Is this diesel version of Hyundai's striking ix35 crossover the best we've tested yet? We take it out on UK roads to find out.
We’re big fans of the ix35 – and this diesel version is the pick of the range. It might be a bit on the noisy side but its punchy performance and low running costs more than make up for the din from the engine. The looks may not be to everyone’s taste, and the ride is rather bouncy, but the space, plentiful equipment and security offered by Hyundai’s five-year warranty mean this is an ideal car for families looking for something just that little bit different.
Think you’re seeing double? Don’t panic – it’s because there’s lots in common between the styling of the Vauxhall Antara and Hyundai’s ix35 crossover. The Korean challenger is more edgy, with lots of creases, lines and angles – but to our mind that’s a good thing, making for plenty of distinctive kerb appeal.
In fact, twice during our first drive of the eagerly awaited 1.7 turbodiesel model, we were stopped by admiring owners of fellow crossover models. The first asked us which BMW it was, and the second what our new Ford Kuga was like to drive!
We’ve been impressed before by the petrol ix35 – so what do we make of the CRDi oil-burner? Well, the first thing to say is that it’s not for anyone who wants a quiet life. This is a diesel with plenty of clatter to keep you company. Be prepared to turn the radio up when you’re on the road.
Car group tests
- Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell: new hydrogen car driven
- Hyundai ix35 Premium SE
- Hyundai ix35 fuel cell prototype
Used car tests
On the plus side, it’s a punchy powerplant with plenty of torque. What’s more, the six-speed gearbox is smooth, and Hyundai claims 48.7mpg combined economy. An extra £205 gets you the firm’s ISG stop-start system, which boosts economy to 54.3mpg and cuts CO2 emissions from 139g/km to 135g/km.
The ix35 rides and handles well enough, too. It’s a bit harsh and bouncy, but still safe and predictable, if a little bland in corners. Even though it’s two-wheel drive, our car coped admirably with uneven, gravelled tracks as well as the tarmac that most of these vehicles spend the majority of their time on.
Equipment is good on this top-spec Premium model. Standard features include air-con, a rear parking camera and sensors, Bluetooth, touchscreen sat-nav, heated seats, six airbags and smart 17-inch alloy wheels.
There’s plenty of space for passengers and their luggage. Materials are a mix of soft-touch and harsher plastics, with chrome trim on the centre console, multifunction steering wheel and gearknob. The icing on the cake is Hyudai’s five-year warranty.
The ix35 is a surprisingly good car. It’s close, but not quite up there with the best in class. Yet no one can argue with what you get for the money – or that this is a very cool-looking Korean indeed.
Rival: Nissan Qashqai
More like a raised family hatch than an SUV, the excellent Qashqai offers a car-like driving experience, plenty of space and a quality cabin. A similarly specced 109bhp 1.5 dCi model costs £19,395.