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Big Risk
Big Risk

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The SUV hype is actually over, but Hyundai treats itself to a premium off-road vehicle. The ix55 cannot do many things better than the competition, but it is a real seven-seater with a lot of comfort at a fair price.

By Sebastian Viehmann

Hyundai is currently driving excellently with small cars. With 12,000 sales, February was the best month since the German market launch 18 years ago. The Koreans gambled cleverly and stocked up on cars in time for the environmental bonus. Hyundai benefits even more than Suzuki, Daihatsu or Chevrolet from the German scrapping mood. Now, in May, the Koreans are bringing the large SUV ix55 into the country - which is being offered by some car dealers as a gray import for almost 31,000 euros - and they have self-confident goals: "Our competitors are the BMW X5, Audi Q7, Mercedes ML or Volvo XC90", emphasizes product manager Jochen Schneider. “We assume that the trend towards smaller cars will continue. Nevertheless, we wanted to have the ix55 as the brand's top-of-the-line model in Germany too,”says Hyundai Managing Director Werner H. Frey.

Elegant lines

The rather elegant lines conceal what a trump card the Hyundai is: 4.84 meters long (almost 20 centimeters more than the Santa Fe), 1.97 meters wide, 1.8 meters high and 2.3 tons in weight. Parking garages and narrow streets are not the preferred environment for the large Korean SUV. The car can pull 3.2 tons, but the payload (maximum 560 kg) is not exactly generous if there are seven people on board.

The cockpit is neatly arranged and quite homely, but the workmanship leaves a very solid impression. You sit comfortably behind the wheel with plenty of legroom, and there is also plenty of living space in the rear. The row of seats in the rear can be moved lengthways. In the “cheap” places six and seven, even adults have enough head and knees to move around. If you don't need the second row of seats, it disappears in the trunk floor. The luggage compartment of the ix55 holds 598 liters (BMW X5: 620 liters, Mercedes ML: 551 liters, VW Touareg: 555 liters, Audi Q7: 775 liters). With the rear seats folded down completely (the first row can be divided 60:40, the second 50:50), a maximum of 1746 liters of storage space is available.

Assistants not on board

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The fact that many assistance systems in this segment are not available in the Hyundai does not really fit the premium claim. The Koreans also do not have an adaptive chassis that adjusts the suspension comfort to different driving and road situations.

After all, the ix55 chassis offers an acceptable compromise: a slight body roll in curves is noticeable, but not unpleasant, the suspension comfort is good even on uneven terrain. The chassis cushions short bumps and transverse joints less elegantly. The steering is fairly smooth, but the ix55 does not encourage a sporty driving style anyway.

Disturbing wind noise

A V6 diesel engine with 176 kW / 239 hp and 451 Newton meters of torque works under the hood. The off-road vehicle is powerfully motorized, but by no means impressively fast: it takes 10.4 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h. A BMW X5 xDrive30d can do this two seconds faster, as does a VW Touareg V6 TDI. The consumption values of the ix55 (an average of 9.4 liters per 100 kilometers, factory specification) are no better than those of many competitors. The X5 is even significantly more economical with 8.2 liters.

The cultivated smoothness of the Hyundai diesel is pleasant, and the 6-speed automatic also leaves a good impression. However, the wind noise is annoying, as it reaches a fairly high level from 120 km / h. At Audi and Co. there is more calm in the cockpit.

Inexpensive entry

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The comfort equipment of the ix55 leaves little to be desired. Among other things, two-zone automatic air conditioning, cruise control, CD radio and electric driver's seat adjustment are on board in the ix55 Comfort (42,290 euros), in the Premium model (46,990 euros) there are also things like xenon headlights, electric steering column adjustment, electrically operated tailgate and leather upholstery. The second row of seats is always on board as standard. The only noteworthy extra items are the electric panoramic sliding roof (1090 euros) and the DVD navigation system with reversing camera, which will not be available until September.

Other SUVs in this market segment are usually significantly more expensive. The BMW X5 xDrive30d (235 PS) is only available from 53,700 euros, the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI (240 PS) from 51,950 euros. The VW Touareg 3.0 TDI (240 PS) is already in the list for 47,300 euros, but is not as well equipped as the ix55. Hyundai has little competition among the Japanese brands. The Nissan Murano (256 hp) costs 46,740 euros, but is not available with a diesel engine. Mazda's CX-9 is not sold in Germany. That leaves the Lexus RX, but the diesel is also missing - instead the expensive hybrid version RX 400h is available for 51,500 euros.

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