- Richard tests the Nissan Micra C+C.
- Jeremy, Richard and James make a Convertible People Carrier.
- James reviews the Honda Civic.
- The Chevrolet Lacetti is introduced as the new Reasonably Priced Car.
- Jeremy power tests the Koenigsegg CCX.
- Stars in a Reasonably Priced Car: Various.
A new opening title sequence was introduced and the programme was now presented from a new and much bigger studio, as the production had outgrown the old one. The new studio is at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome, which is still the same location as the old smaller studio. This episode also saw “Top Gear dog” introduced, a labradoodle who’s terrified of cars which make her violently ill and she also seems to hate James May, having thrown up on him when she arrived at the studio earlier that morning.
As with past the past few series, a montage of highlights from upcoming episodes was shown at the top of the show with the song of choice as Kasabian’s Club Foot being heard in the background.
Review: Hammond drives a hot pink Nissan Micra C+C around Ledbury, Herefordshire, with a brown paper bag over his head as “punishment” for appearing on daytime TV. However, due to the car being “the most embarrassing in human history,” he abandons it mid-review, stating “It’s not as if anyone’s going to steal it, are they?” In the news segment of Series 1 Episode 1, Hammond had described the car as a “rather gorgeous looking little thing” – although this referred to the old model, which was not in pink. Unimpressed, Clarkson remarks, “It just looks like a scrotum.”
Challenge: The team were challenged to fit a working home-made convertible roof to a Renault Espace people carrier. During the conversion of Espace, several unpleasant things happened. First, Clarkson and Hammond broke several side windows, which should not be broken. Second, Clarkson sewed his jacket to the machine and he eventually made the frame wrong. Challenges included driving at 100 mph (161 km/h) (result: the roof blew off), taking it to the monkey enclosure at a safari park (result: the roof almost broke when a monkey sat on it), and finally taking it through a brand new car wash. The people carrier was quickly abandoned as the rollers collapsed the roof, showering the trio in water. The tattered & torn roof was then subsequently snagged on the car-wash mechanism and jammed the machinery, causing a fire. Whilst this was happening, the group was seen running away, soaking wet.
The News: Rising petrol prices prompt a politically incorrect rant from Clarkson. The new Volkswagen Eos may be the first decent looking four-seater cabriolet. Clarkson declares his Ford GT “the most unreliable car ever.” He said that “all the stuff that was put on in England went wrong” and he suffered major problems with the trickle chargers. During the break between series, another TV programme borrowed the Top Gear test track and shot footage of “green” cars going round it. Jeremy shows a brief montage of highlights and supplies his own mocking commentary for the studio audience. The Saab Aero-X concept car impresses the hosts with its looks, but has “the canopy of jet fighter” and they aren’t sure why. James is annoyed by concept cars that promise wild design, but inevitably get watered down before they are mass-produced. He names the Honda Civic as a prime example, which leads directly into the following review.
Review: May praises the newly restyled Honda Civic, which he finds to be amazingly attractive for a mass-market car. Details like the triangular exhaust pipes, the rocket-inspired door handles, and the glowing blue rev counter spark his imagination. Even the hazard light button is “translucent and looks like a boiled sweet!” On the weaker end of the scale, he finds the ride a bit choppy at higher speeds and the interior noise a little too loud. However, he says those are minor complaints considering how great the car looks.
Star In A Reasonably Priced Car: The new series saw the Suzuki Liana replaced as the “reasonably priced car” by the Chevrolet Lacetti. In order to get some times on the separate board for the new car, several celebrities were invited to set times in this episode.
Diesel News: James May introduces the JCB Dieselmax, with which JCB will attempt to break the diesel land speed record.
Review: Clarkson reviews the new £415,000 Koenigsegg CCX and claims it is his new way of giving up smoking. The old Koenigsegg CC8S, which he reviewed in Season 2, Episode 7, was a raw, unruly beast that he found exceptionally fast, but very difficult to drive. The new car is even more so. Power lap: 1:20.4. The Stig lost control of the car upon a second attempt to break the posted time and hit a tire wall. He suggested that with the addition of a rear wing (later dubbed ‘Top Gear wing’) to provide downforce, the CCX would be 4 seconds faster.
“Some say that his ears aren’t exactly where you’d expect them to be, and that once, preposterously, had an affair with John Prescott. All we know is he’s called the Stig.”
Stig Power Laps
Star in a Reasonably Priced Car