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Hyundai ix35 Premium 2.0 CRDi 4WD

Click to view picture gallery2012 was Hyundais best year ever
  in the UK since imports started thirty
  years ago, with 74,285 Hyundais
  sold here
a figure that puts them
  in the top ten sales chart...

WHILE THE HYUNDAI i10 city car has been their best-selling range in the UK, followed by the i30 line-up and then the i20 supermini models, the ix35 SUV/crossovers enjoyed a 58% increase in UK sales
with over 11,000 taking to UK roads.

So then, a good time to re-evaluate the ix35. These five-door, four/five-seater crossover/SUV models are priced from 17,400 to 25,185. Engine choices are: 133bhp 1.6 GDI petrol with manual transmission and front-wheel drive; 114bhp 1.7 CRDi diesel manual 2WD; and a pair of 2.0-litre CRDi diesel units (134bhp manual and 181bhp auto) with four-wheel drive.

Depending on the engine chosen there is the choice of Style and Premium levels of specification. The most popular ix35 model overall in 2012 was the 1.7 CRDi 2WD in Premium spec with the optional Media Pack —
this includes touchscreen SatNav, rear-view parking-assist camera and a seven-speaker sound system. This version costs 20,575 plus 1,100 for the Media Pack.

“The 4x4 system
in front-wheel drive —
until the system feels
the need to
automatically engage
the rear wheels
when traction is about
to be lost
Unfortunately the first serious snowfall of the Winter arrived just as Hyundai came to collect my ix35 test car — this model was the near-top-of-the-range 2.0-litre CRDi 4WD manual in Premium spec with the optional Media Pack plus metallic paint.

The total on-the-road cost of my test car was a hefty 25,320. I could suggest opting for the 1.7-litre CRDi 2WD Premium (the most popular version) at 20,575, but for me — a 'country dweller' — an SUV without 4WD seems somewhat pointless.

The ix35's 4x4 system operates mostly in front-wheel drive only —
until the system feels the need to automatically engage the rear wheels when traction is about to be lost. There's also a 4WD lock button which will keep the all-wheel drive permanently engaged for tough conditions on- or off-road. A hill descent control function controls speed and traction on steep hills, mainly for off-road work.

The 134bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine feels strong and is relatively quiet; not quite as hushed as the most modern European units but by no means intrusive. The official fuel consumption for the Combined Cycle is 47.9mpg but my week-long test drive, all of it on tarmacadam, resulted in a disappointing 37.6mpg overall and a best of 41.4mpg on a 70mph motorway 'cruise'. The 154g/km CO2 emissions mean road tax is 170 a year; company car drivers will pay 24% in Benefit-in-Kind tax. However, insurance is rated at a competitive 19E.

The ix35 is all about packaging. No longer than a conventional family hatchback, it provides 591 litres for luggage in the boot; with the split rear seats folded down you have a good-sized load area of 1,436 litres. Towing is also on the menu —
and the maximum braked towing weight is a useful 2,000kg.

Seating is roomy and comfortable, with good rear passenger legroom. The front seats on Premium models are heated, and all seats have leather facings.

“My week-long test drive,
all of it on tarmac,
resulted in 37.6mpg
overall with a ‘best’
of 41.4mpg for a 70mph
motorway ‘cruise’
The impressive packaging continues with standard-fit AirCon, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors, power windows (front and rear), heated windscreen, panoramic sunroof, privacy glass, keyless entry with push button start, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, hill start assist and, thankfully, a full-size spare wheel.

The road wheels are smart alloy 18-inchers which firm up the ride without spoiling it. Generally it's a comfortable SUV to travel in, with good visibility despite the chunky front A and rear C pillars.

Over poorer road surfaces the suspension can be a tad jittery, but in general it mopped up the worst of the potholes without too much complaint. The steering lacks feedback and has a strong self-centring tendency, but after a while you get accustomed to it.

Against? Top spec 4WD models are becoming expensive and the real-life fuel consumption didn't get close to the official figure (37.6 vs 47.9mpg).

However, that's easily overlooked given that the good-looking ix35 is so easy to drive and offers a good combination of high specification, ride comfort, driveability, 4WD —
and comes with a 5-year warranty package and a proper spare wheel!

Overall the Hyundai ix35 SUV is a very easy vehicle to live with —
it has pleasing styling and a well built cabin. It's no wonder it has seen a huge increase in UK sales and more people than ever are buying an ix35. And that alone speaks volumes for its appeal. — David Miles

Hyundai ix35 Premium 2.0 CRDi 4WD | 23,825
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds | Overall Test MPG: 37.6mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 154g/km