The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Hyundai iX35 not only offers appealing looks, but also one of the best specified, value for money 4x4s available on the UK market.
Reasons to buy:
- Impressive styling
- Outstanding level of equipment
- Great warranty
How good does it look?
The Hyundai ix35 ushers in a new ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language for Hyundai, so we can look forward to seeing more of its sharp and flowing lines in future models. Described by the manufacturer as a car which blends coupe looks with 4×4 style, MPV practicality and hatchback costs, this is a crossover to rival the Nissan Qashqai. It arguably looks even more sporty than its rival, thanks to its double grille and aggressive headlights. Shallow side windows, tall sides and two taut bodywork creases give the ix35 a strong look when viewed from the side.
What's the interior like?
This may be a budget 4×4, but you wouldn’t know it from the inside. Fit and finish is excellent and there are some nice design touches. Large cowls over the main dials and flashes of chrome around the vents and centre console all add to the feel-good-factor, as does the engine start and stop button. The front seats are comfortable, but they could do with some extra lateral support to hold occupants in place. The rear seats are attractively sculpted and there’s lots of legroom. In winter, the heated front and rear seats are sure to be a valued standard feature.
How practical is it?
Two or four-wheel drive versions available, the latter taking the tried and tested system from its big brother, the Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s a system which only sends power to the front wheels of the ix35 during normal driving to save fuel, but sends as much as 50 per cent to the rear wheels if a front tyre loses grip. It makes the ix35 able to cope with low grip situations, but it’s not a serious off-roader. A big 591-litre or 1,436 with the rear seats folded down, although it’s a shame they don’t fold flat to the floor. There’s a six-litre centre console cubby hole and big door pockets with large drinks holders.
What's it like to drive?
The ix35 is quite sharp to drive and body roll is kept in check. There’s plenty of grip too, even though the four-wheel drive of our test car only needed to kick in a couple of times, thanks to perfectly dry road conditions. The ride is firmer than a traditional 4×4s, but only sends jolts through to the cabin over the worst bumps. The only fly in the ointment is the steering, which is well-suited to cruising, but has less feel and precision than you’d experience in its best rivals.
How powerful is it?
At launch there’s just one diesel and petrol engine to choose from, a 2-litre CRDI with 134bhp and 236lb/ft of pulling power, and a 2-litre with 161bhp and 143lb/ft, which accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and has a top speed of 114mph. We tested the diesel, with a 0-62mph of 10.2 seconds which is quicker and more economical than the petrol. It was a little unrefined in low gears when cold, but at higher speeds the engine is quiet and you’ll rarely want for any more power.
How much will it cost me?
The Hyundai ix35 represents incredible value for money. It costs less to buy than several entry-level hatchbacks, and even the top model is affordable, an amazing achievement by Hyundai. Unfortunately we were some way off achieving Hyundai’s claimed 49.6mpg fuel economy in the 2-litre CRDI, only managing less than 40mpg. Still, this is a reasonable figure, and we’re sure more careful driving could see consumption closer to Hyundai’s quoted figure. Emissions of 149g/km make this a cheap 4×4 to tax. The petrol ix35 returns 37.7mpg and emits 177g/km of CO2.
How reliable is it?
The engines (albeit reduced in size from 2.2 to 2-litres in CRDI form) and four-wheel drive can be found in the Hyundai Santa Fe, so we don’t expect the ix35 to tarnish Hyundai’s excellent reliability record. The standard five-year warranty and 10-year corrosion warranty should safeguard against most problems.
How safe is it?
The Hyundai ix35 hasn’t been EuroNCAP crash tested yet, but its makers claim it has been designed from the outset to achieve a five-star score. Safety kit includes ABS, ESP and six airbags, active front headrests and seatbelt pretensioners as standard.
How much equipment do I get?
UK cars get rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloys, hill descent control, Bluetooth connectivity and heated seats as standard. This makes the ix35 one of the best-equipped entry-level cars we’ve ever seen. Air-con and a trip computer are also standard. Premium spec cars get 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, front and rear sunroofs, auto headlights and wipers, roof rails, chrome trim, folding door mirrors, keyless entry with stop and start button and rear privacy glass.
For the price of a hatchback the Hyundai ix35 offers buyers a great-looking 4×4 with good performance, low running costs, practicality and impressive levels of kit. It’s a serious competitor to the latest Nissan Qashqai.