We drove the 2.0-litre 4×4 version of the Hyundai ix35 last year. The less powerful 1.7-litre two-wheel-drive costs almost £3000 less. Is it better value? Not if you own a caravan weighing over 1300kg. That’s the legal towing limit, and a few kilos less than 85% of the car’s kerbweight.
To be honest, though, we wouldn’t want to pull more than 1300kg. We found that the ix35 tended to wander in crosswinds when towing, and inconsistent steering didn’t help the driver keep the car straight.
Despite poor stability in a straight line, the Hyundai coped reasonably well with the lane-change test, but the back of the car was pulled around by the van at higher speeds.
The ix35 gained ground in the hill-start test. So long as the handbrake was pulled firmly, the outfit held still. Given lots of revs it coped with the hill in first gear and reverse.
Even with its limitations, there’s no doubt that the Hyundai makes a practical tow car. Almost all the luggage went in the boot, there’s a full-size spare wheel and towing electrics are easy to access.
The ix35 is well equipped and cheaper than most rivals. Fuel economy of 48.7mpg should keep running costs down, too.