MONDAY - Curious cruise to the Midlands in what, at first, seemed Europe’s ideal car, the Hyundai i20.
It’s big enough for a growing family, small enough for the city, simple to own and operate, beautifully built, protected by a better warranty than most first owners will ever need and entirely invisible to car thieves and motorway cops.
In short, it’s ideal for the many people who are a bit apprehensive about car ownership and whose priority is to make a sensible buying decision about their next car and avoid shelling out to keep it going.
Which is why, after starting to like the i20, I soon became frustrated with it. It did all the ordinary stuff perfectly, but when it came to having a zesty top end to the engine, or having seats that support you in corners, or dampers that could cope with a bad section of the Fosse Way – or doing anything at all out of the ordinary – it wasn’t at the races.
The big fault I see is with Hyundai’s philosophy. The company has built a huge and thriving business by being exceptionally ordinary. Driving the i20 is a bit like having a friend who could probably beat Usain Bolt over 100 metres – but chooses not to try. In my frustration, I keep thinking about a car with the soul of an Alfa Romeo, built with Hyundai quality and logic. It’d be the best in the world.
WEDNESDAY - Jaguar Land Rover’s latest excellent decision is to appoint Nick Rogers as engineering chief across its two marques, surely one of the plum jobs in the entire world industry. Apart from being an exceptionally nice guy and the owner of a Land Rover Series 1, 47-year-old Rogers has worked at Land Rover for 31 years and his two most recent new models are the current Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. What more credentials could a bloke need?