'Top Gear' (UK) Recap: Jeremy And James's Caravan Holiday Disaster
You know what always makes Top Gear better? Caravans!
But first: 1963 saw the birth of two things Jeremy doesn't care about: the Porsche 911 and James May. Since he still doesn't care about either of those things, he sent James off to go drive a 911. Unsurprisingly, James has a vastly different opinion than Jeremy. "How can you not like a 911?" he asks aloud. For the purists in the viewing audience, he then introduces us to a company in California that does custom-built recreations of classic 911s, and takes one of those for a spin. This also seems to please Captain Slow. After the film, Jeremy reiterates that all 911s are the same. Then he considers a nap when the first two items from the News are also from Porsche.
After the News, Richard reveals that he was invited to Italy by Lamborghini, and starts his film by testing "a roofless wedge of ginormous numbers" known as the Aventador Roadster. While he's there, he also takes the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, which is partly made up of carbon and plastic, out onto the racetrack. The hypercar doesn't disappoint, with Richard calling it "absolutely dazzling." It does a lap of the TG test track in an impressive 1:14.0 (after The Stig spins out once), but the time doesn't count, since the Elemento can't be driven on the road. Bonus points to Lamborghini in this episode.
The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car this week is Steven Tyler, he of Aerosmith and later American Idol. Jereny is disappointed because he's not talking to Liv Tyler. Ah, well. "I would've had to check into rehab again with you," Steven retorts after Jeremy says they should've palled around together. After we find out he likes to drive around listening to AC/DC, it's time to check out Steven's lap. He did considerable damage to the car, had to be bleeped, missed a few things along the way, and eventually clocked in at a terribly disappointing 1:51.0, slower than even Ron Howard. "You're just not very good at driving a Vauxhall Astra," Jeremy tells Steven. "You should've sent Liv."
Yes, you're thinking, but you promised us caravans. Where are the caravans?
Hold on, we're finally getting to those! James and Jeremy explain that they've been told to do "a proper comparison test" for caravan tow cars, and "not to muck about," though he says that with a smile so you know that's not gong to happen. He immediately declares that all the crossover SUVs they have to choose from are terrible. James insists that they persist with their test, however, so the half-cocked film goes on. Jeremy rants about how the Honda CR-V and Honda Civic are essentially the same thing. James makes a chart. Cars are slowly eliminated from contention, until they narrow things down to the Mazda CX-5 versus the Volkswagen Tiguan.
This leads to having to spend a day living like caravanners, with Jeremy in the Mazda and James in the VW. Neither of them are thrilled with this idea. They wash their cars, then visit the local home improvement store to pick up a few things (like, you know, axes and duct tape) - only so they can toss it out at the local recycling center. Another round of car-washing later, the guys head for a garden center. Jeremy gets a shock when the Mazda's automatic brakes bring him to a sudden stop, thinking he was going to hit a nearby hedge. He challenges James to "try and run me down," an offer which James happily accepts, but sadly the brakes work before James can injure him. They don't keep Jeremy from running into the back of James's Tiguan, though.
More needless shopping, recycling and car-washing later, the guys are thoroughly shell-shocked by this traumatizing experience. Back at the office, they ask The Stig to set a lap time in the Tiguan while it's hooked up to a caravan, causing everything inside the caravan to break and the caravan to lose a wheel. A shower of sparks ensues as The Stig drags the damaged caravan across the line. Things don't get much better when the process is repeated with the Mazda. More things break and the caravan falls over, lifting the CX-5 up on two wheels. The guys decide to recycle The Stig, after which they receive a gold envelope declaring "You are stupid idiots" and informing them that they're now in a race to a local caravan site. The loser will have to be stuck there for the night.
While even more things break, both Jeremy and James decide to take their caravans off-road. Predictably, Jeremy decimates his caravan, losing almost all of it in the wilderness. He drags its remains along as James drives through his debris. They somehow end up passing through someone's backyard, on which Jeremy leaves the rest of his caravan, and James manages to crash into himself. With nothing left to pull behind him, Jeremy wins the race, and James is stuck spending the evening in the remains of his battered caravan, despite claiming a "moral victory" for still having one.
Next week is sadly the last Top Gear episode in Series 20, so be sure to tune in. If you're a fan of the US edition of Top Gear, you can also click here to read my brand-new feature interview with TGUS host (and 2013 X Games gold medalist!) Tanner Foust. Until next time!