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A Very British Country Road Trip With the Hyundai Kona

Friday 1 March 2019

I don't know about you, but I learnt to drive out of pure practicality. When you live in London you don't really think about driving as there is always a bus or a tube just a stone's throw away. But, when I moved out of central London 2 years ago to the commuter belt, I realised that I really needed to learn to drive simply just to get around. Driving for me had always been about necessity, and so I never really thought about going for just a nice drive. Now I realise, living in Oxfordshire, that there's a whole beautiful world in the UK just waiting to be explored.

Last week I test drove the new Hyundai Kona, which for me was very exciting as my car is, well, less than modern. It's a 15-year-old Ford Mondeo, which for all intents and purposes does the trick, but isn’t exactly a fun drive.

With a new zippy car coming my way I decided to explore my local area, going for lunch out and about and popping to see some friends - essentially to go on a country road trip for one! 

The first thing I noticed about the Hyundai Kona was the size. It’s an SUV, although more on the compact side of SUVs which was quite hilarious when I first got in - I felt so high off the ground! It doesn't look it, but it does have a noticeable difference to a classic car.

The Kona 4WD is the top spec model and comes with a great 1.6L Turbo which is super nippy round corners... let me tell you. It’s an automatic which, as a manual driver and someone who had never been in an automatic before, took some getting used to. However, once I got the hang of it it felt so, so easy to drive. When most of Oxfordshire is made up of winding country lanes (under the national speed limit of course), you need something nimble. 

So without further ado I was off on my grand adventure. 

If you haven't explored Oxfordshire much I would really recommend it. The towns of Chipping Norton, Woodstock and Great Tew are all so beautiful and postcard perfect. I was actually heading to Chipping Norton but first stopped at Blenheim for a quick tea break and a general nosey round, seeing as the weather was so gorgeous. Did you know Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title of palace?

I very much enjoyed the in-built Apple Car Play system, where I could hook up my music on the go. I also really liked the Head-Up Display as it was super simple to see my speed. 

Onwards with my journey I arrived at Chipping Norton, where I have to say, I think I did some of my finest parking ever. The in-built parking camera and sensors are so much easier than my manual way in my car.

Chipping Norton really is such a cute little English town. I mean, they have bunting! I spent the remainder of the day with friends, soaking up this crazy amount of sun we’ve had this February. 

Finally, as the light drew to a close, I headed home. I don’t usually like driving in the dark and as country roads are really fast I always fear sticking out too much and scraping an oncoming car. 

When I discovered the Lane Keeping Assist feature I was suddenly put at ease. It keeps you within the boundaries of the lane and gently nudges you back to centre if you veer a little. Now that’s cool!

Honestly, just how beautiful is Oxfordshire? I forget that I live so close to all of this. Which is something I'm sure we are all guilty of, not exploring our own towns and counties. 

Of course driving is hungry work and so, on my way home I found the cutest cafe and popped in for a spot of pancakes and coffee, because no road trip is complete without road-side food.

It's funny really, I’ve just never made a conscious effort to go out driving for the pleasure of driving before, and yet it honestly really changed my perception. I spent about 5 hours out and about and loved every moment of it. It’s taught me that I really should explore more, especially as it’s so beautiful out there. Sadly the Kona can’t stay with me, but my love of driving certainly will.

This post was sponsored by Hyundai UK, but all words, views and photography are my own.

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful is Chipping Norton?! And the Kona seems like a great little car!

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