First, the good news. After 10 years, we've finally decided to wave goodbye to our VW Golf and move on up to an 11-month old Hyundai i20. It's like entering the space age will all the whizzy new tech they pack into cars these days, but ultimately it was the basics that swung the car our way over a brand new Dacia Sandero, which we also took for a test drive.
I'd been looking at the 0.9-litre turbo-charged version of the Sandero, but with none in stock (and none due until December apparently) we were forced to try the entry level 1.2-litre model instead. It was reasonably nippy in the low gears, but as soon as you hit fourth and tried to put your foot down it struggled and was clearly a poor second even to the 15-year old Golf. It left us feeling underwhelmed, but not surprised. As soon as I'd seen that the i20 was within our price range, I knew I'd have to try one.
And what an experience. Aside from the slick look and feature-packed interior, this car's 1.2-litre engine was streets ahead of the disappointing Sandero's. It exceeded the Golf for responsiveness, is much easier on the fuel consumption (£30 a year road tax? Thank you very much!) and was comfortable to drive for both of us, with plenty of adjustment options.
So the deposit has been paid on a stardust grey coloured model which is due to arrive on Monday. We'll take that for a test drive and give it the once over to confirm we're happy with it, then the excitement and waiting begins. Like all consumer purchases, it's the buzz of the buy and the impatience that's infectious - I swear I've not felt this kind of anticipation since I was a boy waiting for Christmas Day 1985 (ZX Spectrum+). It's nice to know that at age 41 the inner child is still in there somewhere, behind the greying hair and creaking knees!