This is the new Hyundai ix35, the Korean company’s replacement for the frankly forgettable Tucson. But Hyundai is on a roll at the moment, having notched up some huge sales increase during the scrappage scheme, and keep those showroom figures high with their own incentives. In short, the brand is now on the general public’s radar, and offerings like the ix35 are designed to offer them something that isn’t just a cheap runabout. Read on for our verdict on the new Hyundai ix35.
The new Hyundai ix35 looks pretty good…
Past offerings from Hyundai might have been described as being ‘different’ and ‘standing out from the crowd’, but those were polite ways of saying Korean cars were odd and no one was going to buy one. The new ix35 is much better, much more confident, even if /Fluidic Design/ is a silly name for the styling philosophy. We rather like it, the only visual letdown being the chrome-effect door handles (inside and out) and the equally tacky gearknob.
What about inside this new ix35?
Touch the plastics and you’ll find they still can’t match offering from Ford or VW, but then you trade some cabin quality for the cheaper list price and five-year, unlimited mileage warranty. And it’s only really road testers that scratch and tap interior parts – once you own a car and the interior looks good, you forget about this sort of stuff.
The interior design is reasonably attractive, but you need to spec two options to make it look its best. The £800 touch screen sat-nav system (complete with rear-view camera) looks much better than the regular radio, and it’s brilliantly simple to use, very clear and very quick. You’ll need £700 for the Individual Pack too, which adds full leather trim, a somewhat pointless compass to the rear view mirror, and a ‘supervision cluster’. The latter is essentially a new set of dials, but they too are clear, and you also gain a gearshift indicator that tells you exactly what cog you need to select. Gun it in second to the red line and it’ll suggest sixth gear, rather than just simply an upshift.
Don’t opt for these options and you still get a decent kit count. All ix35s come with front and rear heated seats, 17in alloys and Bluetooth, while the Premium model we tested (an extra £1750) adds inch-bigger wheels, part-leather seats, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, a big panoramic roof and some other automatic and electric goodies. Overall, it’s pretty damn good value.
And on the road?
The lofty stance and hefty kerbweight means it’s never going to be a dynamic star, so there’s some hesitation followed by some body roll when you’re tackling a sequence of corners. The rest of the time it’s refined, comfortable and a good motorway cruiser – just watch out of the C-D-pillar blindspots – and the steering (superlight for parking) gains some welcome weighting and resistance. The diesel’s powerband is pretty narrow and the engine rather loud at high revs, but there’s enough torque to punt you along pretty briskly.
The ix35 doesn’t do anything outstanding, and it’s not a good as a Kuga or Tiguan, and yet this is a very likeable car. It looks good inside and out (half the battle in this market), is reasonable on road – we didn’t try it off, but no one’s going to go there – and with a decent kit count and excellent aftersales care there are not a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t consider an ix35 if you’re after a little SUV.