Long weekends have allowed SUV to stretch its legs out of town – and it’s really impressed
The recent spate of bank holidays has got me scanning the calendar for the next one – because the extended weekends have given me the chance to see our long-term Hyundai ix35 in a completely different light.
During an average working week, I spend the majority of my time close to home on short trips, jostling with traffic and dodging urban potholes. But the Easter weekend, and royal wedding seven days later, gave me the chance to stretch its legs with a couple of family trips away.
The first challenge was fitting our baggage into the boot. In my first report on the Hyundai, I revealed how I wasn’t impressed by the size of the load area. At first glance, it looks limited – but I’ve been amazed by how much stuff the ix35 swallows. We were able to pack two large suitcases, a pushchair, travel cot and countless Easter eggs – and still enjoyed full visibility out of the rear screen. From experience, I know that many traditional family hatches would struggle to match it.
The ix35 proved to be capable on the motorway, too. Away from the gridlocked streets of central London, the big crossover showed another side to its talents, providing a hushed cabin and punchy performance at high cruising speeds. You rarely need to drop out of sixth gear, and the smooth 1.7-litre diesel engine delivers surprising shove.
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On flowing roads, the shift indicator prompted me to keep the car in the highest gear possible. Sometimes the system will instruct you to shift up two ratios, rather than one, and I was always impressed with the torquey powerplant’s ability to pull higher gears than I anticipated. The gains at the pumps are evident, too. In the wake of a few longer journeys, overall economy has risen to a steady 38.7mpg. And it’s not only efficient, it’s also comfortable.
After four three-hour drives in one week, I can vouch for the Hyundai’s long-haul credentials. At the end of each trip I emerged feeling fresh. The standard-fit cruise control can take some
of the credit here, and I use the stress-relieving kit at every opportunity. The ix35 was found wanting on space in the rear during our family visits. We were unable to squeeze an extra adult in the back between the pair of child seats occupied by our daughters. It’s hardly a deal-breaker, as many family cars are unable to manage this feat, but I expected more space across the rear bench given the ix35’s tall proportions.
Other downsides are few and far between, although the warm spell of weather has highlighted one problem with owning a white car. Sap from trees is a pain for any motorist forced to park their vehicle in leafy streets, but it’s a nightmare if you have gleaming white bodywork to keep clean. With the added headache of bird droppings to contend with, I can honestly say I’ve never washed any of my previous vehicles as frequently as I have the Hyundai.
We haven’t made any family plans for the long weekend at the end of the month yet. But one thing’s for sure: by the time we get back home at the end of it, I will make a note on my calendar to take the ix35 to the car wash...
“There’s little to dislike about the ix35. It has the best interior of any Hyundai, and a smooth and efficient diesel. For an extra £205, you can also get the Intelligent Stop&Go system, which cuts emissions to 135g/km and boosts economy to 54.3mpg.”
Ross Pinnock, Road test editor