Hyundai ix35 SUV
Price £17,000 - £28,015
- Great value price
- Stylish design
- Long warranty
- No seven-seat option
- Not much fun to drive
- Poor fuel economy
At a glance
"The Hyundai ix35 is a stylish crossover that offers comfort, practicality, versatility and quality in equal measure."
The Hyundai ix35 SUV is Hyundai's answer to cars such as the Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai, and the Skoda Yeti. Arguably, its biggest rival comes in the form of the Kia Sportage. That car shares many of the Hyundai's parts but gets chunkier looks and has a seven-year/100,000 mile warranty that betters the ix35's five-year/100,000 mile cover.
The Hyundai's engine range is showing its age and can’t compete with the economy of the latest models such as the brand-new Nissan Qashqai. That's not to say the Hyundai is hugely expensive to run, particularly if you opt for the 1.7-litre or 2.0-litre diesels. The latter comes with grippy four-wheel-drive as standard, while a 1.6-litre engine is the only petrol option and is relatively thirsty.
Three versions are available in the ix35 range – S, SE and Premium. Basic S spec gets air-conditioning, alloy wheels, and an alarm, while top-end Premium models get a touch of luxury with 18-inch alloy wheels, a leather interior and keyless entry and start button.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Economy and emissions aren’t great but five-year warranty protects against bills
When modern SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai crossover can get more than 74mpg, it is clear the ix35 is beginning to fall behind its rivals. The most economical version, the two-wheel drive 1.7-litre diesel, can return 53.3mpg. Despite being fitted with grippy four-wheel drive, which burns more fuel, the 2.0-litre diesel can still manage 51.4mpg, but combine it with the automatic gearbox and that drops to 41.5mpg. The 1.6-litre petrol can be had in standard or economical BlueDrive versions, and the latter should be able to return 44.1mpg. CO2 emissions are also on the high side ranging from 139g/km in the 1.7-litre diesel to 179g/km in the auto 2.0-litre diesel – so you pay anything from £130 to £225 on annual road tax.
Maintenance costs should be very reasonable, though, and Hyundai offers both fixed price one-off servicing and maintenance plans that allow you to spread the costs over monthly payments. Hyundai's warranty may be bettered by Kia, but it is still one of the best available.
Interior & comfort
The ix35 is very comfortable, and interior quality is good for the price
Inside, the Hyundai has some soft-touch plastics, but the dashboard design looks a bit plain and can’t compete with the new Nissan Qashqai. At least there is plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel and driver's seat, so getting comfortable is simple enough.
Once underway, the Hyundai makes a reasonable effort of keeping wind and road noise to a minimum. The 1.7-litre and 2.0-litre diesels can be noisy when accelerating, but soon settle down at a cruise and are quieter at speed than the petrol.
Practicality & boot space
Boot is huge but has a high load lip and is of an awkward shape
With a huge 591-litre boot, the Hyundai i35 is an excellent family car and it is a bigger load bay than is available in main rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres), Skoda Yeti (416 litres), and Mazda CX-5 (503 litres). Despite the big boot, the ix35 is not available with seven seats. The car gets split-folding rear seats and although they don’t fold completely flat, the ix35 has a load bay capacity of 1,436 litres. That's less than you would get in the Skoda (1,760 litres) and the Mazda (1,620 litres). The boot also has a lip that makes it difficult to load large items, while the boot opening is an awkward shape.
Reliability & safety
ix35 has a superb reliability record backed-up be a five year warranty
Drops don’t come much more dramatic than the one experienced by the ix35 in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, in which the car plunged 69 places. Road handling came out as one of the car's biggest weaknesses and it was also flagged for its high running costs. These might not be a concern for all buyers, and it is nice to see the Hyundai was praised for its reliability and in-car technology.
Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about safety and the car received five stars when it was evaluated by Euro NCAP. It scored 90 per cent for adult protection, 88 per cent for child safety and comes with six airbags, electronic stability control and active head restraints.
Engines, drive & performance
Not as good to drive as rivals, and petrol engine is sluggish
Hyundai has made a number of changes to the ix35's suspension, but we found there was still too much body lean in the corners and the steering never seems to settle, either.
There’re are still a number of positives, including the car's high driving position which gives excellent visibility and a clear view of the road ahead. The interior is quiet something that takes the strain out of cruising down the motorway.
If you are going to spend a lot of time on the motorway then the top-spec 2.0-litre diesel makes a lot of sense, because it has the power for relaxed overtaking. The 2.0-litre diesel also gets grippy four-wheel drive as standard, so it also has some decent off-road ability. It is the most expensive model and, if it's more than you want to spend, we would go for the 1.7-litre diesel which doesn’t feel as underpowered as the basic 1.6-litre petrol.
Price, value for money & options
Low price and high equipment levels make it excellent value for money
While the ix35 might be outclassed by cars such as the Nissan Qashqai in some areas, it still represents good value. The basic S model offers 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, ISOFIX child-seat mounts, front and rear electric windows, plus an alarm with remote central locking.
SE models add larger 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, cruise control, and half-leather seats. For a little extra, SE Nav models add an upgraded stereo and sat-nav, while Premium models get a full leather interior, powerful xenon headlights, plus washers for the headlights. Go for the Panorama and you get a full length sunroof that slides open at the front.
Hyundai is still some way from achieving the second hand values of firms such as Nissan and Mazda, but the gap is closing and that long warranty is sure to increase buyers’ confidence in the car.
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."