Hyundai ix35September 23, 2011
Model/Engine size: 1.7 CRDi 2WD – Manual Premium
Fuel economy combined: 54.3 mpg
Beating Spirit rating: 8/10
The Hyundai ix35 is available with a petrol or diesel engine, two or four-wheel drive, and manual or automatic transmission; all versions are efficient, but the two-wheel drive 1.7 CRDi manual is the most economical, returning 54.3 mpg.
This equates to emissions of 135 g/km CO2. However this is only possible with the option of ISG – Intelligent Stop and Go – which cuts the engine at standstill.
As a comparison, the 4WD version of the ix35, in Style trim, can manage 49.6 mpg, with emissions of 149 g/km CO2. This is not too far removed from the 2WD model, and was very near the top of the 4WD green class-leaders, but the new Range Rover Evoque has recently nudged ahead of it.
Even in 4WD form the ix35 is a soft-roader rather than an off-roader, but in two-wheel drive form it is definitely a road-oriented crossover. This is good news for the driving experience; we tested the ix35 along the same winding North Wales roads as the front-wheel drive Land Rover Freelander , and the difference in handling was remarkable. Whereas the Freelander felt as though it was almost rolling out of control when negotiating certain corners at high speed, the ix35 felt just like a normal car; in fact we’d go so far as to say it was fun to drive down winding roads, something that normally can’t said for cars with off-roading aspirations.
The handling of the Hyundai ix35 is helped by its advanced multi-link, fully independent suspension set up – which is a feature on all models. It also has Amplitude Selective Dampers (ASD), which combine the ability to deliver a smooth ride on poor surfaces with firmer control at higher speeds. There are rivals with a more cosseting ride, but it’s certainly acceptable for this price range.
In terms of performance, the 1.7-litre turbodiesel unit only has 114 bhp, so it’s not the most powerful of engines, and it can be quiet noisy when under pressure (added to this, there’s also a degree of wind noise). However it should be possible to achieving fuel economy of around 50 mpg in real-life driving.
In order to see if there was any benefit in having a two-wheel drive version of a car designed with the capability for four-wheel drive, part of our test was conducted through the Llandegla Mountain Biking Forest in North Wales. The forest includes loose and unevenly surfaced gravel roads, lots of hills, and a fair share of water and mud. The ix35 coped perfectly well overall, even in just front-wheel drive guise, and particularly with the main challenge of this environment – the area of ground clearance – when the raised ride height of the ix35 ensured that there was no grounding.
Increasing amounts of motorists like the raised driving position of crossovers, and if there is no significant fuel consumption penalty, as there isn’t in the ix35, and no old-fashioned 4×4 driving characteristics, then such cars are a viable, more attractive and more interesting alternative to MPVs. The exterior looks modern, and like a slightly more curvy version of a Ford Kuga.
Although the ix35 occupies a similar space on the road to a Ford Focus, it has good amounts of space inside, although it doesn’t have the clever packaging of some MPVs. The dashboard is attractive, and although there are crossovers with more luxurious interiors, levels of quality are good. As is the case with the styling of many modern cars, the rear side windows are so high that small children struggle to see out of them.
Two trim levels are on offer for the ix35 – Style and Premium; both have good levels of equipment. The entry-level Style model includes features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, ESP, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, heated front and rear seats, electric heated door mirrors with integrated LED-type side repeaters, leather steering wheel and gearstick, reverse parking sensors and a trip computer. Stop & Go (ISG) technology is available on some models as a £200 option.
The Premium model has 18-inch alloys standard on all models (excluding the 1.7 CRDi 2WD), a double-length panoramic glass sunroof, automatic headlights, chrome door handles, chrome interior trim, cruise control, dual zone climate control with humidity sensor and Ioniser, electric folding door mirrors, front windscreen wiper de-icer, keyless entry with engine start/stop button, rear privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, part-leather upholstery and roof rails, plus optional leather seats, touch-screen sat-nav and a reversing camera.
Our test car had lots of controls on the steering wheel, including for audio, phone and cruise control.
All models have Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones, heated seats for all passengers, and reverse parking sensors as standard.
Also, all models, even two-wheel drive versions, have Downhill Brake Control (DBC), which limits the car’s speed on steep descents. It allows the driver to maintain full control without needing to touch the brakes or hold the car in a low gear.
If you want a more powerful diesel engine then there’s the 2.0-litre CRDi unit, available with 2WD and 4WD, and this is the most popular powerplant in the ix35 line-up.
If you go for the 4WD version, it’s a single ratio 4WD system, with all of the engine’s torque going to the front wheels during normal driving, resulting in better overall fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Whenever a front wheel loses grip, a percentage of the car’s available torque is automatically transferred to the rear wheels to maintain forward motion. But if the driver wants to engage the 4WD system permanently, either in slippery conditions, or for greater traction when towing, ‘Lock Mode’ can be selected. This splits the torque equally between the ix35’s front and rear axles for better stability, up to a maximum speed of 25 mph.
All ix35’s come with Hyundai’s five-year warranty and a 10-year anti-perforation corrosion warranty.
Overall the Hyundai ix35 is a very capable car. It won’t give you any more traction in the snow, but if you fit it with winter tyres, then at least you’ll have a bit more ground clearance than the average car to plough through snowdrifts.
The key thing is that the ix35 looks like the sort of crossover that you’d be happy to have on your drive, and it drives as much like a car as a crossover can. It’s efficient and at £19,655 it offers good value for money. It therefore gets a Beating Spirit rating of an 8 out of 10.
The four-wheel drive version of any crossover makes more sense to us, as you’re always generally paying a price in terms of aerodynamics and a weight penalty, and therefore reduced fuel efficiency, by having a car designed for 4WD but without that capability. If you really do prefer the look of a pseudo-4WD car to an MPV or hatchback, then go for the 2WD ix35. Otherwise go for a normal car, unless you genuinely do have an active outdoor lifestyle or live in the hills, in which case get the ix35 with the proper 4WD functionality, as it’s still one of the more efficient 4x4s.
Fuel economy extra urban: 58.9 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 47.1 mpg
CO 2 emissions: 135 g/km
Green rating: VED band E – first year £0
Weight: 1537 Kg
Company car tax liability (2011/12): 20%
Insurance group: 14
Power: 114 bhp
Max speed: 108 mph
0-62mph: 12.4 seconds
Hyundai ix35 review, Hyundai ix35 road test
Read reviews of rivals:
See our Hyundai i10 review
Thanks to UPM Tilhill for use of Coed Llandegla Forest