Can new SUV steal sales from Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai?
The ix35 crossover is another respectable addition to Hyundai’s growing range, and while it doesn’t excel in any one area – and isn’t likely to worry the Nissan Qashqai or Ford Kuga as a result – it does have a lot going for it. Space and equipment are generous, and it drives well, too. Also in its favour is that by the time sales start in spring, there will be a wide engine line-up. And with prices likely to kick off at around £15,000, the ix35 certainly has value for money on its side as well
The Sante Fe is getting a little brother – and Auto Express has driven it! This is Hyundai’s new compact crossover, the ix35.
Charged not only with replacing the firm’s popular budget off-roader, the Tucson, it arrives in UK showrooms in the spring with its eye on competing with Nissan’s Qashqai and Ford’s Kuga, too. Is it good enough to do that? We hit the road to find out.
First impressions are that it’s a distinctive-looking machine – slashes down the flanks and a prominent grille give the ix35 plenty of road presence. The Hyundai is 10cm longer than its Qashqai rival, and inside there’s lots of room, even for tall rear passengers, However, one body range means there’s only space for five.
Up front, the dashboard is clearly laid out and, while the plastics aren’t of particularly high quality, it does feel solid. There’s a wealth of equipment, too. Our Premium trim car comes with climate control, heated leather seats, automatic wipers and a panoramic glass roof, as well as an iPod connector and 18-inch alloys.
There’s a lot to shout about under the bonnet, too, in the shape of a punchy 182bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It heads a range which will also include 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol variants, plus a 1.7-litre diesel. Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive will be offered.
Matched to an automatic gearbox, its smoothly delivered 383Nm of torque means 0-62mph takes only 9.4seconds. On the move, there’s plenty of urge for overtaking. And when you factor in 47mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 158g/km, it’s clear that this is an impressive all-rounder.
However, ride and handling are less inspiring. The ix35 doesn’t feel as agile or as accurate as the Kuga or Qashqai, with slightly vague steering and suspension that gets unsettled quite easily. Yet body roll is well suppressed when cornering hard, and the ix35 feels generally very stable at high speed