Another week, another Top Gear USA episode, and we may be starting to like the show a bit. Don’t give us a hard time; we’re only human. Yes, it’s still lacking the quirks and perks of the UK version, but these guys may just be finding their way.
The funny part about the statement we just made is that this week’s show saw fewer segments than the first two, but that could be what helped it. Everything wasn’t so forced and they didn’t jump to the next topic as if they were actually in a race. Of course, the downside to this was that they did not get the opportunity to review any vehicles and they inserted a brief and odd news segment.
Overall the producers for the show are starting to find a good balance between Foust’s car knowledge, Wood’s comedic randomness, and Ferrara’s dry commentary. Hopefully it will get all worked out soon and maybe people will actually begin to give the show a chance.
Hit the jump for details on this week’s episode of Top Gear USA.
Car Reviews/Car News
No vehicle was placed under the Top Gear USA microscope this week, but the guys did end up doing a segment on random car news. Apparently, Eugene Disimone (candidate for Nevada governor) would allow for motorists to drive up to 90mph on state highways for a bargain price of $25 per day. This probably isn’t something that is going to happen anytime soon, if ever, but that’s was the guys were talking about.
Foust, Ferrara, and Wood also spent a spent a moment discussing the new Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca Edition. As lovers of Mustangs, this part of the show was like getting dessert halfway through dinner, especially when Wood jumped in and revved that beautiful 5.0 liter V8 engine. This baby delivers 440 HP and 380 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.
Big Star Small Car
This week’s big star for the Small Car segment is 43-year-old actor Ty Burrell. Burrell currently plays Phil Dunphy on ABC’s Modern Family, but on Top Gear USA his job is to put the Suzuki SX4 through the paces. Unfortunately, Adam Ferrara returned to interview the star, but was at least prepared enough not to grip his notes as he did when speaking with Buzz Aldrin.
After a self-professed “old lady start,” Burrell sang his way through the track and ended up with a 1:46.6. This left him “above an astronaut and below a hobbit.”
This week’s challenge was a five part test of the trios’ ability to pick a car. Each of the three boys from Top Gear USA had to purchase a vehicle that didn’t cost any more than $1,000, and then run it through a series of challenges, including a “moonshine” run dirt course in North Carolina in order to determine which host found the better car. The whole point of the challenge was to experience the obstacle that moonshiners had to go through when transporting the illegal alcohol. We already knew that Ferrara ended up with a 1976 Cadillac Deville thanks to the first trailer for the show, but we didn’t know that Foust would be driving a 1987 Nissan 300ZX or that Wood would be in a 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.
After their $1,000 cars were purchased and compared, the three men had to head on down and fill their trunks with 100 quarts of moonshine because this was, after all, the moonshine challenge. After that it was a series of obstacles to determine drivability, maneuverability, and handling for the three cars involved. Basically, these guys had to go about the challenges as if they were really transporting the hooch.
After performing J-turns and finding out that they had to spend the night in their cars, the trio decided it would be a good idea to break open a jar of moonshine. Some crazy sophomoric activity ensued with the men spitting the moonshine into their fire before it was lights out for the three amigos.
The next part of the challenge was to determine how their cars would do when going off-roading. The course set before them left Foust and Wood’s vehicle fairly unscathed, while Ferrara beat the crap out of his Cadillac by putting the pedal to the metal through this impossible course. Impossible not because no car could do it, but because Ferrara was driving a boat. Needless to say, Ferrara was left with a broken windshield, a bent frame, and not one jar of moonshine.
The final part of the challenge took them to the Nascar Speedway where each host had to take his turn outrunning the police. The police in this case was a Dodge Charger driven by none other than the Stig. With one mile of track before them and a 15 second head start, the men began the last challenge. Foust ended up going first, and was actually the only one that was able to get his car going for the challenge. Ferrara’s Cadillac had crapped out after the demolishing run through the dirt course, and Wood’s Thunderbird started and fizzled at the starting line.
Foust was the clear winner of this challenge, which isn’t exactly surprising.
Wrapping it Up
That’s it for this week, folks. All in all, we don’t think Top Gear USA is doing bad at all. Their ratings saw a bit of a drop from week one to week two - with another drop surely to follow this week - but we think it may be due to the fact that the audience wants a bit of instant gratification. They want to love it and have it be perfect immediately, but you can’t get to the status of Top Gear UK in a couple of episodes. Heck, it took TG UK a few seasons before they finally got into the groove and began climbing up the charts. So, back off everyone; cut these guys some slack.
Check in with us next week as we move on to Episode Four of Top Gear USA, and remember to leave some of your thoughts on this episode in the comments section below.