Family life puts a big strain on the family car but these 7-seat used cars are well up to the challenge and great value too
Hyundai ix35: final report
Model: Hyundai ix35 Premium 2.0 CRDi 4WD
On fleet since: April 2010
Official combined mpg: 48.7mpg
Our economy this month: 36.6mpg
Performance: 0-62mph 11.3secs/112mph
Power/Torque: 134hp/236lb ft
Insurance group: 19 (on scale of 50)
List price: £20,745
Options fitted: Media pack, including sat nav, rear camera, uprated stereo (£700), metallic paint (£405)
Price as tested: £21,850
Pros: Compact dimensions, drives like a car, so easy to live with
Cons: Fuel economy, sat nav irritations, fuel tank says it's empty when it isn't
A whole year is up and our ix35 has been returned to Hyundai and onto an eager dealer still desperate to get hold of stock. Four-wheel drive diesels are still relatively hard to get so a used one like ours in great condition will probably fly off the forecourt.
What was great about it?
There's a long list. First we reckon it looks really good. That quirky surfacing to the bodywork grows on you, so much so that the sibling from Kia, the latest Sportage, looks uninspired in comparison.
On a day-to-day basis it's an extremely easy car to live with. The size isn't intimidating, and a tight turning circle combined with the optional rear view camera and proximity beepers make parking a doddle.
The Premium model gets lots of automation, including keyless entry and engine start which I rate highly, plus auto wipers and lights. Seat comfort is good all-round, those in the back enjoying the extra light from the panoramic sunroof.
I went for the standard seats in the Premium, with cloth centres and 'leather' bolsters, and didn't regret it for a moment. The full leather seats seem too firm in comparison.
We used the Hyundai for everything, from towing a hot air balloon to driving to Mallorca, with some lugging of my Lotus Elan twin-cam engine from time to time too. The ix35 soaked up everything we threw at it.
It coped with the snow just as we hoped it would, dragging up the hill from my house with the rear wheels chipping in when needed. The system has sufficient intelligence that there was rarely a need to select four-wheel drive manually.
What wasn't so great?
The fuel economy was a disappointment. We anticipated that the 30mpg from the initial tank was the result of a bit of towing and a tight engine. All would be cured with a couple of thousand miles under the belt.
Sure it did improve, but 36mpg was the norm and only once did we break 40mpg with some slightly suicidally pedantic driving. In winter it dropped back to 31mpg. Hyundai claims 49mpg on the combined cycle.
While realising that these figures are somewhat optimised, the fact we never got close to this - let alone the insane claim for 54.3mpg on the extra urban cycle - implies that the manufacturer has been somewhat 'creative' in its measurements. Hyundai is not alone.
We heard of Bluetooth problems with the ix35, though ours was fine. But the media pack - sat nav, rear camera and uprated stereo - sounds good value but didn't always live up to expectations.
The sat nav great 90 per cent of the time, irritating the remainder. It was, for example, always reverting to the default settings. So I had to switch off the voice commands afresh each time - half a dozen button presses - which drove me nuts.
So too did the way the sound for the stereo kept reverting to the 'flat' setting. As for the upgraded sound system, was it really fitted? Certainly the upper high frequency speakers seemed to emit no sound whosoever. And the media centre went into shutdown, days before the car went back.
Finally, we never actually got around to visiting a dealer, but we did have a couple of questions about the above issues and would have been prepared to visit if we could have made contact. Twice we got the answerphone at the service department of Coupers of St Albans. On neither occasion did we get a call back.
Oh, and the floor mats wore out. Twice.
Was it expensive to run?
We've discussed the fuel consumption issue already. It all depends on whether you think around 36mpg is OK for a compact four-wheel-drive crossover. I guess it's not bad but it's not good either.
Otherwise, with services required every 10,000 miles and a five-year warranty, the Hyundai ix35 won't be expensive to run compared with many rivals. Importantly the depreciation seems low at the moment too.
Would I recommend it to you?
Hmm.... Ok, I'll be honest, I did think about buying this particular car from Hyundai. Despite my reservations about the fuel economy and the sat nav issues, it suited our needs very well.
I was only put off by the fact that, after twelve months and 10,000 miles, it was apparently still worth 85% of the list price when it was new. No car can keep up that depreciation trajectory for very long, and I reckon that the market would shortly sort this out - to my personal cost.
What am I driving next?
I have already been driving an Audi A1 for a few months, a complete contrast to the ix35. But a Ford Kuga is on the horizon, a car that competes head on with the Hyundai.
Report 1: Hyundai ix35 arrival
Report 2: Hyundai ix35 goes ballooning
Report 3: Hyundai ix35 goes on holiday
Report 4: Hyundai ix35 off-roading in Mallorca
Report 5: Hyundai ix35 nips to the shops
Report 6: Hyundai ix35 goes biking
Report 7: Hyundai ix35 in the snow
Report 8: Hyundai ix35 final report (this report)
Review: Hyundai ix35
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