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Hyundai i20 Play

A thorough examination of my brain this morning reveals that I’m definitely weird.

I must be. I actually became so obsessed with the colour of the little Hyundai i20 I’d been testing that I started asking people what they thought of it.

Mrs Motormouth decided it was grey. My next door neighbour thought it was “lovely” but couldn’t say what it was.

My daughter said it was creamy white, then changed her mind to being “not sure.”

When I parked it at the golf club a couple of guys came over to me and said how much they liked it. Then one of them asked me what colour it was and I hadn’t got a clue.

My golf buddy Mo immediately said it was blue. Blue? I hadn’t even thought about that but, looking at it for the billionth time, I reckoned he was right.

As the time got nearer to the day when I had to hand it back my obsession with its colour grew to the stage where I actually asked someone at the Hyundai Press office what it was.

She didn’t know, but sent me the car’s spec sheet, which contained all the details about the car.

The colour was stated as “pearl”. Pearl? It couldn’t be. It was too grey, or blue, or whatever, to be pearl. That was when I went on to the Hyundai web site and downloaded an i20 brochure to get a proper answer. Did it help? Did it hell.

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So many colours were on offer it could have been almost anything so I set off for my nearest Hyundai dealer, 8.1 miles away, to get a definitive answer. I got there, parked right outside the showroom and asked the salesman while he was sitting at his desk.

“Oh that,” he said. “It’s the same as this one (in the showroom parked next to him). It’s Clean Slate.”

Hmm, that confused me. “But it’s blue,” I said. The reply was: “Well slate can be blue.” That shut me up.

Looking up pearl effect paint on the internet I discovered that it can change colour with the weather. Oh yeah. I remembered when me and Fred were driving an Alfa Romeo in Portugal and we came out of the coffee stop to find that the car had been nicked.

It took us 10 minutes to realise that it was exactly where we’d left it but had changed from red to green (or something like that) when it stopped raining.

Hey ho, whatever colour the i20 decided to be, I loved it. At £1,005 less than an SE model you still get 16in alloys, rear privacy glass, bigger, 7in, touch screen navigation, a DAB stereo with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, black gloss door mirror covers and cute-but-odd PLAY badges in strangely shaped letters on the door pillars.

That’s on top of Bluetooth, USB and aux, steering wheel radio and phone controls and a trip computer that all feature as standard on the SE model.

Choose from a 1.2-litre engine with 84hp or the car that Hyundai sent me, a startlingly good 998cc three cylinder unit with 100hp and 172Nm (127lb) of torque.

With so much more torque than its hp figure, it seems remarkably quick from the lights as 0-62mph comes up in 10.8s, but the i20 really impresses at the high end of its performance figures.

Top speed is a scary 117mph in such a small car, but it cruises effortlessly and quietly at 80mph, so I’m told, while turning over at just 2,900rpm, way short of its rpm gauge, which is red lined from 6,500-7,000rpm.

The i20 doesn’t just deliver out on the road, it’s surprisingly large on the inside, too.

You open the doors to a feeling of light and space, made brighter by big, supportive, light grey and black seats, a grey dashboard with mottled semi soft-touch trim, generous full length door pockets with built-in bottle holders, three open storage spaces and twin cup holders around the gear lever.

The rear seats are easily big enough for adults, with plenty of leg room, while the boot is 60cm deep (28in) stretching to near 150cm (5ft) with the rear seat backs folded down.

It’s a shame they don’t fold completely flat, instead leaving a 13cm (5in) high ledge in the way of long and flat items, but the i20 is such a pleasing little car it would be churlish to find fault with what is a common problem in so many cars.

It’s roomy, cheap to run and insure, well equipped, comes with a two-tone paint job, one of which is black and the other is, er, different and it falls into the category of what I call a happy car.

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IMAGE RATING

Hyundai i20 Play.

REAR MIRROR MONSTER: Headlights the size of an astronomer’s telescope and a grille that could have come from an Audi can’t stop this delightful little car being anything other than a non-threatening cutie.

BACKSIDE BEAUTY:  Extremely pretty, with huge 2ft 4in lights that curl from the sides into the hatch and left uncluttered with just three small badges.

PLAYTIME PLEASER:  Touch-screen sat nav, air con, cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking camera and sensors, trip computer, four electric windows, electric door mirrors with integrated indicators, auto headlights with high beam assist, DAB stereo with steering wheel and phone controls, Bluetooth, twin USB points, aux, Apple Car Play and Android Auto.

NAUGHTY NIGGLES: Space under the boot for a full size spare but don’t expect one. Instead the blow and go kit looks like a small box in a ship’s hold.

TASTY TOUCHES: Twin shopping bag hooks on each side of the boot are the required 18in (the size of a plastic bag) above the boot floor. Velcro boot straps are perfect for carrying a bottle of wine.

FAST OR LAST: Surprisingly quick and a superb long distance cruiser for its size.

WONGA WONDA: Excellent value. A lot of car for the cash.

WOULD CHANTELLE LIKE IT? Definitely. It’s too cute for Chantelle not to love.

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