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The Grand Tour Season 2 Episode 1: Past, Present, or Future [REVIEW]

The boys are back in town. Well, actually, they’re not in town at all, unless you live near Oxfordshire, UK, anyways. As you most likely have heard, The Grand Tour is no longer touring. But that’s not the point. Let’s get into what’s most important, how the premiere episode of the newest season did.

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The episode starts out with a similar preview segment that we saw last season, showcasing what we can expect over the coming weeks. This is quickly followed by the main film of the series, a fantastic comparison between three amazing supercars; the Lamborghini Aventador, Acura NSX, and Rimac Concept One. The film is set in the jaw-droppingly beautiful, Swiss mountains, as if we’d expect anything less.

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Clarkson, Hammond, and May debate throughout the film over which of the vehicles is best. Harkening back to the episode’s title, Past, Present, or Future, the cars each represent one of those aspects, Aventador being the past, NSX being the future, and the Rimac taking up the position of future. The boys never really come up with a solid decision, not that you’d expect them to, but the beauty of the cars and the scenery and the comedy musings we’ve come to expect from the trio result in a great start for the season.

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Conversation Street is back this season. The segment really just consists of the three hosts harassing each other and making fun of random subjects. If there’s one thing the Grand Tour hosts have fantastic chemistry, and the segment shines because of it. It’s nothing new, but we like that.

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As is the tradition with Hammond, Clarkson, and May, in the following portion of the Past, Present, or Future film, our hosts end up taking very nice, very expensive cars off-roading.

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It’s hard not to grimace at the sight of such high end driving machines scraping over rocks and rubbing into walls, but it does make for entertaining television.

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I know you’re probably wondering, do they ever end up racing these amazing cars? Well, yes. But no spoilers here. You’ll have to watch the episode to see who wins, but we do have a few gorgeous screenshots for you.

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The film then continues with some proper supercar hooning and Clarkson running into a bit of trouble with his Lamborghini.

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Continuing on, we see a welcome change to The Grand Tour, the replacement for Celebrity Brain Crash. From now on we will be seeing the new and amazing segment, Celebrity Face Off, or Celebrity F-Off for short, in which two celebrities from the same fields will face off in a Jaguar F-Type for the fastest lap times. No doubt this will do much better with audiences this season.

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The Grand Tour also has an all-new track for this season and, taking a bit of style from Top Gear UK, it’s got tarmac and gravel bits, which should create some excitement.

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The guests in the first ever Celebrity F-Off are a man who really needs no introduction, David Hasselhoff, aka the Hoff, and Ricky Wilson, lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs and former judge on the Voice UK.

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While there’s no Stig (obviously), and no American (thankfully), the interview, the laps, and the segment as a whole are a breath of fresh air for The Grand Tour.

The premiere episode wraps up with an already infamous bit of film.  The boys take off to a hill climb event in Hemberg to see who’s car is the king of the hill.

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The course, which covers 1.09 miles, contains 11 corners, puts all three hosts and their cars to the test, but none so much as Hammond and the Rimac…

In a bizarre series of events, Hammond careened off of a turn and the Rimac was up in flames in next to no time at all.

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Luckily, and with a great sigh of relief, we can all be happy that while the car is no more, Hammond is alive and well.

The same can also be said of The Grand Tour. Gone are many of the gimmicks and forced humor, back is the fantastic chemistry, beautiful films, and amazing cars. I can easily say that The Grand Tour is off to a fantastic start and here’s to season 2.

We give this episode, 5 stars.

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Top Gear America: Episode 1: Made in America [Review]

Recently Top Gear has had a bit of a rough go. From the separation of its famed hosts, Clarkson, Hammond, and May, and their subsequent success on Amazon’s, The Grand Tour, to the utterly disappointing performance of replacement lead host Chris Evans, which saw the follow up season of Top Gear U.K.’s ratings take a nosedive to their lowest level ever, with only 1.9 million viewers turning in to the season finale.

After Evan’s departure, Top Gear has continued to have a tough time overall, with generally mixed reviews at best, so the question was, will the replacement for Top Gear U.S.A, aptly named Top Gear America, be any better?

It’s with a sigh of relief that I can confidently say, “yes”, it is in fact better. Not only is it better than Top Gear U.S.A, it’s quite easily better than the current iteration of Top Gear U.K.

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Featuring three new hosts, NHRA Top Fuel champ, Antron Brown, British motoring journalist, Tom “Wookie” Ford, and actor, William Fichtner. The hosts clearly fill archetypes any Top Gear fan will instantly recognize. One surprise is the chemistry the hosts seem to already have. While far away from the classic trio, they are themselves easily outpacing the current U.K. hosts. Maybe the BBC sent them all away on a team building expedition before filming.

The premier episode features the typical Top Gear segments we’ve come to know and love. There’s an adventure/challenge feature, a celebrity guest who drives a reasonably priced car, and a couple of reviews.

The adventure segment takes our new hosts south of the border to Mexico. Their challenge, to drive two Baja Beetles 212 miles from Mexico, back to the U.S.A, in the spirit of the famed Baja 1000 race.

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While the script seems a bit forced at times, the segment is actually really well done overall. There’s the great cinematics that we’ve all come to expect from Top Gear, fun action clips, and a some good humor, even if it is a bit forced, such as where one of the Beetles “runs out of gas” or really without giving too much away,  the entire premise of the segment.

The review of the new Acura NSX is a shining feature in the new Top Gear America’s roster. While recent reviews on both Top Gear U.K. and Top Gear U.S.A, before it ended, were pretty bad, if not outright unwatchable, Tom “Wookie” Ford does an excellent job giving the NSX a well deserved review. No condescension, no ridiculous out of left field opinions, and no unnecessary hype. While the back in the studio follow up has the scripted me vs you opinions built in, it does little to take away from the actual segment.

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Top Gear America’s celebrity segment is now far improved from even the classic Top Gear.  This episode features professional baseball player (now retired) C.J. Wilson. The segment was brief, to the point, and very well done. The chemistry between the guests and the host was there, and the questions related to the show. We didn’t see any of the over the top nonsense from recent episodes of  Top Gear U.K. and none of the crazy celebrity “appearances” that many hated in The Grand Tour’s Celebrity Brain Crash.  The actual lap on TGA’s new track, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, using a 2017 Honda Civic, was done right as well. Although it lacked any drama, and the track itself is a bit underwhelming overall, it set a good direction for the show and Top Gear as a whole.

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The other segment of the show, a review of the new Ford Raptor, was done by William Fichtner. I’ll go ahead and say it now, William is the absolute star of the show and does the segment, and the whole show, masterfully. Whoever managed to get him to do the show deserves a raise because he really does carry the show. Fichtner may be the first solid lead on any Top Gear since Clarkson.

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Fichtner manages to capture some of that original Top Gear essence that I think we’ve all been missing since the trio’s departure. The soulfulness, the genuineness, the style that Top Gear so desperately needed, and used to have in excess. If you watch the new episode for one reason, it should be his segment on the Raptor.

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So, Top Gear America is off to a great start. Where does that leave us now? The Grand Tour premiers with its second season on Amazon Prime soon and if there’s any indication based off last season, it’s going to be a hit. Top Gear U.K. is still struggling to regain ground, but may very well be recovering, and  as for Top Gear America, it just may be the BBC’s new shining star.

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Hopefully they can keep it up, all of us in the automotive community need a good show like this. Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments, and be sure to like and share!

Stay tuned to Automoguls for reviews of every new episode all season long, as well as reviews of The Grand Tour, Top Gear U.K, and much more.

Image Source: BBC America 

Can An Acura NSX Take Down An Aventador In a Drag Race?

The Aventador is often considered the king of the Lamborghini’s, and many supercars. While it first debuted over 5 years ago, with its striking looks, amazing V12 sound and a nothing to scoff at 691+ horsepower, it has certainly earned a place at the top.

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The new Acura NSX on the other hand, has received mix reviews. Honda’s decision to move forward with the departure from its classic NSX roots, going heavy and hybrid, to the high price tag and relatively slow sales numbers, the NSX has faced an uphill battle for respect from day one.

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You may be wondering, who would even question whether or not the might V12 Lambo could crush the NSX.

The crew over at The Exotic Revolution wondered the same thing and has posted a video to their YouTube channel that pits these two cars against each other in a “definitely filmed in Mexico” drag race. The results may just surprise you! We won’t spoil the fun, so check out the video. (Skip to about 1:20 to get to the action)

Did it end the way you thought it would? Are you surprised? Let us know in the comments!

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