Hyundai ix35

It’s splashdown for new all-rounder

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Hyundai is keen to promote the ix35 as the ultimate crossover, appealing to owners of SUVs, family hatchbacks and MPVs. And to an extent it’s succeeded. This is a product of its time, with stylish looks, downsized engines and value-packed standard kit – not forgetting the firm’s excellent five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. The car bodes well for Hyundai’s ambitious future plans.

Meet the new Hyundai that’s got the ix factor! The Korean firm has announced grand plans to introduce 10 all-new cars in the next 12 months, and the first of these models to face our judgement is the ix35.

The crossover features Hyundai’s striking ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language. The nose sports a prominent hexagonal grille, while the heavily sculpted bonnet, flanks and tailgate add some welcome personality, although we couldn’t help comparing it to Ford’s S-MAX MPV.

Despite imposing looks, the ix is shorter than a Vauxhall Astra. However, the extra height means cabin space is ample. And while the 591-litre boot has a high lip, the space is very usable, thanks to the squared-off wheelarches and flat floor.

Hyundai has packed the car with plenty of standard kit, especially in top-spec Premium trim. Plus, interior quality has stepped up a notch. The multifunction leather steering wheel feels good, and a lot of the switchgear is made from soft-touch plastic – only the indicator stalks and window switches are a little brittle.

Press the starter button, and the 2.0-litre diesel fires up smoothly. There’s no automatic option, but the six-ratio manual gearbox slots home with little effort. At low speeds, the light controls make the ix35 easy to manoeuvre, while the soft ride deals with urban lumps and bumps well.

The ix is a comfortable cruiser at higher speeds, although tyre and engine noise are an issue on the motorway. The trade-off for the compliant cruising is body roll, and the light steering is devoid of feel.Keener drivers will find a Ford Kuga more rewarding.

The 2.0-litre diesel ix35 can be had with two or four-wheel drive. On paper, the latter emits just 2g/km more, but Hyundai’s 4x4 system only engages when traction is lost, meaning most of the time you’re carrying around 69kg extra and getting little real-world benefit. Even so, this is a hugely impressive package – Hyundai’s star is shining brighter than ever.

Most Popular

Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value
Appreciators: Renault 5

Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value

Looking to invest in a modern classic? Here are some cars destined to appreciate in value
4 May 2021
Ford Escort XR3: we drive the hot hatch pioneer
Ford Escort XR3

Ford Escort XR3: we drive the hot hatch pioneer

Hot hatches democratised performance, and one of the pioneers, the Ford Escort XR3, is now over 40 years old
5 May 2021
Chinese EV brand NIO enters European market

Chinese EV brand NIO enters European market

NIO will soon start selling its electric vehicles, starting in Europe and likely heading to the UK too
6 May 2021