For the final report on our Hyundai ix35, I wanted to review my year with it by running through a checklist of what I look for in my ideal car. That should reveal how it measures up...
First on the list for me is safety. The Hyundai has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, six airbags, active front headrests, electronic stability control and ISOFIX child seat mountings in the back. Pretty comprehensive.
Next on my agenda is enough room for a family of four, including two small children and all of the paraphernalia that entails. There’s no such thing as too much space when you have car seats, buggies, travel cots and toys to cart around – not to mention a wife who has never quite understood the concept of travelling light.
The ix35 has coped with everything we’ve thrown at it, including several weekends away, so that’s another tick in the box.
Comfort is another essential for me, so how does the Hyundai rate? Well, the driving position is first class, the tall ride height gives excellent visibility and there’s even a footrest next to the clutch.
The supple suspension also takes the stress out of bumpy roads while the logically laid-out dash and illuminated switches ensure there’s nothing inside to raise the blood pressure. But does the ix35 get another tick for the fourth category on my most-wanted list: fuel economy?
Over the past year our car’s 1.7-litre CRDi engine has returned an average 32mpg. That’s nothing to write home about in isolation, especially with diesel so expensive. But when you bear in mind the Hyundai spends most of its time navigating crowded city streets, and hasn’t had many opportunities to stretch its legs on longer drives, I don’t think it’s too bad.
Reliability is the fifth item I look for in a new car, and in terms of the mechanicals, the Hyundai has proven absolutely faultless. However, I can’t say the same thing about the electronics: we’ve experienced a few gremlins with the entertainment screen, which malfunctioned when I tried to link my mobile phone to the car’s Bluetooth system.
It turned out that a simple firmware upgrade was enough to sort this out. The screen has frozen a few more times since, rendering the sat-nav temporarily useless on each occasion, but after a recent service – and a further upgrade – the problem hasn’t returned.
Many buyers will rank style at or very near the top of their list of priorities, and I’m no different; it’s the next thing I consider. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but the Hyundai gets another large tick in the box from me, as I really like the way it looks.
So what are the scores on the doors? Well, the ix35 gets five out of six on the Burnay scoreboard – and the problems we had were resolved under warranty. That’s a hugely impressive performance, and I’m going to miss the car now its time with us has come to an end. This Hyundai is going to be a difficult car to replace.
"While I haven’t needed the ix35’s family friendly versatility, I have been able to enjoy its punchy engine and composed chassis. However, with winter now in full swing, I’d choose the four-wheel-drive model.”
Luke Madden, Motoring writer