It has been an irritating fate of my motoring journalism career that if plans involved long distances I would be driving a city car rather than a big, comfy motorway cruiser.
So, faced with treks to London and Leeds it was little surprise the fates decreed my road test car would be a Hyundai i10.
Now, I am old enough to remember Hyundais like the Getz and Atoz and jokes like gets much worse and won£€™t go from A to Z.
They looked awful and weren£€™t fun to drive, but 13 or so years later they are still around for £800 to £1,200 so South Korean build quality was obviously pretty bullet proof.
The i10, priced from £8,895 on the road is a much swisher device but the shock is that it is one of the very best small cars out there.
It£€™s a genuine five stars out of five car and demonstrates vividly the progress made by Hyundai over the years.
The 1-litre three-cylinder 65bhp engine is a sweet unit and gutsy enough for trundling round town or doing short hops, but for longer hauls you need the, err, big gun, the 86bhp four-cylinder 1.2 litre.
In small cars you used to have to shout to communicate but the i10 is remarkably quiet and refined with very little wind or road noise when cruising on motorways.
The styling still isn£€™t memorable but it is sharper and the cabin light and modern and not too downmarket though some plastics are low cost.
The dashboard is available in a variety of colours and the instruments and controls easy to understand without spending ages with the hand book.
There are good, big seats with enough space for four 6ft adults and because of the amount of space you feel as if you are driving a bigger car from a class size higher.
Boot volume is good by class averages but there is a high sill to lift bags over.
Folding the rear seats raises volume considerably from 252 litres to more than 1,000.
Visibility is excellent and parking is easy thanks to a tight turning circle, both features which reduce everyday driving stress, and the ride supple.
Body roll does not get extreme if you tackle corners with g-force building enthusiasm.
Under these conditions more £€˜feel£€™ through the light and slightly vague steering would be appreciated but the i10 isn£€™t meant to be a sports car.
Performance, lightly laden, was perfectly acceptable and speed can really build up on motorways once you get into fifth gear.
It£€™s not fast off the mark but you get used to allowing for that, so overall it£€™s good to drive.
The engine sounds quite rorty and needs some revs.
You have to work the gearbox – the change action is okay – to get the best out of it as you would expect.
In theory the 1-litre is more economical but most of us I suspect would use it harder than the 1.2 and so get worse fuel consumption.
We managed 43 to 45mpg with a light load.
The entry-level S trim provides central door locking, electric front windows,£ a CD player, trip computer and a USB socket.
The S Air version adds air-conditioning but SE is better for not that much more.
You then get air-con, remote central locking, electric rear windows, driver£€™s seat-height adjustment and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors.
Premium trim dresses the car with alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, leather steering wheel and Bluetooth phone connection.
Hyundai backs up the car with an unlimited mileage five-year warranty.
Verdict Great little car for the money