Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 2WD Premium
Stylish exterior is high on appeal
- Smartly styled exterior
- Excellent view from driver's seat
- Impressive standard specification
- Good leg and headroom
- Cabin feels a little narrow
- Rear seat access restricted by narrow door base
- Very thick C-pillar does not help over shoulder visibility
- Springy steering at low speed
With the industry focus shifting from SUVs to crossover models, Hyundai has replaced its outgoing Tucson with a different type of vehicle in the shape of the ix35. Combining SUV height and versatility with hatchback practicality and a compact footprint, it's also packed with equipment for value conscious customers.
Hyundai has opted to follow the trend for crossover models with the replacement for the Tucson compact SUV. Treading a line between SUV and family hatchback, the new ix35 enters into an increasingly competitive market for such vehicles.
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.
In order to bring something to the segment, Hyundai has gone all out with specification on the ix35 to offer even greater value for money. Heated front and rear seats, voice activated Bluetooth and reversing sensors, with more toys present on the upper trim level, are combined with a five-year warranty to create an enticing package.
The ix35 is initially launched with two engine choices; both two-litres in capacity and either petrol or diesel powered. The petrol unit comes in base specification with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the diesel can be specified in either trim with a six-speed manual gearbox and two-or four-wheel drive. A new 1.6-litre petrol unit and 1.7-litre diesel engine are to be added to the line up in due course, complete with start-stop. A six-speed automatic transmission is also on the way.
Our verdict on the Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 2WD Premium
It seems that there's little to prevent the ix35 taking the increasingly popular crossover segment by storm, save for reservations about the badge. These should not hold buyers back - the model is every bit as well built as its competitors and offers genuine value for money. Practical and stylish, it's yet another model from the Korean manufacturer that's well worthy of recognition.
Considering the huge range of standard equipment and the 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
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. Up front there is masses of storage, including a six-litre central cubby hole.
Controls and display
An upgrade to the SuperVision instrument cluster brings bright blue lighting to the dials, giving a more upmarket feel. The standard display is not without is charms however, and the central instrument cluster uses a distinctive but easily navigated design with large buttons and knobs with a quality feel. The controls conform to the usual norms and steering wheel mounted controls are a useful addition. Touches like having the window controls angled towards the occupants are also very pleasing.
An impressive quality of ride makes the ix35 a naturally comfortable vehicle for all occupants, but it's the impressive specification that really gives it the edge over competitors. Heated seats are standard front and rear and the Premium model boasts a full length glass sunroof. Air-con is naturally standard as are electric windows. Interior refinement is impressive; at motorway cruising speed even the diesel unit performs above average in terms of engine noise.
Remote central locking and an alarm rounds out the major security measures, but the privacy glass of the Premium model and standard 'follow-me-home' lights are useful in a security sense.
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.
Naturally, there's more traction on offer from the on-demand four-wheel drive variant, but the two-wheel drive chassis is highly competent on road regardless. The diesel unit uses a high torque output to pull the model up to speed quickly and economically and proves very tractable thanks to the low-down pulling power. There's a degree of bodyroll thanks to the ride height and tall body, but the ride is very impressive particularly over less forgiving surfaces. An excellent driving position offers a commanding view of the road, however the variable assistance steering is very keen to return to centre making it rather springy in town.
Family car appeal
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
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
Hyundai's reputation as a producer of value for money vehicles doesn't help the manufacturer when it comes to image and perceived value but the ix35, like the rest of the Korean manufacturer's modern range, is built to a high standard using decent materials. There's little inside to give away the ix35's bargain price tag with respectable fit and finish and attractive design. The Hyundai badge has been gaining in status in recent years but still lacks the draw of some competitors.
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 for the Premium trim level 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.
Colours and trim
Sharp exterior styling means the ix35 looks particularly good in the solid colours available and bolder options are present to compliment the usual silvers and greys. A high level of specification even for the base Style model means a leather steering wheel and gear knob along with 17-inch alloy wheels. The Premium model is even better equipped with part leather and chrome details inside.
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.
Full size spare wheel located under boot floor.
Petrol engine options - 2.0-litre (161bhp). Diesel engine options - 2.0-litre (134bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed manual gearbox, two or four-wheel drive. Trim levels: Style, Premium.
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