It’s funny what you discover when you do a really long journey in a car. Last week, as part of our Ford Focus triple test (read about it in this week’s mag), I had to drive a VW Golf GT TDi down to Nice, a journey of almost 900 miles, done in a day and a bit.

Four hundred miles of that journey were in driving rain, but even so I was less exhausted than I thought I’d be, and I was impressed at how well a humble family hatchback coped with such a mammoth trek. At least I was until I did the return journey (all in one day this time) in the Hyundai i30.

The Hyundai is a car that simply gets all the things that are important for a long journey just right. It’s quieter, smoother sounding and smoother riding than the Golf. It also has a better stereo, with a properly integrated iPod connection (a must on any long journey, if you ask me).

No, the Hyundai doesn’t look as classy, or go round corners as effectively, as the Golf. But on a long journey you just don’t care. Call me a dullard, call me a sell-out, call me old before my time, but I’d choose the Hyundai for a transcontinental schlep every single time.

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