Hyundai ix35 2.0-litre CRDi 4WD SE Nav

January 2015

picture of car from the front

Unusual looks make the ix35 easy to recognise


Overall Rating 7Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 7Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 7Car safety


  • Excellent value for money
  • Improved standard specification is even more impressive
  • Feels solidly built and robust
  • Low effort driving experience


  • Looks may be an issue that some buyers can't get past
  • Some interior plastics feel a little flimsy
  • Relatively old-fashioned engine sounds coarse at times
  • Interior storage solutions could be improved

Hyundai's booming success in the UK has come from taking on the favoured brands in the traditional sectors, and the compact SUV ix35 has played a significant part in that. As a part of a continual programme of improvement the ix35 has been refreshed, with mechanical updates, a revised model range, improved equipment and options, all designed to improve the buyer experience.

Hyundai are a brand transformed over the last decade, and without a doubt any perceived chasm between it and the European brands has been closed up almost completely. At the heart of this has been heavy influence from European engineers and designers in the creation of new cars, and the leap between the ix35 and its Tuscon predecessor illustrates this.

Styled in Germany for a European market, the shift of focus certainly shows from the exterior. Replacing the chunky, rugged styling of a traditional SUV with something altogether more discreet and stylised, Hyundai has kept the advantageous tall body albeit within a five-door, five-seat hatchback template.

Under the skin the ix35 has received several mechanical changes, chiefly centred around the suspension and steering gear in order to improve its on-road manners. The coil springs and dampers have are of a new specification, while the steering can now be switched between three modes - normal, comfort and sport - depending on the conditions.

The engine range remains broadly the same, but the 1.7-litre diesel unit can now be specified with automatic stop/start. Buyers wanting an automatic option can choose the 2.0-litre CRDi unit as before but this now has 136 horsepower instead of 181 before; although a reduction in output it reduces CO2 emissions and improves fuel consumption as a result.

Our verdict on the Hyundai ix35 2.0-litre CRDi 4WD SE Nav

The changes to the ix35 are modest, but in truth there was very little that needed changing from the original car. Practical, sensible and unobtrusive to drive, the latest ix35 is a high value proposition and is typical of the brand with its no-nonsense approach. Private buyers will find a lot to like, not least the impressive warranty for peace of mind.

Costs rating 8

Considering the huge range of standard equipment and the level impressive level of refinement on offer, the ix35 represents tremendous value for money. Running costs are unlikely to cause much consternation either, with Hyundai's five-year, unlimited mileage warranty playing a big role.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

Although not particularly wide, the ix35 offers excellent rear legroom and headroom, meaning it could cope with four adults over a long journey comfortably. The boot is respectably proportioned with a large door making it easy to load. In the cabin itself storage is good, with a well-sized glovebox and a large central cubby hole.

picture of car from the rear

Rounded rear helps to boost boot space

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 7

The blue illumination of the instruments and buttons is easy on the eye and helps to minimise glare in the darker hours, while the layout itself is straightforward and easy to pick up. The touchscreen has only a few buttons on each screen which makes it easy to navigate through the means and read the information displayed.

Comfort Rating 8

Helpfully the suspension changes have boosted the ix35's comfort levels, which were already of a good standard. The seats are supportive and many models come with the heated variety as standard, while road and engines noise are well insulated; at cruising speed the diesel's sound falls away to a minimum.

Car security
Security Rating 7

Remote central locking and an alarm are standard on all models, while Premium models and above gain keyless entry and privacy glass too.

Car safety
Safety Rating 7

ESP is standard across the ix35 range as are six airbags, including two full-length curtain airbags. For the front passengers active head rests can prevent whiplash injuries. Hill start assist has the potential to prevent small accidents, too.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 6

The detail changes to the ix35's suspension have improved its performance in a variety of conditions. Road imperfections are dealt with in a more composed fashion while body roll has been reduced. The ix35 remains a stable and consistent car to drive rather than hugely rewarding, but the switchable steering assistance options do given very light steering when required and a bit more weight at higher speeds. The 2.0-litre diesel option is reasonable refined and offers sufficient performance for a car of this size.

picture of car interior

Cabin is spacious and well equipped

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 9

The ix35 is an ideal candidate for the family car role. Practical and family-friendly with good storage and wide opening doors, it also combines the high-rise advantages of an SUV with the compact footprint of a family hatchback in true crossover fashion. Low purchase and running costs will also help in terms of appealing to families.

First car appeal
First car Rating 5

As a family crossover the ix35 is an unlikely choice as a first car, although its ease of use, practicality and value for money mean it can't be ruled out.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 5

Hyundai is on long journey to making a name for itself through the quality of its products, but the improvement with each new generation is significant and the ix35 is the perfect demonstration of this. It stands comparison with any of its mainstream European rivals in respect of quality, even though for the most part it is less expensive to buy. Value is at the heart of its image too but this is being bolstered by its growing reputation for quality.

Accessibility Rating

The ix35's tall body and raised ride height make entering and exiting very easy and a decent size boot portal also helps. That said, the wide opening rear doors are very angular and quite narrow, meaning the rear bench is hidden behind the door frame, although this only hinders access very slightly.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The standard stereo system is perfectly sufficient and produces good sound quality using the radio, MP3 compatible CD player and iPod connection. A media pack upgrade adds a neatly integrated touch screen sat-nav and seven-speaker sound system with amp and subwoofer. A bonus for a car in this segment is standard voice activated Bluetooth and steering wheel audio controls are also present. One niggle is the voice instructions for the navigation default to on every time a new destination is chosen and needs several button presses to be cancelled.

picture of car in detail

Rear seat space is impressive

Colours and trim

The ix35 retains its strong exterior design; a mix of soft curves intersected by sharp edges. In darker colours these contrasts are less noticeable, where brighter colours make the most of them. Which options is preferable is best left in the hands of the buyer. Inside the cool blue lighting of the instruments and buttons is a nice touch and helps boost the quality feeling, even if a few of the plastics feel a little cheap.


There should be few issues with parking thanks to standard parking sensors and even the possibility of an upgrade to a reversing camera system. The ix35's deceptively small footprint allows for easy manoeuvring in a car park, however the thick C-pillar restricts visibility over the shoulder when looking across the car.

Spare wheel

Space saver spare wheel located under boot floor.


Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.6-litre (131bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.7-litre (113bhp); 2.0-litre (133bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed manual gearbox, six-speed automatic gearbox, two or four-wheel drive. Trim levels: S, SE, SE Nav, Premium, Premium Panorama.


Alternative cars

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Peugeot 3008 Alternative take on the family wagon is very practical

Skoda Yeti Excellent value for money with genuine off-road ability

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January 2015