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Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 2WD Style

Click to view picture gallery“Hyundais new 5-door, 5-seater
  ix35 crossover
— part SUV and part
  hatchback with a hint of MPV

the choice of 2WD or 4WD.
  And prices start at a v
  money £

THE IX35 HAS SUV STYLING with deeply sculptured body lines, sloping roof 'coupe' looks from the side and MPV practicality with its seating layout and large rear tailgate. At launch there is the choice of 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines; the petrol engine is available only with front-wheel drive and the diesel with two- or four-wheel traction.

There are two trim and equipment levels: Style and Premium plus Media and Individual option packs. Prices top out at 20,745. The likely best-selling model, the 2.0-litre CRDi diesel 2WD with Style trim — as tested here — costs 17,995. A 1.6-litre GDI direct injection petrol engine and a 1.7-litre CRDi diesel unit will join the line-up later this year as will a six-speed automatic transmission option.

Although more mature motorists have in the past been Hyundai's core customers, the modern styling and functionality the ix35 offers should certainly appeal to younger active families. The real key to this newcomer's success is the competitive pricing and the compact length and width, which is no more than an average C-Segment hatchback. But the Hyundai ix35 offers more load space (591-1,436 litres) than, say, a Ford C-Max MPV and the ix35 also has attractive and thoroughly modern good looks. And should you need to tow, the ix35 will pull a braked 2,000kg.

Projected residual values also look good. The 2.0-litre CRDi should, say Hyundai, return 43% after 3 years/30,000 miles — the highest in its segment, in fact, and 4,641 better than the Ford Focus 2.0-litre TDCi. Running costs are lower as well over a 3-year/60,000 mile period: just 1,290, which is a substantial 850 less than a Ford Kuga SUV and just 155 more than a Ford Fiesta supermini.

Obvious key rivals include the Nissan Qashqai — which is credited with starting this hatchback/SUV crossover segment — and the more traditional SUVs such as the Ford Kuga, VW Tiguan, and Toyota RAV4. But other competitors, from the hatchback/MPV segments, include the Ford Focus/C-Max, Vauxhall Astra/Zafira and Toyota Auris. Of course, the ix35 might just nip a few sales from Hyundai's own larger 4x4, the new 2.2-litre CRDi Santa Fe. The top priced ix35 model is very close to the price of the starter Santa Fe version.

The new ix35 is the right
size at the right price
and offers exceptional
value for money
So what do we get for the relatively low purchase cost? In short, a lot.

Style versions, available with a choice of petrol or diesel engines from 16,495, come with 17-inch alloy wheels, ESP electronic stability programme, air conditioning, active head restraints, Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, heated front and rear seats, downhill brake control, electric windows front and rear, electric heated door mirrors with integrated LED-type side repeaters, six airbags, glove compartment with cooling function, 'follow-me-home' headlamp function, Hillstart Assist Control, leather steering wheel and gearknob, remote central locking with alarm, steering wheel audio controls, stereo-radio CD with MP3 and iPod connectivity, reverse parking sensors and a trip computer.

Available in two- or four-wheel drive, but with the diesel engine only, Premium models start at 19,745 and add 18-inch alloys, a full-length panoramic glass sunroof, automatic headlights, chrome door handles and 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 Stop/Start button, rear privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, part-leather upholstery and smart roof rails.

Premium models can also be ordered with two option packs: the Media Pack provides a reverse parking camera, touchscreen satellite navigation and a seven-speaker stereo system with amp and woofer; the Individual Pack offers full leather upholstery in black or brown, an auto-dimming rear view mirror with compass and a SuperVision instrument cluster with bright blue lighting. The Media Pack costs 800; the Individual Pack 700 — and both are tremendous value compared to rivals.

The interior is light and airy, but the high waistline means that the side windows are fairly shallow and visibility to the front and rear quarters is limited so there are blindspots. The controls are logical and well positioned and the seating is generally comfortable. However, although the rear seat backs fold down, they don't quite go all the way to form a completely level load floor. But you do get exceptional value for money.

As for the ix35's 2.0-litre turbodiesel common-rail unit, it's based on the class-leading 2.2-litre CRDi diesel engine (which made its debut in the 2010 Santa Fe) and is Euro 5-compliant with 134bhp of power and 236lb ft of torque.

In two-wheel drive guise, the diesel delivers a combined fuel economy figure of 51.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 147g/km. My test car returned 37.8mpg driven over rural roads with no motorway cruising. Top speed is 113mph and 0-62mph takes 9.9 seconds.

The four-wheel drive diesel, using the same engine, is capable of 49.6mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 149g/km. My test drive in this version saw 33.2mpg, again for rural driving. The performance figures are 112mph and 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds.

Offered in two-wheel-drive only, the petrol-engined model makes use of a Euro 5-compliant 2.0-litre twin-cam unit with dual continually variable valve timing to deliver peak performance, economy and emissions. The all-alloy unit puts out a lively 161bhp of power — enough to get the car from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 114mph. Officially it returns 37.7mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 177g/km. My test drive figure was 29mpg but that did include Stop/Start commuter driving and in real life it should do better.

Both units, whilst not outstanding, are perfectly acceptable, quiet and refined and all that most customers will want. For the record, four-wheel drive versions use an on-demand system. Basically, in normal use the driving torque goes to the front wheels but a percentage of the power will automatically be transferred to the rear wheels when extra grip is needed on slippery surfaces or when towing. There is also a 'Lock Mode' that can be selected and this splits the torque equally between front and rear axles and can be used for speeds up to 25mph — for instance, off-road or in deep snow. There's also Downhill Brake Control which limits the car's speed on steep descents.

So, reasons to buy an ix35 include the good looks, it's the right size at the right price, high safety and equipment levels, long warranties and it's an emerging popular brand. Against: front/rear quarter blind spots and the ride comfort can at times be a bit on the harsh side but that's chiefly down to our potholed roads. All versions are sensible buys and make good financial sense; they're also rewarding to own and drive. — David Miles

Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi 2WD Style | 17,995
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 9.4 seconds | Overall test MPG: 37.8mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2: 147g/km