Review: Hyundai ix35

A sound second-hand buy

11 Jan 16 Tim Barnes-Clay

Pros

  • Lots of leg and headroom

  • Super safe

  • Low running costs

Cons

  • Firm ride

  • High emissions

  • Rivals are more exciting to drive

Our expert rating

Hyundai’s most recent ix35 model was produced by the South Korean car maker between 2010 and 2015. The ix35 is a compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), designed more for on-road driving than off-roading.

Even though it looks quite rugged, most ix35s come with two wheel drive rather than four wheel drive.

Performance

There is a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but diesel is the best if you cover lots of miles. The 2.0 litre diesel is the finest because it delivers low down ‘shove’, which you don’t tend to get with petrol power.

This model comes hooked up to a smooth six speed gearbox and actually does come with four wheel drive. It’s also economical and will do just under 50mpg on average. The tax band is reasonably low for such a big vehicle, too, so you can expect to pay £145 per year.

The 1.7 litre version is not bad either, but this diesel is without four wheel drive, so you won’t be doing any off-roading. And because it has less power in the engine, it does run out of breath, and overtaking takes more effort than with the 2.0 diesel.

If you really want to go for a petrol then there’s a 1.6 version and a 2.0 litre, which are quick enough but only do around 40mpg.

Hyundai ix35

Ride and handling

The Hyundai ix35 is very stable for an SUV because it has a refined suspension set-up. In essence, this means the car hardly leans on corners, so it makes easy work of meandering country lanes or long sweeping motorway bends.

The ix35 does sometimes suffer from a hard ride as a trade-off for its steadiness, but it’s never so bad that it feels uncomfortable. Indeed, the Hyundai manages to dismiss ruts in the roads fairly well and copes with any uneven surfaces when being driven at motorway speeds, or when moseying around town.

The 2.0 diesel’s four wheel drive is excellent for gripping tighter to the road in bad weather and it will cope with mucky fields and dirt tracks if you need to nip off road briefly, or if you live in a rural area.

The Hyundai ix35 made between 2010 and 2015 obtained a five star rating from EuroNCAP, so this car’s safety is top-notch. Equipment includes six airbags, ISOFIX child seat points, electronic stability control (ESC) and rear parking sensors.

Hyundai ix35 - interior

Interior space

There is enough space in the Hyundai ix35’s cabin for five-up. You can get three people in the rear, but the middle seat area is best suited for someone smaller, due to its limited breadth. Otherwise, seating is comfortable and supportive.

Legroom is good, and headroom is even better. Thanks to a towering roof, taller people can actually enjoy long commutes without feeling restricted. There are lots of stowage points peppered around and all of the materials in the interior feel hard-wearing enough to cope with a family.

This car is, in fact, an ideal family car. Move to the load area, and the boot is just as generous as the cabin. With the rear seats in position, there’s a big 591 litre boot just waiting to swallow a family’s luggage. If more needs to be crammed in, then, the seats can be folded almost flat to swell the volume to 1,436 litres.

The ix35 comes with lots of kit as standard, such as electric windows, air conditioning, heated seats and Bluetooth. However, if you want leather seats for ease of cleaning – or for just the added luxurious feel - then it’s the posh Premium version you’ll need to look for. 

Hyundai ix35 - side on

What to know before you buy

Just watch out for any knocks or scuffs from any over enthusiastic soft off-roading on the four wheel drive ix35s. Other than that, the power units and gearboxes are well tried out and are considered reliable.

Most gremlins that pop up will be covered by the outstanding time left on Hyundai’s five year warranty.

Hyundai ix35 - alternative

Alternative cars

The Hyundai ix35’s chief archenemies are the Nissan Qashqai and the Toyota RAV4. Both Japanese models are worthy in their own right as family cars, but the Nissan has no off-road acumen whatsoever, and its boot is smaller.

However, cabin space is similar and the Qashqai is better looking and makes a trendier family buy than the ix35. The Toyota RAV4’s load area seemingly lags slightly behind the ix35’s at 547 litres, but it does have an underfloor area of 100 litres – giving a potential 647 litres of storage space with the rear seats up. This beats the ix35’s 591 litres.

The RAV4 is not as appealing to look at as the ix35 or the Qashqai, but it does have an absolutely water-tight reputation for reliability and it’s capable of a bit of off-roading - as long as you don’t opt for the two-wheel drive version.

Overall verdict

The Hyundai ix35’s roominess, comfort, safety and stability makes it a very good main car for a family of five. Low running costs and a well attired cabin also add to its charm. It isn’t as sexy as a Nissan Qashqai, but it’s a solid vehicle that makes a sound secondhand buy.

Purchase a nearly-new one and the remainder of Hyundai’s standard five year warranty will add an extra layer of peace of mind.

Expert rating

Performance

Reliability

Space & comfort

Running costs

Value for money

Overall