Classy Korean looks great, but is proving to be a car of two halves for our publishing director
Football pundits would love the latest addition to our long-term fleet, as the Hyundai ix35 is a car of two halves!
Let’s start at the front, because when I first saw the ix35 in the pages of Auto Express, I was impressed with its styling – and I was only too pleased to discover that I’d be running the new 1.7 CRDi model when it arrived in our car park just before Christmas last year. And I am pleased to say that it looks even better in the metal than it does on paper.
First impressions were good, and the cabin did nothing to change my mind. Thoughtful touches, like illuminated switches for the stereo and cruise control on the steering wheel, make the first few days with any new car pass more easily, and I wasn’t forced to grope about in the dark looking for the necessary controls.
The tall seating position also delivers superb forward visibility, which is ideal around town. Mind you, it’s not perfect because when you look over your shoulder, the sweeping rear windows taper towards the back. While this does wonders for the styling, rearward visibility is compromised.
All is not lost, though, as our Premium model is fitted with the optional Media Pack, which includes a handy rear-facing camera. Simply select reverse and you get a clear image on the central display, which makes it easy to park the ix35 in the tightest of spots.
Car group tests
- Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell: new hydrogen car driven
- Hyundai ix35 Premium SE
- Hyundai ix35 fuel cell prototype
Used car tests
My affection for the Hyundai grew stronger after spending some quality time behind the wheel. The six-speed manual gearbox is excellent and given the ever-rising cost of fuel, the helpful gearshift indicators provide welcome prompts that will help me to make the most of the 1.7-litre diesel engine’s economy.
After just a few weeks, I was smitten with the new powerplant. It is smooth, capable and has minimal turbo lag when you apply the throttle. The build quality, as we have come to expect from Hyundai these days, is also excellent and the layout of the dials is very good. The sat-nav impresses, too, but as someone who doesn’t appreciate a bossy voice telling me what to do at every turn, the fact that you have to switch off the system’s audible guidance every time you input a new destination is a little frustrating.
On the plus side, with an iPod and a USB socket, plus two 12-volt plugs in the central console (and another in the boot), the ix35 easily satisfies my electronic needs.
At the end of January, I returned to work after an early holiday, and that’s when the game began to change. When I came to strap the child seats for our two girls in the back, I really noticed the difference between the ix35 and the Renault Scenic that preceded it on the Burnay driveway.
The Hyundai is a big car, but there isn’t a huge amount of space inside. In reality, the crossover model doesn’t claim to be an MPV like the practical Scenic, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m always amazed at the relatively modest load area every time I raise the tailgate.
Admittedly, this probably says more about how much clutter we have grown used to carrying about with us, and less about the Hyundai’s load-carrying credentials. I look forward to seeing how it copes over the months ahead. To coin another football cliché, it’s still early doors, after all...
“The ix35 is a great exampleof how much Hyundai has improved in the last few years. Good to drive and well built, it hold lots of appeal. An unlimited mileage five-year warranty makes it a fine ownership prospect.”
Senior Road Tester