The Hyundai ix35 is yet another contender in the crowded SUV class, which includes the brilliant Nissan Qashqai and tough, no-nonsense Skoda Yeti. Also featuring is the Hyundai's sister model, the Kia Sportage. While both vehicles share many parts, the ix35 has a five-year warranry compared to the Sportage's seven. Even five years is impressive, but if you like to keep your cars for a long time, the Kia may be the better choice.
In terms of their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the models are broadly similar and not as efficient as a Nissan Qashqai. Only the very expensive ix35 FCEV, which runs on hydrogen, really stands out in terms of eco-credentials.
The standard ix35's engine line-up features a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.7-litre diesel – both with two-wheel drive and available in standard and economical Blue Drive form. There's also a 2.0-litre diesel available only with four-wheel drive. The most economical, and the best all-rounder, is the Blue Drive 1.7 diesel. However, it costs around £1,200 more than the Blue Drive 1.6-litre petrol. If you're a low-mileage driver, the petrol may be worth considering for its lower price and more responsive nature.
That said, regardless of engine, the ix35 is not exactly fun to drive. The suspension is too firm and uncomfortable for urban roads and too soft for fast, open roads, where it causes the ix35 to lean heavily in corners. The steering is a little strange, too: quite direct at high speeds, yet slow and vague around town.
At least the car looks good and is roomy, with a flat floor in the rear cabin so passengers can get comfortable. The boot is large and well shaped, too. Like most of its rivals, the ix35 is available only as a five seater; there's no seven-seat option (you'll need its bigger brother, the Hyundai Santa Fe, for that).
The interior looks smart, but uses lots of hard plastic. There are five trim levels: S, SE, SE Nav, Premium and Premium Panorama. Standard equipment is good even on the S, with air-conditioning, alloy wheels and all-round electric windows coming as standard. For its additional creature comforts, including cruise control and rear parking sensors, the SE is our pick of the range.
With its five-year warranty and good reputation for reliability, you should be able to buy an ix35 with confidence. It was awarded five stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests, too, so should protect you and your passengers well in the event of a crash.