Good value, well-judged dynamics and confusing market position

What is it?

This is the top-spec, four-wheel drive Hyundai ix35 Premium, complete with 134bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, six-speed manual gearbox and multiple market sector targets.

Although it is (intentionally) designed to look like an SUV, Hyundai wants to target the crossover segment whilst also taking sales from hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus by offering competitive pricing.

What’s it like?

High equipment levels - Bluetooth, heated seats and parking sensors - are standard even on the base trim and low price is key to the iX35's appeal, because in action it does everything well and nothing brilliantly.

The part-time four-wheel drive system is 100 per cent front wheel drive in normal conditions and can send up to 50 per cent of the power to the rear wheels if any slip is detected. This means that there is little compromise in emissions and economy for the extra driven wheels, and at just £1000 over the 2WD variant it's expected to be popular.

Having four-wheel drive does prevent loss of traction out of damp junctions, but otherwise makes little difference to the ix35's handling in normal circumstances, which is faithful to steering input and predictably will slide into understeer if pushed too hard, and tighten its line again if you come off the throttle.

Ride quality is firm, and can be choppy over undulating surfaces but it copes well enough on the usual rutted tarmac and rarely feels uncomfortable. The diesel engine is well suited to the ix35 and offers useful levels of performance but the noise intruding through the bulkhead into the cabin is very noticeable.

Should I buy one?

The ix35 is a tempting prospect thanks to its affordability, decent interior space and quality, as well as the sharp looks. But it is not a new niche, nor does it offer anything more than most other small SUVs excepting its benchmark running costs and list price.

It doesn't set new boundaries, but it does offer SUV style and ability at hatchback costs, which will be tempting enough for many.

Join the debate

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sierra 17 February 2011

Re: Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 4WD Premium

If it's any consolation you're in company with many more who been mislead:

hobsfino 17 February 2011

Re: Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 4WD Premium

You are right it is a gorgeous car however if can't get it, it doesn't matter how well spec'd it is or what the performance is like. I ordered mine in September last year (a model that had already been ordered from the factory in June) and was promised it at the latest by November 20th. Well I still don't have it. Beyond frustrated now as no one at Hyundai can give you a straight answer. A company the size they are don't seem to be able to work out what they are going to be building in a month before the middle of the month - not sure I believe that. Also they build in colour batches so if not enough people order the colour you want you could be waiting forever - as this car is only offered in 4 colours you might think they could make all of them but no! It was a joy to test drive and far outstripped all the other crossovers that I tried but if it never arrives then who cars about how nice it is.

dawesy 9 March 2010

Re: Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 4WD Premium

Has anyone thought about the Seat Freetrack in this mix as a comparison....Haldex System, 170 TDi Etc