Hyundai ix35 SUV
Price: £16,995 - £28,005
- Great value price
- Stylish design
- Long warranty
- No seven-seat option
- Not much fun to drive
- Poor fuel economy
"The Hyundai ix35 is a stylish crossover that offers comfort, practicality, versatility and quality in equal measure."
The Hyundai ix35 is the Korean company's rival to crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage and Skoda Yeti – and like those cars it offers the compact dimensions of a family hatchback with the pumped-up looks and practicality of an SUV.
The ix35 is one of the most stylish in the class, too, despite being relatively old. It has a sleek, sporty look that turns heads in a way you wouldn’t expect from a car with a Hyundai badge. It comes with a choice of three specification levels (S, SE and SE Nav) and three engines: a 1.6-litre petrol, a 1.7-litre diesel and a 2.0-litre diesel. Plus it's available in four-wheel drive.
It's comfortable, spacious and practical, and the quality of the interior is excellent – especially considering the low price tag, which undercuts most rivals, and the impressive amount of equipment that comes as standard even on entry-level models. All-in-all it's a highly accomplished family car, but despite an update in 2013 it's still not the most exciting crossover to drive, and far from the most efficient.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Economy and emissions aren’t great but five-year warranty protects against bills
Unfortunately, the ix35 trails many of its rivals when it comes to economy and emissions. Of its three engines, the 1.7-litre diesel is the most efficient and will do 53.3mpg and 139g/km CO2. To put that in perspective, the Nissan Qashqai is capable of 74.3mpg and 99g/km CO2, so the Hyundai is really inefficient by comparison.
The standard 1.6-litre petrol engine will do 41.5mpg and 158g/km CO2 – unless you opt for the more economical Blue Drive version which adds stop-start to improve the figures to 44.1mpg and 149g/km CO2. The 2.0-litre diesel does 51.4mpg and 145g/km CO2.
So, basically, whichever engine you go for, you’ll have some fairly high running costs. But at least Hyundai's five-year warranty means you won’t face any unexpected repair bills for a while.
Interior & comfort
The ix35 is very comfortable, and interior quality is good for the price
Material quality, fit and finish on the inside of the ix35 is excellent. There are plenty of soft-touch plastics, all the switches feel robust and there is soft blue backlighting, which gives the interior a classy feel.
It's really comfortable, too. The suspension has been set-up to provide a soft ride and it will easily absorb all but the biggest of potholes and bumps that you’ll encounter on the roads.
The interior is well insulated and does a great job of filtering out tyre, road and wind noise, while the engines are reasonably powerful, smooth and quiet, too. Space in the rear seats is a little tight, though, so passengers may find it a little too confined on longer journeys.
Practicality & boot space
Boot is huge but has a high load lip and is of an awkward shape
Practicality is one of the ix35's strong points – as you’d expect for a sizeable SUV. The boot offers 591 litres of space, which is among the best in class. The Nissan Qashqai, by comparison, has just 430 litres, the Skoda Yeti has just 416 litres, and the Mazda CX-5 has 503 litres. Split-folding rear seats come as standard, too, and with them folded flat the capacity expands to 1,436 litres. That's pretty decent but it's less than what's on offer from some of the previously mentioned rivals – the Yeti has 1,580 litres with the rear seats folded, and the CX-5 has a cavernous 1,620 litres.
The boot's load lip is quite high, too, which makes loading heavy objects harder than it should be, and the opening is also a little awkwardly shaped. To make matters worse, the rear seats don’t fold completely flat, which makes squeezing longer objects in tricky.
There are other downsides as well, the rear seats are a little cramped compared to rivals and the rear doors have a relatively narrow opening. Still, most of these criticisms are only relevant in comparison to rivals – and the ix35 is still a spacious vehicle overall. And unless you plan on regularly folding down the rear seats to carry massive loads it has one of the most spacious boots in its class.
Reliability & safety
ix35 has a superb reliability record backed-up be a five year warranty
The ix35 is based on the Hyundai i30 and shares many of the same components – so its parts are all tried, tested and high quality. There have been no major recalls, either. The Hyundai brand didn’t fare particularly well in the 2013 Driver Power survey, falling seven places to come 14th out of 32 manufacturers – a disappointing result after it came so close to a top five finish the year before. That said, the ix35 itself performed well in the Top 100 cars league table – it came 21st and was ranked fourth best for reliability.
It performed well in safety tests, too, achieving the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, picking up an impressive 90 per cent for adult protection and 88 per cent for child protection. All models get a decent range of safety equipment including six airbags, electronic stability control, ABS, traction control and active head restraints.
Engines, drive & performance
Not as good to drive as rivals, and petrol engine is sluggish
There are three engines to choose from with the ix35: a 114bhp 1.7-litre diesel, a 134bhp 2.0-litre diesel and a 133bhp 1.6-litre petrol. The smaller diesel is our pick of the range because it offers the best mix of value for money, performance and efficiency, while the 2.0-litre diesel easily offers the best performance and is reasonably economical, too.
The petrol engine is the cheapest in the range but we wouldn’t recommend it – it feels underpowered and sluggish which makes it frustrating to drive.
The ix35 has been set-up to feel comfortable and this makes it a good motorway cruiser, but it soon feels out of its depth when driven on a winding country road because there's quite a lot of body roll through corners. The steering lacks accuracy, too, and you’ll find that you have to keep making small adjustments just to keep the car on course. Rivals like the Mazda CX-5, Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai are much better to drive.
Price, value for money & options
Low price and high equipment levels make it excellent value for money
The ix35 is one of the best value SUVs on the market. It has one of the lowest price tags and some of the best equipment levels around. There are three spec levels: S, SE and SE Nav – and even entry-level S models get 16-inch alloy wheels, air-con and heated front and rear seats.
SE models get 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity with voice control, while SE Nav models add a seven-inch touchscreen, sat-nav, rear-view parking camera, plus seven speakers, an amp and a subwoofer to the already impressive equipment list.
Resale values are very strong, too, and among the best in class. Plus, Hyundai's five-year/unlimited mileage warranty is a major selling point.
What the others say
"Given the stiff competition, it's no surprise that the Hyundai ix35 has been refreshed after only a few years. With its tweaked styling and uprated chassis, the new model promises to be even more eye-catching and better to drive.Tweaked looks, new trim levels and more kit help add extra showroom appeal, while revised suspension settings aim to deliver a sharper driving experience."
"Comfortable and quiet on the move, there's little to find fault with and the icing on the cake is the ix35's superb value for money. It comes incredibly well equipped, has a five-year warranty as standard and is easily a match for more mainstream alternatives from Toyota and Volkswagen."
"The Hyundai ix35 doesn't quite have the polish of the class leaders, but it's good value for money and looks the part."
"Every ix35 gets a full five year/unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty, which is fully transferable warranty to subsequent owners. There's also five years roadside assistance and five years annual healthchecks."
Last updated: 19 Feb 2014