Sometimes, the way you feel about a car has less to do with the actual vehicle and more to do with what came before it. My brother loved his Renault Laguna because even a milk float would have been an improvement on his Ford Orion. And there's no doubt the way I felt about the ix35 was influenced by the three-day loan of a Rolls-Royce Phantom which came before it.
But if you think the Hyundai came out badly compared to a £300,000 supercar, you'd be wrong. The Phantom is a masterpiece but it was deliberately not packed with technology, which makes the ix35, with its electronic stability control, Bluetooth connection, heated seats, heated electric door mirrors with LED side indicators, feel like Star Trek's Enterprise. Indeed, my £19,450 ix35 came with the kind of technology you'd expect in a BMW that has had £19,450 worth of options added to it.
And you can take the ix35 anywhere. Supercars are great fun, but there are anxieties associated with driving a vehicle worth more than your house: certain places you can't drive (Walsall); certain things you can't do (navigate tight country lanes); a certain diligence that creeps into your driving style (you avoid cutting in front of people). In comparison, driving the Hyundai was a liberation: I didn't worry when my nieces covered the back seats with crisps; and for the first few hours at least I threw it around as you might a supermarket trolley.
The excitement started to fade when I was stopped by the police for 'braking too sharply'. Then I became aware of the car's performance. If driving the Roller feels like being in an infinitely powerful jet, the ix35 feels like piloting a toy remote control helicopter. It is rather anaemic. Also I missed the sound proofing. There can be an 80 mph gale blowing and inside the Phantom it feels like the Rare Books section of the British Library. By contrast, you can be pootling down a country lane and the rattling and engine noise inside the Hyundai will make it feel like you are driving through a hurricane. The press material for the ix35 says it has 'coupe looks, SUV style, MPV practicality, hatchback costs'. Unfortunately, it also has the acoustics of a Ford Transit.
3 OUT OF 5
Hyundai ix35 1.7 CRDi 2WD Premium
Engine: 1,685 cc, 4-cylinder diesel
Power: 114 bhp @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 192 lb/ft @ 1,250 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel consumption: 48.7 mpg (combined cycle)
CO2 emissions: 139 g/km
0-60 mph: 12.4 seconds
Top speed: 108 mph (limited)