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Hyundai iX35 2.0 CRDi Premium 4WD

Click to view picture gallery“Hyundai’s iX35 five-door compact
  crossover SUV is a strong sales
  proposition for customers now
  bringing forward their new car buying
  plans to beat the forthcoming VAT
  increase...”


HYUNDAI TOPPED THE SCRAPPAGE SCHEME SALES league with 45,700 sales against Ford
's 44,457. In third place was Kia Hyundai's associated Korean brand who achieved 33,444 Scrappage customers. But with the Scrappage Scheme now ended, it's the increase in VAT in January 2011 that is fuelling the rush to buy in the remainder of this year to beat the tax increase.

Most of these 'buy new now' customers will be wanting to exchange their larger and more expensive cars for a new one but, in the majority of cases, due to the pressure of the family budget it will be one that doesn't cost a fortune to run while still meeting all their motoring needs.

For these customers Hyundai's iX35 five-door compact crossover SUV has to be a strong sales proposition. We UK motorists like our SUV-styled vehicles; we like the style, image, passenger and load carrying versatility and, remembering what the last two winters have been like for severe weather, the option of two- or four-wheel drive.

The iX35 is a competitor to the likes of the market-leading Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and the new Mitsubishi ASX crossover models. Currently, the iX35 is available with the choice of 2.0-litre petrol (161bhp) and turbodiesel (134bhp) engines. Prices currently start from 16,495 but smaller capacity petrol and diesel powerplants plus an automatic transmission option will be added to the model line-up later this year. These in particular will appeal to retail buyers where the purchase price is important, and to business customers where the tax liability is competitively low.

I have just had a short refresher drive in the iX35, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel version — the main seller at this stage and with the four-wheel drive option, which adds a 1,000 to the price over two-wheel drive diesel models (the petrol version only comes with two-wheel drive). I personally would always opt for all-wheel drive, but then I live in the country and need to be mobile in spite of the worst road conditions that Winter can throw at us.

“The 134bhp 2.0-litre
CRDi turbodiesel engine
is a gem; strong,
responsive and relatively
quiet and makes light
work of driving in town,
in the country or
for light off-roading
...”
There are two levels of specification on offer: Style and Premium. I had access to the diesel Premium model which carries the top price in the range — 20,745. But for many the perfectly adequate Style 4x4 version will be more attractive as it is priced at 18,995.

For company car drivers, the Benefit-in-Kind tax is 21 per cent for the Style version or 22 per cent for the Premium specification. Road tax for the Style with all-wheel drive is 125 a year and 155 for the Premium model.

Whichever iX35 model you choose the price is cheaper and the vehicle is better equipped than its rivals and, of course, the Hyundai five-year unlimited mileage warranty is a strong reason to buy. Residual values look good with diesel versions averaging 46 per cent retained value over the usual three-year/36K-mile period. For the record, high residuals are also good for lower PCP purchase plan and business contract hire rates.

With its European styling the iX35 looks thoroughly modern. It has the conventional five-door body layout and is 4.4m in length. Boot space is 591 litres with the folding rear seats in position; 1,436 litres with them folded down.

The equipment levels are high and include electrically-operated windows and door mirrors, air conditioning, Bluetooth, heated front and rear seats, a good sound system, stability control, downhill brake control and alloy wheels. The Premium specification adds 18-inch alloys, auto headlights and wipers, cruise control, heated windscreen, keyless entry with stop/start button, panoramic sunroof, part-leather upholstery and roof rails.

The 134bhp 2.0-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine (based on the 2.2-litre unit used in the larger Santa Fe SUV) is a gem; strong, responsive and relatively quiet and its 236lb ft of torque from 1,800rpm makes light work of driving in town, in the country or for light off-roading. It's fuel efficient too; officially it returns 47.9mpg on the combined cycle — 43.1mpg on my brief test driving on country lanes.

The interior styling is thoroughly modern but perhaps not of such a high quality as found in the Peugeot 3008. The ride comfort is generally good but uneven roads and poor surfaces will unsettle the vehicle.

Overall the iX35 is not as polished as some in the sector but is does score well on value for money, its seating and load carrying practicality (it will also tow a braked 2,000kg) and it's easy on the pocket. Plus it's also good on the eye! — David Miles

Hyundai iX35 2.0 CRDi Premium 4WD | 20,745
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 43.1mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 154g/km