Elsewhere on the website you'll find a Road Test of the Chevrolet Spark, Chevy's all-new city car.

A simple car. Straightforward to assess, you'd think. It's nearly all about objectivity at this level. .

Even so, very few cars in my memory have given us such cause for debate about our verdict on them.

What's unusual for Autocar, and unique in my time on the mag, is that the Spark is a new, fresh-from-the-box product to which we've given a lowly two-star rating.

I believe it's the right verdict. During the past year we've tried to make more of our star ratings - to stop being afraid to open up low scores to poorer cars.

Usually, though, it's older cars that fail to paint in the higher stars. So I'm sad the Spark is among them.

A hell of a lot of hard work went into this car. It rides and handles competently. It's roomy enough. The people who engineered and built it did so in the best faith; they made the wisest, most prudent decisions they could; and I have too little knowledge about the constraints their time and budget placed on them.

Hence our consternation. Maybe it's worth an extra half star, we pondered?

Thing is, though, Autocar (as all motoring mags should) reports to its readers, not the industry, and the Spark is a car we could never imagine recommending to somebody.

An examination of the trim, a look at the price list or a listen to the engine is telling. To experience the Hyundai i10 is to seal any doubt: the Spark is off the pace.

But I'm sad that I'm content that we've reached the right verdict.