Hyundai IX35 review
High-riding Hyundai ix35 is a Nissan Qashqai rival that shows how far Hyundai has come in build quality and design
The Hyundai ix35 crossover is the sister car to the i30 hatchback and shares many of its parts. It's a direct rival to the hugely-successful Nissan Qashqai too - although with 100mm extra length than the Nissan it boasts even more interior room. The sharp styling is guranteed to turn heads, while the soft suspension and high seating position make it comfortable on long trips and offer great visibilty around town. Available with two or four-wheel drive, and a choice of 1.7 and 2.0-litre diesel engines plus a 1.6-litre petrol engine, the ix35 has a configuration to suit most needs.
Our choice: ix35 1.7 CRDi 2WD
Featuring Hyundai's distinctive 'fluidic sculpture' design language, the ix35 has plenty of road presence. The striking front end uses Kia's hexagonal grille, while the bonnet, flanks and tailgate are all heavily sculpted. The interior design is attractive and quality is on a par with mainstream manufacturers such as Ford and Peugeot. Base spec Style models get 17-inch alloy wheels, while flagship Premium cars (with the exception of the 1.7 CRDI 2WD) get 18-inch rims. The quality of materials used has improved vastly too, although the indicator stalks and window switches still feel a little brittle to touch.
Go for the top-spec 134bhp 4x4 2.0 CRDi diesel and the ix35 is an effortless cruiser, with plenty of overtaking ability in reserve - but it might be too expensive for some. The 1.6-litre petrol is the cheapest but feels underpowered, which makes the 114bhp 1.7 CRDi engine is a good compromise. The high-riding stance means there a fair bit of body roll in corners and the steering is too light, but the pay off is a comfortable ride even on poor surfaces. This is definitely a car that built for cruising with a full compliment of family and their luggage on board, rather than tackling twisting B roads.
The ix35 scored a five star result in the Euro NCAP test with a 90 per cent rating for adult protection and an impressive 88 per cent rating for child protection. In terms of reliability there have been no major recalls for the ix35, an it's worth bearing in mind that it shares many of its components with the i30 hatchback which took the overall prize in our 2010 Driver Power survey. Hyundai placed an impressive 7th in our 2012 survey and all new cars come with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty.
This is where the ix35 scores high. It's boot capacity of 591-litres can expand to a massive 1,436-litres with all the seats folded down - that's significantly more than the Nissan Qashqai. As you'd expect there's plenty of cubby holes dotted around the cabin and a generously sized glovebox. The loading lip is relatively high, but the space itself is wide and usefully shaped with squared-off wheel arches. The four-wheel drive system only engages when traction is lost, but it adds another string to the ix35's bow in tricky weather conditions.
The cleanest engine is the 2WD 1.7 CRDi which returns fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 48.7mpg and 139g/km respectively, which isn't as low as some rivals. You can add Hyundai's ISG stop-start system though which boosts economy to 54.3mpg and cuts CO2 emissions to 135g/km. Go for the more powerful, four-wheel drive 2.0 CRDi in Premium spec and those figures become 47.9mpg and 154g/km. Running costs should be relatively low however, and a five-year warranty helps to guard against repair bills in the long term.