THERE’S a line in the song Golddigger, which topped the charts a few years ago for Kanye West, which says of a American footballer who gets taken to the cleaners by his ex-girlfriend:
“Wins the Superbowl on a Sunday, then drives off in a Hyundai.”
As well as some dubious rhyming, it illustrates the status of the company in many minds, not just rappers with emotional problems Understandably any company which is perceived as budget and wants to move up the ranks, and Hyundai is no different.
Which brings us to the ix35, the company’s entry in the crossover market. In real terms the ix35 is a replacement for the Tucson, which was beginning to show its age, but is actually a little bigger.
The company is marketing it as a combination of SUV; family car and a hatchback, with loads of high-tech stuff as standard but for a much cheaper price than its competitors.
They’ve massively improved on the Tucson. The designers have produced a stylish SUV; with simple lines and a real presence.
It looks like a car which would make a much bigger dent in your wallet, with obvious similarities to the Qashqai and even Lexus’s luxury Rx450h.
It looks powerful yet sleek and as there are so few on the road at the moment – it only went on sale in March – it’s guaranteed to get a second look.
Inside, too, the designers are punching well above their weight. The stylish interior would be at home in a more expensive motor.
True, the materials aren’t the most luxurious to the touch, but everything’s unfussy, with some nice touches such as overhanging ledges above the dials, which take their design cues from motorcycle gauges.
The seats are big and comfortable and visibility all round is great, despite the small rear and side windows. The high seating position, on top of the height of the car, ensures you get a good awareness of what’s around. There’s loads of room front and back for heads and legs and although not as big as many conventional SUVs it’s wide, which adds to the overall feeling of space.
There’s a good-shaped boot without a lip, which means you can just slide your stuff in rather than having to hoist it over a ledge, and the seats fold to give
There are two versions available at the moment – a 2-litre petrol version, which I tested, and a 2-litre turbo diesel – although smaller diesel and petrol engines are expected to be on the market towards the end of the year.
The petrol version packs a decent enough punch but begins to run out of steam mid range.
It’s not terribly underpowered but I would have liked a little extra push when the revs were low in higher gears. If you miss a gear change, you can really feel a lack of thrust.
But it’s nippy enough off the starting blocks, and will comfortably cruise at motorway speeds. It can handle the school run as easily as long journeys. The
gearbox is crisp and steering is nicely weighted, if a little on the light side.
The diesel has picked up a bit of criticism for noise at speeds but I had no complaints about the petrol engine. It purred nicely at idling and remained
well-behaved right through the gears.
There was a little road noise but nothing too intrusive. A well-used advertising
technique uses astonishment at how cheap a brand really is – a German company is using a TV campaign even as we speak – but in this case it would be apt.
I was genuinely amazed when, after driving the ix35 for a couple of days, I re-checked the particulars and read the price tag.
Because the ix35 starts at £16,495, a price that makes it a real alternative to a family looking for a saloon or even a hatchback.
My test car did appear to be a little on the thirsty side, though, and the official figures are stated as a combined 37.7 miles a gallon. If you’re using it on the urban run you’re only going to get around 29 mpg out of the ix35.
Hyundai have gone all out to pack the car with hi-tech equipment and for the price you get a huge amount. As standard you get alloy wheels, airbags, air con, all bluettooth gizmos, hill start help, fog lights, great quaility stereo
and much more.
For that kind of money, you get a classy looking car which is a real alternative for those seeking something different to a family saloon or a hatchback.
Hyundai have made great inroads into producing a quality car at a great price.
It probably still won’t appeal to bling-encrusted rappers but hey … who knows.