It is in this area that the Hyundai ix35 makes the most persuasive case for itself. Interior finish is good, and the cabin is seemingly constructed with such precision and wise choice of materials that you barely notice that hardly any of them are soft to the touch.
Equipment levels are excellent, too. The standard equipment on our top-spec Premium model is class-leading, by some margin. Heated front and rear seats, ESP stability control, Bluetooth, panoramic glass sunroof, part-leather interior, rear parking sensors and automatic wipers and headlights are all included. The only reason to add options to a Premium model is if you want sat-nav, metallic paint or a full leather interior. Even the base Style models have a comprehensive kit list.
Our test car came with the £800 media pack, which brings with it a colour touchscreen sat-nav and rear parking camera. Even without this option, the ix35 is a pleasant place to be, but it helps to make the interior feel high-class and cosseting.
The main interface is clear and usable, and all the switchgear feels solid and falls to hand easily. The driving position is good, and even though a broader range of adjustment would be welcome – particularly on how low you can set the driver’s seat – most people will find it comfortable.
Unfortunately, visibility is distinctly average all round. Large A- and B-pillars plus a high, narrow rear windscreen restrict vision. Large door mirrors help, but the ix35 still lacks the glassy, airy feel and all-round visibility offered by rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti.
Passenger space is plentiful, although rear passengers may feel a little claustrophobic because of the rising waistline and raked-back roofline, which restricts head room for tall rear passengers. Boot space is very good, at 591 litres with the seats up. That beats the 540 litres offered by the Audi Q5 and embarrasses the Ford Kuga’s 360 litres. It is not the most practical load-carrier, though, because the fixed squab of the 60/40 rear seats prevents them from folding anywhere near flat.