I rang up the car hire company at about 9am on Monday to find out if they wanted the car back. It went something like…
9am: You've got until the 14th, but if your claim is settled then the hire will end two days after that. The insurance company hasn't informed us yet. We'll let you know.
9.45am: The insurance company has informed us they issued a payment on Thursday, so I'm afraid we have to terminate your hire from midnight tonight and you won't be insured to drive the car after that. (When do you want the car back then?) They'll probably call you tomorrow.
10.30am: What's the postcode where the car is located? (When are you intending to come?) Some time between 12 and 3 today. (Er, that's not really possible I'm at work.) OK, will you be in between 8 and 12 tomorrow?
Anyway, at 5am the next morning smallclanger was sick, so I had to keep him off school (although he was perfectly well the rest of the day) and worked at home. At 12:05 I was about to ring them to ask where they were when the doorbell rang and the car was duly taken away. smallclanger says "Can we get an i20?" It turns out the reason is while I was messing about looking at new i20s on a Hyundai web site he noticed that it said "USB and Aux connections" in the specs. He seems to be obsessed with USB at the moment, because I stuck a USB memory stick (freebie from an IT exhibition) in his Christmas stocking.
And the other thing that happened on Tuesday was two cheques arrived. They were both dated 10/1/2011, had been posted first class, and had consecutive numbers. So they were clearly printed and posted on Monday. Something a bit fishy going on there (I suspect it's that when they say "a cheque has been posted" they mean "the computer has been instructed to post a cheque" and they have no idea when it will actually come out of the system). So much for "payment issued on Thursday". But anyway, what's the point of having an insurance policy that offers a hire car if they are going to take it away again as soon as they think the claim is resolved? Since cheques take a day to arrive in the post and three days to clear, there is no way you'd have got a replacement car if you are relying on the insurance money to buy it.
I think the Autocar review is right. You buy the i20 because logic tells you it makes most sense, not because you always wanted to drive a Hyundai. However, you won't get more car for your money than the one I saw at the weekend (in fact it looks underpriced) and it comes with various kinds of gadgets that you won't get on a Corsa. And on balance it would be better not to spend the extra 1.5K.
Sadly, they sold that particular car on Monday. (Even though they added a photo to the listing on Tuesday.) So it's back to the hunt.