. The normally part-time four-wheel drive system can be locked to 50/50 torque split when you're tackling the rough stuff.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Back it up

The Highlander 's reversing camera is displayed in the left corner of the rear-view mirror.

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Thank you for smoking

For smokers there's a cup-holder-friendly ashtray. Speaking of cup holders, there's eight of them in the ix35.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Zone of control

Air-conditioning is standard, but Highlander owners get to enjoy multi-zone climate control too.

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