Value has been the whole raison d’être for Hyundai pretty much since its inception. The brand knows its customers want more for less, more or less, and are quite prepared to look past conventional badge-snobbery to get it.
Tow car users are precisely the sort of people that Hyundais are aimed at, because the idea of purchasing a strong, practical, reliable vehicle that has all you need, and little of what you don’t, appeals to all of us. That’s why the ix35 makes such a strong case as a tow car.
For a start, its engine range has diesel as the towing-friendly predominant fuel. Initially, there was a 132bhp 2.0-litre model with either two- or four-wheel drive, and a 159bhp 1.7-litre diesel, which was offered as a two-wheel-drive model.
Around the same time, a 168bhp 1.6-litre petrol also came onto the market.
The 2.0 CRDI diesel is the way to go, because it offers the ideal blend of strength and economy, and of course, the availability of four-wheel drive – perfect for those tricky manoeuvres on slippery ground.
Something else to bear in mind is the five-year warranty that the car had when new. Later examples will still have some of this remaining.
As mentioned, the best model for tow car buyers is the 2.0 CRDi, because its 132bhp makes it punchy for towing a hefty trailer, and it also has an official average economy figure of 47.9mpg.
Although the ix35 is never going to set the performance world alight, it has enough get up and go to take the stress out of your journeys, solo or hitched. Just as long as the driver is prepared to look ahead and change down when a hill is encountered.
The rest of the driving experience is all a bit average, because the suspension allows the body to roll around too much, either during cornering or sudden lane-change manoeuvres. The steering is inconsistent in its responses, because it’s sharp when you initially turn from the straight-ahead, but slow thereafter. This means it feels sharp when you’re simply changing lanes, but requires a fair bit more arm-twirling when you’re negotiating urban streets. Two-wheel drive versions could also do with gripping a little harder in bends, although the four-wheel-drive models are better.
Most sources of noise are kept well and truly in the background, no matter what your speed, although the worst bumps do tend to cause a few suspension thumps.
Meanwhile, the brakes are strong and smooth, although the handbrake will require a bit of a tug to hold the car and trailer stationary on a slope.
Boot space is bigger than average, and the floor is at the same level as the lip, so it’s easy to slide things in and out.
Returning to the value theme that is the underlying ethos of the Hyundai brand, all ix35s are stacked with standard equipment. Even entry-level Style models are fitted with air-conditioning, heated front and rear seats, Bluetooth with voice control, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, a cooled glovebox and a leather steering wheel and gearknob.
Step up to Premium for a Panoramic sunroof, larger alloys, automatic headlights, cruise control and a windscreen wiper de-icer, among many other things.
As for servicing costs: as you might expect, they’re pretty minimal. According to Servicing Stop, an interim service on your ix35 should set you back a relatively paltry £71, and a full service will be just £104, which are bargain prices in anyone’s book.
The good news is that whichever ix35 you buy, you can expect it to be reliable, because the car has been the subject of just two recalls throughout its life.
First, it was recalled in 2014 because it was found that the seatbelt pre-tensioner could fail to operate in an accident. A total of 4282 vehicles were affected.
Next up was a recall on 132bhp 2.0 CRDi models for a possible leak where a fuel feed pipe met the fuel pump.
As ever, before you buy, make sure that any necessary work has been carried out by the previous owner.
When inspecting an ix35, there are a few things to look out for. Chief among these is ensuring the car hasn’t been taken off-road, and suffered any rock damage.
The driver’s seat on higher-mileage vehicles can also show signs of wear, simply from people getting into and out of the car. Also, take time to ensure the electrics work as they should, and inspect the car closely to see if it has suffered urban damage, such as kerbed alloy wheels and parking scuffs on bumpers and doors. These are all valuable negotiating tools when you’re bartering on price. Obviously, at the very least, it’s also well worth taking along someone who knows one end of a spanner from the other to thoroughly check over the car. Even better, shell out a little bit of money and you could have a full inspection carried out by the professionals, such as the AA or the RAC. It’s well worth it for the peace of mind.
If you’re after a car that offers real driving pleasure and look-at-me style, then move along. Nothing to see here.
However, if you need an unobtrusive tow car that will quietly get on with taking you where you need to be with little fuss, all the while surrounding you in a vast array of standard equipment, then an ix35 could well be all the vehicle you’ll ever need. And if you can stretch to a later model, it will still be under warranty.
Hyundai ix35: Need to know
How much? £5000-£11,500
A budget of around £3300 will net you one of the earlier ix35s, with the preferred diesel or less-favoured petrol engine, but the mileage is liable to be pretty high. It’s a bit of a step, but increase the money you spend to £6500 and you’ll end up with a younger car displaying a five-figure mileage. It’s likely to be in better condition, but the new-car warranty will have lapsed.
However, if you have some £12,000 burning a hole, you can expect to get a high-spec, late-model car with a low mileage and some warranty intact. It’s also likely to be in good nick.
What will it tow?
- Kerbweight 1679kg
- Towing limit 2000kg
- Noseweight limit 80kg
- 85% match 1427kg
- Witter flange towbar £163.80
- Witter detachable towbar £272.63
- Fitting extra (from www.pfjones.co.uk)
What about servicing?
- Interim service £71.16
- Full service £104.35
- (Prices supplied by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262)
The good and the not so good
Top tug: 2.0 CRDI Premium
The strongest engine; look out for a four-wheel drive to solve traction issues of the two-wheel-drive model
Barge pole: 1.6 GDI Style
This engine has plenty of power but misses the torque of the big diesel, so you end up working it harder
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We love that even entry-level models come with air-con, heated front and rear seats, Bluetooth, cooled glovebox, and leather steering wheel and gearknob