Top Gear

Best place for drivers? It’s not the UK. But we’re not the worst either

Best place for drivers

Drivers in the Philippines capital Manila have the longest commute

Where’s the best place to be a driver? With our potholed roads and frequently congested city streets, you probably don’t think it’s the UK. In fact, you may not be surprised if the UK was towards the bottom of any road ranking. The good news is, we’re not. There are some places in the world where the traffic is so congested you wonder how anyone ever gets anywhere.

There’s more good news for hard-pressed UK drivers. We have one of the best records in the world for road safety. That’s compared to some roads in the world where safety is so shocking it borders on scandalous. However, it’s not quite time to get out the bunting and begin baking the celebration cup cakes. The UK has a long way to go before it can match the best for drivers on a daily basis.

The best countries for safety

First the good news. One area where the UK is world class is in road safety. According to the International Traffic Data Safety and Analysis Group which analyses information from 32 countries around the world we’re in third place with 2.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Only Sweden on 2.8 and Iceland on 1.2 were better.

The best place for drivers

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Prepare for carnage: Jeremy Clarkson fires up The Grand Tour Amazon TV show on 18 November

Prepare for carnage: Jeremy Clarkson fires up The Grand Tour Amazon TV show on 18 November

Whatever you do, don’t call it Top Gear. On Friday 18 November, petrolheads around the world will be tempted to take a cheeky sick day, as they get their first chance to watch Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond in action together on The Grand Tour.

The three troublemakers have been doing their best to avoid controversy since the BBC decided not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract, last March.

But now they’re back and the carnage can recommence, with an all-new car show that will continue to play on the relationship between the ‘three middle aged blokes’ as much as it will celebrate some of the most incredible things on four wheels.

The first episode will be made available through Amazon Prime on 18 November. The Grand Tour has agreed a deal with Amazon for three series over three years, with 12 episodes in each. Here’s what to expect…

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Video: who are BBC Top Gear’s new presenters?

Top Gear's new presenters

Reid, Schmitz, LeBlanc, Evans, Harris, Jordan and the Stig: the new faces of BBC’s Top Gear

“Morning from the new Top Gear team. All present and correct and smelling of eau de petrol.” And on that bombshell… Chris Evans revealed the complete line up of Top Gear’s new presenters. For the BBC’s motoring flagship there are six smiling new faces beaming out at the world, and one Stig – fresh from a reprogramming and having an uprated processor installed.

The sudden influx of known and unknown presenting talent was always going to cause a stir. Gary Lineker recently joked that he was the only person who wasn’t a member of the Top Gear team. And Tiff Needell took his Twitter followers on a trip down memory lane, with a front cover of the Radio Times from 1993 – the last time there were a similar number of presenters fronting Top Gear. Continue reading

Top Gear episode 7 review: Get the look for less with a used Jaguar XK-R and Mazda MX-5

Top Gear episode 7 Jaguar F-type R Coupe

Jaguar’s F-Type Coupe starred in Top Gear episode 7 (Picture © Jaguar)

Despite not being a classic car show, it is quite possible that Top Gear episode 7 left viewers pining for more. Oh how we all wish we were able to blow the best part of a million pounds on the heavenly Eagle Low Drag GT, the car that left Jeremy Clarkson in awe when he compared it with a Jaguar F-type R Coupé.  Continue reading

Top Gear episode 6 review: Why pick-up trucks make sense

Top Gear episode 6 pick-up trucks

The latest generation of pick-up trucks such as the Volkswagen Amarok can be refined and make great family cars (Picture © VW)

Pick-up trucks featured heavily in Top Gear episode 6. Richard Hammond may not have had a ‘highly trained search and rescue unit’ coming to his rescue in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. But at least James May and Jeremy Clarkson picked the best wheels for the job when they went in search of their colleague stuck at the top of a snow-covered mountain.

Pick-up trucks have grown in popularity hugely over the past decade. Creature comforts, safety and the general driving experience have improved dramatically, and stepping from a family saloon to a pick-up truck is not the shock it once used to be. Clarkson and May drove American models – the supersize Ford F150 Raptor and Chevrolet Silverado – which are not only taller than Richard Hammond but bigger than the typical pick-up truck available in the UK. If you are thinking of buying a pick up truck, here are five reasons why they’re worth considering.  Continue reading

Top Gear episode 5 review: bargain used sports cars

Top Gear episode 5

James May reviewed the Ferrari La Ferrari for Top Gear episode 5. The snag? It costs more than £1 million – unlike our used alternatives (Picture © Ferrari)

For Top Gear episode 5, we saw the Top Gear boys mucking around in a Ferrari La Ferrari, Porsche Cayman, Chevrolet Corvette and a bunch of tired Peugeots. This may have given viewers the impression that it’s nice work if you can get it. But we were left wondering how on earth it would be possible to own similar cars (except perhaps the Peugeots) for a fraction of the price.

The La Ferrari cost more than £1 million when new, a Corvette is £65,510 and a Porsche Cayman GTS is a shade over £55,300, which is let’s admit it, more than most of us have stashed down the sofa. So we’ve looked at the second hand alternatives to the cars that Clarkson, Hammond and May waxed lyrical over. The results are well worth five minutes of your time…  Continue reading

Top Gear Episode 2 Review

Top Gear season 22 episode 2

A Bentley Continental GT V8 S makes for the perfect catch for Hammond (Picture © BBC)

For Top Gear episode 2, our intrepid trio of men behaving badly took to the Australian Outback to test three grand tourers – better know as GT cars. Taking on ‘the most manly proving ground of them all’ they used the cars to round up a small-ish herd of 4,000 cows on a three million acre farm (‘the same size as the south east of England’).  Continue reading

Top Gear Season 22 Episode 1 Review

Ed Sheeran appears on Top Gear Series 22

Good blokes: the Stig with Ed Sheeran. (Picture © BBC)

In Top Gear Season 22 Episode 1 the trio are back! Have you missed them? Now screened around the world in real time, this is the 22nd series of the show that features three men in their own words “cocking about” – although judged on the first episode, there’s less of that following the team’s rather hostile reception in Argentina.  Continue reading