Although many people go to mainland Europe to take on some exciting roads, the UK is home to some fantastic sections of tarmac.
England, Scotland and Wales all have great roads to offer, and at the wheel of Hyundai’s IONIQ Hybrid, we took on three of the best across three days and 823 miles from Portsmouth to Inverness.
Across the journey, the electrified IONIQ achieved a more than respectable 51.1mpg, with that including both twistier, more challenging roads and long motorway cruises.
Here is how this trip went, and find out which one was our favourite…
A4069 – Black Mountain Pass, Wales
This 21-mile stretch of road through the Western part of the Brecon Beacons National Park goes from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen to Llandovery, and was the first interesting road we tackled on our journey north. Due to a series of delays though, night had pretty much fallen by the time we reached the start of the pass and we needed to switch the full beams on to get up the route.
In the low light, it was a test of steel to push the IONIQ Hybrid to its limit, and as the road climbed, the drops to the side got ever steeper. It was like going on a roller coaster in almost complete darkness. But we pushed on and tested the Hyundai round the sharp corners and along the bumpy surface – putting the model well out of its comfort zone.
When in Sport mode, the IONIQ was able to get out of the corners rather well, while it managed to grip onto the damp roads as we kept driving to the edge. But as we climbed, the fog closed in, meaning we had to abandon any attempt of vigorous driving so we could get to our overnight halt safely. It was a shame, as if we had arrived a bit earlier when the sun was shining, we think this could have been a great road to tackle.
A686 – The Roof of England, England
After leaving Wales on our way north, we arrived at ‘The Roof of England’ at about 1pm – a stretch of road running through the stone-walled fields of the North Pennines. Although the weather still wasn’t perfect and the road was quite damp, the conditions were much better and we were able to tackle the A686 head on.
But we soon realised that the Hyundai was much better suited to cruising through this stark yet beautiful landscape, rather than going full pelt and not enjoying the snow-sprinkled surroundings. The 37-mile route to the village of Haydon Bridge allowed us to get a good idea of how the IONIQ was in smoother driving, and it coped very well, soaking up most of the road’s bumps and let us relax on this longer stretch of road.See Available IONIQ Deals
A82 – Loch Lomond to Loch Ness, Scotland
We weren’t finished travelling north though, as our 800-mile trip came to an end in the Scottish Highlands. The A82 is a 140-mile road that takes in Loch Lomond and Loch Ness before finishing at Inverness. Of the three roads we visited, this one was the prettiest – with mountains and large expanses of water on either side of the route.
However pretty the scenery and however good the road, though, there’s always one thing that can ruin a driving experience – traffic. With lorries, buses and slow-moving cars abundant on the road, matched with the Hyundai’s lack of kick, overtaking was a tricky exercise.
But despite other road users getting in the way of really testing this road, the A82 bowled us over with its twists and turns through some jaw-dropping scenery.
Upon reaching our final destination at Inverness Airport, we had a chance to consider which one of the three routes was our favourite.
Due to the extreme weather we encountered, we had to put the Black Mountain Pass in third – but it could have been further up on any other day. And with the large amount of traffic befalling us, the A82 was second, even though the scenery was amazing.
So our favourite was The Roof of England, thanks to its amazing and stark landscape matched to the exciting road running through it.
Although a much sportier car would have made the trip more exciting, the IONIQ was a great partner for the journey, as it was comfortable when it needed to be, and we were able to extract enough grip to attack some corners and have some fun.