Why the comparison?
Neither the Hyundai ix35 nor the Skoda Yeti necessarily move the game forward from the car they've basically copied, the Nissan Qashqai, but they're both very good family cars.
But the reason for comparing these two models specifically is that they cater for the crossover market in a very similar way. Both are petrol engined, neither has a 4x4 drivetrain, and both are very good value.
How are they similar?
On paper these two cars offer very little enticement: they both look like SUVs but are useless off-road because they're front-wheel drive; they're both made by companies of a budget persuasion, but are actually quite expensive; they're both petrol-powered, so their mpg ratings are relatively poor. The Yeti musters up 41.5mpg from its 120bhp 1.4-litre TSI unit, and the Hyundai 44.1mpg from a 133bhp 1.6-litre.
You could expect a diesel to offer 10mpg more, but don't take that at face value, because most drivers won't see that benefit in the real world: diesel is considerably more per litre and the cost of buying the car is higher too.
Both have the sort of space that will easily accommodate a family of four with two young children, although the bulkier Hyundai has the better boot space.
How do they differ?
They differ in a few very significant ways, actually, and ways that make one of them far more convincing than the other. First off there's the way they drive. Both ditch a 4x4 setup to save weight - because, let's face it, how many family buyers really need four-wheel drive - but in the Hyundai's case it has a marked negative effect on the stability of the car.
The Yeti, on the other hand, is as good as - and in some cases better than - a traditional family hatchback from a driving point of view. Its planted yet comfortable ride, weighty steering and relative lack of body roll make it feel a lot smaller than it actually is.
Neither car is particularly quick, but the Skoda's turbocharged engine has more pulling power, so it feels more flexible, and sounds better.
So which one would we have?
From an aesthetic point of view, we appreciate that many will prefer the Hyundai; where the Skoda is boxy and styled so as to be different, the ix35 has a deliberately rakish quality about it. However, the Korean simply cannot match the Skoda's interior quality or intuitiveness.
For outright space, and more conventionally attractive styling, the Hyundai just edges it, but we'd take the Yeti every time. It's not just that it's far more involving to drive, but it's also better built and better performing (despite less power). Touches like the flexible, removable seats and bag hooks in the boot seal the deal for us.