We’re rounding the bend on the first season of Top Gear USA and although it may have started off slow, the show is really getting into a groove and improving with every episode. If there was one thing we would want to complain about at this point in time is the continuous references to Top Gear USA NOT being a reality TV show. Okay, Adam, we get it, this is real TV and not just some lame attempt at sneaking a peek at rehearsed "real" lives. Let’s move on now, please.
In this episode, Tanner Foust is given a break from losing at competitions so that the other guys can get a feel for what it’s like to compete against a much slower mode of transportation and still lose. Tim Allen makes a spirited and entertaining guest as he tries his hand at the Suzuki SX4 and the guys try their hand at selling used cars, all while wearing some questionable attire.
Hit the jump to get the details on this week’s episode of Top Gear USA.
Car Reviews/Car News
There was no news this week, but Ruttledge Wood did get a chance to review the Honda CR-Z in all of its hybrid power goodness. Wood seemed to be absolutely in love with the Honda, even calling it a "hybrid with attitude." Let’s take a look at why the bearded man loved the $19,200 CR-Z so much.
For starters, the Honda CR-Z is powered by a 1.5L petrol engine that combines with an electric motor that adds 14hp to the car’s overall numbers. Both power units combined make up 122hp at 6,000rpm and 128lb.-ft. of torque at 1,000-1,500rpm. That is obviously not the impressive part. Wood tried his hand at getting the CR-Z to 60mph while in Normal mode and was just bored to death with it. The interesting part about this engine combination is that it comes in three different modes to please anyone from the most environmentally friendly driver to the driver that maybe wants a little more power than eco-friendliness. The fuel efficiency may not be as impressive as the Prius, but a combined rate of 37mpg is nothing to frown about.
The first mode is ECON and that is for those lovely tree-huggers out there. This mode relies more on the electric motor than the petrol and has minimal thirst for power. The second mode is Normal and uses standard settings for its power output. The third, and best in our eyes, mode is Sport. Sport mode will get you from 0-60mph in about eight seconds and will give the driver an extra 56lb.-ft. of torque for an increased get-up-and-go. Another cool feature for the Honda CR-Z is the light up dashboard that tells the driver what mode they are driving in. The inner ring of the tachometer lights up blue and green for both the Normal and ECON mode, with the ECON mode staying mostly in green, and beautiful red when the car is in Sport mode.
The different modes powering this "green" hatchback are all assisted by the standard six-speed manual transmission. A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is also available as an option. Adam Ferrara went as far to say that having a six-speed transmission on a hybrid was like "putting a spoiler on a golf cart." Touché, Adam, Touché.
Another interesting feature of the Honda CR-Z is the hill assist. This feature allows the car to shut down on a hill when the driver takes his foot off the brake and restarts the car once the clutch is pressed again. This little feature was helpful to the boys during one of their challenges for the week.
gallery: Honda CR-V
Big Star Small Car
This week’s big star in the Top Gear small car was Tim "The Toolman" Taylor himself, Tim Allen. Known for his roles in Home Improvement where he played the aforementioned Toolman and his role as St Nick in The Santa Clause movies, Tim Allen proved to be a very entertaining guest on the Top Gear stage. For once we didn’t fall asleep during the interview, which was a welcomed change. No, this interview was quite entertaining because Tim Allen was a lively guest and actually had knowledge about cars. He even joked about getting the Stig to take off his helmet during his training for the episode, revealing a gruesome face with three eyes. Nice try, Tim. We appreciate the effort, though.
Unfortunately for Tim Allen, his knowledge of cars and his constant cursing on the track didn’t get him top billing on the scoreboard. His time of 1:44.0 landed him in third place, with Tony Hawk and Kid Rock in the lead. We did give him a first place rating for his interview and personality, though.
The first challenge this week involved the previously reviewed Honda CR-Z and some very steep hills in San Francisco, California. In this challenge, Wood and Ferrara tried beating out two profile ride mountain bikers through the streets of San Francisco, all while giving us significant knowledge on the hybrid hatchback.
We don’t know if losing is more of an art-form for these guys, or if they purposely suck that bad, but they cannot catch a break in these challenges. News Flash: Allowing the guys to win now and again wouldn’t be a bad thing. And we don’t even want to think of the crap these guys are going to get for the colorful homosexual references. Eventually we’ll have to hold a competition to see which Top Gear gets the most crap for their candid remarks on apparently sensitive topics.
The second challenge of the episode pinned the three men against each other again in a ridiculous competition. This time around, the trio had to go out and purchase a vehicle, fix it up, market it, and sell it for a profit. They even found a poor, unsuspecting dealer to help them out with their mission.
After getting a brief training session on what it takes to be cars salesman - miraculously, being a dirtbag and a manipulator didn’t come up - the Top Gear guys walked away with two key phrases in mind: "Action Creates Action" and "There’s an Ass for Every Seat." The latter prompted Ferrara to tell his potential customer to "be that ass." Now it was time to find a car.
The cars currently at the dealer were too rich for the $3,000 blood provided by the trio, so it was off to a car auction where they were able to find three vehicles that didn’t have bullet holes in them. Yeah, the cars were that bad. Tanner Foust was able to find a Porsche 914 that ended up not having a first gear, reverse, or a horn. He managed to purchase the vehicle for $1,850. Adam Ferrara was next and was triumphant in buying anAcura Legend for a bargain $870. Had the auctioneer knew Ferrara would find a marijuana joint in the ash tray, the price might have been raised. Last was Ruttledge Wood who waited until the very last car to make his bid. He ended up getting robbed of $2,350 for a Lexus LS400 .
The men ended up spending the remaining of their $3,000 budget to fix up their vehicles and come up with marketing efforts. The "fixes" were anything from adding a new steering wheel to the Porsche to painting the Lexus with matte black spray paint, while the marketing efforts included Ferrar’s airplane with a banner that read, "Buy a Car, Punch a Clown" and some sexy models provided by Tanner Foust.
In the end, Ferrara was the victor with an extra $44 tucked neatly in his pocket after the $3,000 investment. Foust actually lost $1,150 on his Porsche and Wood was unable to sell his car, but managed to trade it on the Top Gear set for $1 and a Members Only jacket. Nice!
Wrapping it Up
That’s it for this week. Make sure and check in with us next week as we move on to Episode Eight of Top Gear USA, and remember to leave some of your thoughts on this episode in the comments section below.