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.