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The ix35 is the first car to emerge from Hyundai to show off the company's new "fluidic design" philosophy and judging from the ix35,and upcoming Elantra-replacement, the company's on to a good thing. With its rounded shape, swooping roof, characteristic slashes and interesting details, the ix35 is a smart-looking compact four-wheel drive.
On the aesthetics front, the only complaint we have is with the garish chrome grille trim onand models, which seems to go against the grain of the rest of the car. Thankfully, light-coloured ix35s, such as our review vehicle, camouflage this design oversight well.
The basecomes fitted with 17-inch steel wheels; 17-inch and 18-inch alloys, respectively, are standard on the higher-spec and variants. All models come equipped with rear fog lights, with the the only model to gain front fog lights.
Climb aboard the ix35 and it's clear that Hyundai's designers have upped the standard of their work here too. The dashboard is a pleasing combination of swooshes, pods and faux metal highlights. The neon blue interior lighting is funky, but it can be a bit trying on the eyes, even at its lowest intensity.
Although the cabin feels well made, the plastics are hard. Only thegains full leather upholstery, but given the sad and saggy look last year's Highlander had, we were quite glad to be in a cloth-trimmed vehicle. Driving comfort is hampered somewhat by the lack of steering wheel reach adjustment, seats that are rather too short and not particularly grippy, and head rests that are canted too far forward.
With its tall body, the ix35 is commodious for passengers both in the front and the back. Vertical boot space is hampered by the sloping roof line though. Points lost there are regained by the cargo nets and the removable cargo blind. Cargo space can be boosted by the rear seats, which split 70/30, but don't quite fold completely flat.
To look over, in and out of the ix35, see the more than 30 images in our.
For 2011, Hyundai has upgraded and standardised the entertainment system across the ix35 range, which now features Bluetooth for both hands-free and streaming audio. Phone pairing is painless and speedy, although listening to a wireless music stream does require one to hit the green Dial button and scroll through to BT Audio. The standard steering wheel controls allow the driver to easily change tracks, volume or music source.
Other audio sources include a single CD slot that is able to read data discs with MP3 and WMA files, AM/FM radio, an auxiliary jack and an iPod/iPhone-compatible USB port. Unlike previous models, the USB port doesn't require a Hyundai/Kia-specific cable, a standard issue Apple cable will suffice. Staring at the head unit reveals no obvious way to navigate music stored on USB sticks and Apple devices; to do this, just press and hold the Tune button for about three seconds.
Scrolling through thumb drives is zippy, but getting to your copy of "Zen Arcade" on an iOS 4 device would test even the patience of Mahatma Gandhi. Things aren't helped by the hypersensitivity of the Tune dial, which makes it all too easy to scroll across just as you're trying to the press the button.
There are six speakers located around the cabin, which, thanks to the wagon layout, sounds best from the rear seat. As the system does without a subwoofer, deep bassy music causes the speakers to reverberate. Overall, sound quality is decent, but not outstanding.