Although it has now been replaced by the Hyundai Tucson, the Hyundai ix35 was a mainstay of the brand’s range while on sale between 2009 and 2015. Up against talented rivals like the Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Yeti and Kia Sportage, it always held its own and offered a slightly different, value-for-money proposition, plus a generous and comprehensive five-year warranty.
On average, most people change car every three years or so, which means if they bought their ix35 new and you’re buying it from them secondhand, there’ll still be two years’ warranty remaining. This adds a huge amount of peace of mind – especially as this car is aimed at families on a budget. Best of all, though, there’s no mileage limit on the warranty, so it won’t expire before the five years are up. Plus, there are added benefits, like roadside assistance.
The ix35 is a stylish, spacious and practical car, too, and while there’s no seven-seat option, it’s perfectly suitable if you only need five seats. The boot is a decent size, but it’s not quite as usable as those in some of its rivals – the 60:40 split-folding rear seats don’t fold completely flat, which both reduces the available space to 1,436 litres and makes it tricky to slide heavy items in and out. That said, with the rear seats up, the boot is large enough, but it’s tricky to haul heavy items over the high load lip.
While the Hyundai’s interior looks fairly smart, you may find the quality of materials used is a little behind those in some of its rivals. It does come pretty well equipped, however, with even the entry-level S model coming with air-conditioning and alloy wheels. Our favourite of the five trims available (S, SE, SE Nav, Premium and Premium Panorama) is SE Nav, as you get cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, heated front and rear seats, rear parking sensors, satellite navigation and a rear parking camera.
Under the bonnet, there’s a choice of two diesels – a 1.7 and a 2.0-litre – and one petrol, a 1.6-litre. Our favourite is the 1.7-litre diesel, as it provides the best balance between performance and efficiency. However, it’s likely to set you back a little more than the petrol to buy in the first place, so if you don’t do that many miles, the petrol might be a better bet.
The 2.0-litre diesel offers the strongest performance in the range, but costs considerably more to buy and its standard four-wheel-drive system increases running costs. It’s the best choice for towing work, however.
None of the engines makes the ix35 particularly entertaining to drive, however. At low speeds and around town, the suspension doesn’t deal with undulations particularly well, while at higher speeds, it pitches and rolls too much, which leads to significant body lean in corners. The steering doesn’t inspire a huge amount of confidence, either, so this isn’t a car for the driving enthusiast.
Safety shouldn’t be a concern, though, as Euro NCAP awarded the ix35 the full five stars, thanks in part to standard safety equipment including traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, a tyre-pressure monitoring system and a trailer stability assistance system.
In terms of reliability, Hyundai has a decent reputation – the brand was rated 16th for reliability out of 32 manufacturers in our 2015 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey and placed 21st overall. The ix35 itself, however, didn’t fare quite so well. It came 124th out of 200 cars overall and 125th for reliability in the same survey.
There was also a recall in 2014 for a seatbelt fault, so make sure this work has been done before you buy a used example. That said, buying one with some warranty left should offset any reliability worries.