Classified as a compact SUV, the Hyundai ix35 began production in 2004, falling after the Veracruz and Santa Fe in the South Korean car manufacturer’s lineup. The first-generation ix35 was produced until 2009, while the second-generation model of the vehicle is still in production today. The second-generation ix35 was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 and took more than £147 million to develop in the course of 36 months. Essentially, the new ix35 was based off the ix-conic concept and was designed by Thomas Buerkle, a former BMW designer, at Hyundai’s design studio in Russelheim in Germany, guided by the “fluidic sculpture” styling language followed by the company.
While the Hyundai ix35 is officially a compact SUV, it should be treated more of as a crossover vehicle because it brings together the practicality of an MPV and the looks and abilities of an SUV while being affordable like a small hatchback. Just how affordable? A base-spec 2WD model starts at a little over £17k, while a top-spec 2.0 CRDi 4WD will cost around £25k. Not to mention that running costs are also quite good.
As the first vehicle to follow Hyundai’s fluidic design language, the ix35 does good work at being a real looker, thanks to its angular grille, tapering roofline and side windows that makes it reminiscent of a coupe, and sharply defined bonnet strakes and headlights that give it a character that’s more aggressive. It’s definitely a bold leap from Hyundais of before and it’s definitely in the right direction.
Inside, the ix35 is even more impressive, with better finish, precise construction, and good material choice. Equipment levels have also with improved, with a standard set for a top-spec model including heated front and back seats, Bluetooth connectivity, ESP stability control, panoramic glass sunroof, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, and part-leather interior. To improve upon a top-spec model even more, full leather interior, sat-nav, and metallic paint options are available.
Several engine options are available to allow consumers to choose whatever will address their needs the most. The most suitable for British roads and conditions would have to be the 114bhp 1.4-litre CRDi unit and the 133bhp 136-litre GDi engine. Engine noise goes down as you speed up even though harder effort is required. Fuel efficiency is decent enough at 47.9mpg for a 2.0-litre unit.
While it’s a good experience to be sitting inside a Hyundai ix35, looking out is a different matter. Visibility is pretty average no matter where you turn, with a high and narrow rear windscreen and big A- and B-pillars obstructing the view. Large door mirrors offer little help in improving visibility so the ix35 is left wanting in terms of offering an all-round airy feel.
It’s not necessarily bad but the electrically assisted steering system for the ix35 is peculiar, quick to respond to minute changes but eventually dulls when locked in place for a long time. As such, it’s easy to switch lanes on the motorway by just varying pressure on the steering wheel but it becomes troublesome when maintaining a longer curve.
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