You can tell that the designers of the Hyundai ix35 have thought carefully about how families use cars by the number and size of the storage spaces in the cabin. There are big cubby holes under the centre arm rest and in front of the gear lever, door bins that can hold drink bottles, cup holders in the centre console and a glovebox big enough to put things in (rather than just a storage space for the owners manual).
The tall body makes getting in and out easy, and there’s plenty of space in the front. It’s more cramped in the back, with limited head and leg room, but for kids it’s fine.
Three engines are available, a 1.6-litre petrol unit with 133bhp and two diesels – a 114bhp 1.7-litre and a 134bhp 2.0-litre. The bigger of the two diesels has the optimum spec, offering the greatest performance and easiest driving with almost no fuel consumption penalty. But adding automatic transmission makes driving even easier at the expense of both speed and fuel economy, so before you opt for the (pricey) self-shifting gearbox make sure that’s a trade-off you are willing to accept.
On the move the Hyundai is happier smoothing out lumpy city streets than it is cruising along A-roads and motorways. At speed it fidgets over road imperfections, and there’s enough wind and road noise to make long journeys tiring. There are more refined cruisers around, but if your motoring is mostly confined to the town then the ix35 makes a useful and practical choice for the family.