Kids in the back? Dog in the front seat? Exhaust held on with gaffer tape and tax disc due for renewal? Then welcome to the heady grey world of Ford Street Racing, a world - nay, universe - of traffic jams and light inner-city lane meandering. Mum, are we there yet?
Fords by their very nature are more suited to carrying Nan to her hip appointment than bombing around circuits, so from the get-go this is an uphill, perhaps impossible struggle. Either way, it hasn't been addressed. All the dropping to first gear and hill starts in the world aren't going to help this.
Fatally, the cars - apart from the very top-end super-performance models - are a crapheap of flatliners and fridges. Want to try your hand at shifting the cumbersome 1975 Gran Torino Sport around? Be our guest - just make sure you turn into a corner before the Xbox has had chance to animate it, and you'll be right as rain.
Ah, and what delights you get to drive your lumps of lead around too. The 'skid row' track is a wealth of lumbering grey skyscrapers that, to the untrained eye, could be upended shoe boxes. The roads themselves are nasty buggers as well, never allowing for any kind of leeway or sly kerb-cutting. Beware of the bushes lining the streets of old Ford City too - they're all grown from concrete. Want to overtake an opponent on a high mountain pass, perhaps risking your footing near the cliff edge? No chance. The Ford ethos is one of safety, and god forbid any kind of derring-do or crazy risk-taking. No, the entire world is protected by impenetrable walls of invisible goodness that stops you from attempting such ludicrous antics as 'overtaking' or 'having fun'. Here's a tip, though - not all lamp-posts are solid. No, some are mere ghost lamp-posts, existing neither in this world or the next, but somewhere in between, caught in a ghastly grey limbo. Was this intentional? Why, of course it was, probably. Maybe.
The faster the car, the more jelly-like things seem to become. The gorgeous Ford GT 2005 handles like the entire world was one big bouncy castle, as it bobs and lurches around like it had helium-filled wheels. But fear not - collision detection isn't something that happens much in the Ford world. After all, its cars are for families to travel around in dull safety and not for having fun in, so no matter how many times you crash or collide with other vehicles, you'll just bounce off and continue your merry jaunt. Huzzah!
Sure, Ford Street Racing is a budget title, thus raising the 'you gets what you pays for' and 'budget titles don't have to be good, they're cheap', arguments. But think about this: if just 100 people bought this, that would be nearly 2,000 in Ford's vast corporate clown-trousers. Almost enough to put another boring Fiesta on the road. And do you really want that on your conscience?
A bit naff, a bit safe, and a bit too onedimensional. Not the face-removing speed-freak it should have been.