It’s splashdown for new all-rounder
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.