We wanted this somewhat unorthodox review to appear to be a road safety campaign at its outset and, in the introduction, I was trying to do my most serious face combined with a strict tone of voice, which is hard at the best of times.
The theory we were posing is that all driver distraction, no matter what form it takes, is dangerous and should be avoided.
As the camera pulls back, it reveals the stunning surrounds of Waitangi and Wairoa Bay - which, theoretically should be one of the most distracting and therefore hazardous places you could drive, right?
How we shot the story
There can be few places in the world that threaten to tear your attention away from the road more than New Zealand’s north island, with constantly changing (but consistently dazzling) views around every corner.
The car I would attempt to focus on was Hyundai’s new Veloster flagship in NZ-spec 1.6T, which is the performance halo for now and is dubbed simply the Turbo in Australia.
My plan was to construct and rig the little 3+1-door hatchback with ‘equipment’ fashioned from readily available consumables you'll find at any auto store, thereby allowing me to see only the road ahead and concentrate on the fine art of car reviewing. Simple.
Except it wasn’t. The gear I hastily threw into the Hyundai was actually way more effective than I had expected and what was originally intended as a visual gag, turned into a very efficient method of blocking out way too much vision. Dangerous, in a word.
Even the view from the reverse camera is stunning in New Zealand
The vinyl wrap applied to the windscreen was about twice the depth of a sunshade and shortened the view of the sky down to just above the horizon.
The repurposed sunshades in the front windows - intended to protect children in the back seats - were largely irrelevant because my horse blinkers (manufactured from an old cardboard box taped to sunglasses) were 100-percent effective at cutting the view through each side window.
In short, my measures were ridiculously risky so out they came in favour of plan-B: self-discipline.
One of the few criticisms I could muster for the genuinely brilliant Veloster is that its driver assistance systems (particularly the lane-keep), are too intrusive on the freeway, but they probably had more relevance on the fantastic roads we found beyond Paihia when my neck uncontrollably craned to take in the views.
Ironically though, the solution for maintaining concentration on the road was Simple.
At speeds nearing the local limits, the Veloster was beautifully involving, alive and the only thing worthy of the driver’s attention.
To really hammer home the impact of New Zealand’s incredible scenery, we needed a breathtaking destination for this story, and vid-wizards JP and Josh did not disappoint.
It was a bit of a race against time with clouds rolling over the land and threatening to obscure the sun’s rays from a world-class lookout.
But we made it to the lookout over Matauri Bay (where Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was retired and repurposed as a reef) in the nick of time and, most importantly, got that stunning final shot.
After all the silly homemade counterproductive attempts and trying to avert my eyes from New Zealand’s unforgettable scenery, all I needed was to go a bit faster.
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at email@example.com.
Behind the scenes: Apocalyptic car comparison
How we shot the most chilling and obscure car review in recent television history
WhichCar season two in review
Our most memorable moments from the making of WhichCar season two
Stories behind the stories in our season-closing episode
A handful of memorable moments to farewell our second series of TV motoring Mecca