I was trying to buy a new suit during the past week or so but I gave up, temporarily, because a family member wasn't convinced it worked. By the time you read this, I should have one sorted.
But the exercise, apart from reinforcing how dreadfully stressful I find this kind of shopping, reminded me of how subjective purchasing such items can be.
Of course a car costs a lot more than my soon-to-be-acquired three-piece, but I also know from a recent purchasing history how important a role the subjective can play: colour and cabin are far more important than is sometimes mentioned here.
I have had several cases this past year of simply liking a model based on the look and feel of the cabin.
I've also had occasion to not particularly like one for no other reason than the interior didn't suit my tastes.
I listen to passengers a lot; they offer a wide-source of feedback; sometimes we have to agree to disagree, but in the end, all I can do is report what I feel, see and assess as openly as I can.
And so it came to trying out the new i10 city car from Hyundai for size. Here's a car whose predecessors almost continuously topped the sales charts for the sector. Only now it is encountering unprecedented competition from a stack of rivals.
Yet, good and all as it was, they had to make substantial strides. How does it fare?
For starters its looks are smarter, sharper - put it down to the lowered roofline and tightened front design. I think colour plays a big part in its appeal, too; I'd go for something bright.
Given my criticism of the interior of its IONIQ electric stablemate I was wondering how the i10's cabin would look. Here's what I had to say in my test-drive notes after my second day: "Lots of room inside such a small car; excellent visibility, decent dash, good seating, nice feel to it."
Why dwell so much on an interior? Because little cars like this do a lot of urban driving and you've simply got to be comfortable and like your surroundings. I'm a fan of the Volkswagen up! for that reason.
I could criticise the extent of plastic in the i10's cabin - some of it a bit hard to the touch - but that goes with the territory in most small cars. Instrumentation is simple and clear, and when driven there was little or no road-noise intrusion: what more can you ask for?
I know the car and wheelbase are larger, but it is still an achievement to produce so much space without affecting the 252-litre boot.
The big surprise, however, came with its ability to cover motorway miles in lively fashion - as well as giving sprightly town drives, of course. It is a cliché but its general demeanour would not be out of place in a larger-category motor.
Overall, the level of sophistication is notable. I suppose the best way to put it is that you could be forgiven for thinking you were driving a bigger, costlier car.
For all that, I think I'd pass on the entry-level model (14in wheels) and go for the next trim level (Deluxe) which kicks off at €1,500 more.
My Deluxe+ with two-tone roof was quite smart. However, it costs €17,645. It's surprising, nonetheless, to see what they can pack into a small car these days: the trickle-down effects of larger-model technology are to be found at every turn. It used to take a decade for that to happen; now it takes a year or two.
But like everything else in this world, you get what you pay for. My advice is to put yourself in the position of a future buyer of the i10 (or any car for that matter) you might purchase this year. Will they want a basic motor? Probably not, if what I'm being told by other distributors is true. Will they want a top-of-range model? Yes, they will but most likely at a price that may not reflect what you paid extra for it as new.
I nearly always advise people to take a middle tier of spec. But go for whatever suits you; just take some time to compare and contrast within the i10 range and outside (rivals include the Toyota Aygo, KIA Picanto, Volkswagen up!, Peugeot 108, Citroën C1, Škoda Citigo, SEAT Mii, FIAT 500, etc).
And so to the inevitable question: would I buy it? Yes, I would for sure. It is more than a functional city car that made getting around clogged streets a lot easier. It had a bit of its own driving appeal thanks to being nicely sprung and benefiting from plenty of pep thanks to a fine little 1-litre petrol engine.
Like a good suit I think it's a car that would fit me down to the ground.
Hyundai i10 city car:
1-litre 3cyl petrol, 67PS, 5spd manual, €190 tax. Prices from €14,745 (i10 Classic). Car tested (Deluxe Plus/2-tone roof) €17,645. Standard spec includes 14in wheels, auto light control, cruise control, front electric windows, rear spoiler. Deluxe Plus adds rear electric windows, 8in touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, wireless charger, rear-view camera, 15in alloys.