Ex-Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson is waging war on manufacturers that release “dull” cars with “the same amount of soul as a fridge-freezer”.
Speaking in his review of the Skoda Superb Estate in the Sunday Times, Clarkson said he would no longer give a car anything more than a two-star rating if he found it dull to drive:
“I drove for 200 miles up the M1 the other morning, and it was an endless procession of cars such as the Superb. Some were Hyundais. Some were Kias. Many were Vauxhalls and Fords. And they all suffered from the same problem.
“They were all average. And so, in the past, they’d have got three stars in a review such as this. Because 2½ is hard to illustrate.
“Well, that’s going to stop. From now on, if a car is dull, no matter how competent it may be, it is not going to get more than two stars.
“Because unless the car companies start to let their creative juices flow, people will simply stop buying cars and go for something more convenient instead. Such as an Uber app or the number of their nearest minicab driver.”
The veteran broadcaster heaped praise on the Superb, saying it was essentially a cheaper VW Passat, “extremely good value for money”, the biggest car you can get for £20,000 and that “as a tool… it’s impossible to better”.
He even admitted it was a five-star car and “nigh-on impossible to fault”. “And yet it just isn’t a five-star car, is it,” he continued, “because it has the same amount of soul as a fridge freezer. It’s the sort of car that you’d buy by the foot.”
He argued boring cars make people “wonder why they bother with the hassle or expense of car ownership when the car itself offers nothing in return”.
“At no point when you are driving a Superb do you think, “Eugh.” But you never think, “Wow,” either. And that’s not good enough.
“If you spend thousands of pounds on a holiday, you want the view and the service to take your breath away. And it should be the same thing when you buy a car. It should dazzle you,” he added.
Clarkson has been working on his new Amazon motoring show alongside ex-Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman and fellow co-stars Richard Hammond and James May. After months of deliberation, the show was named “The Grand Tour” and will debut in the Autumn of 2016.
Meanwhile the BBC’s reinvention of Top Gear, headed-up by TFI Friday presenter Chris Evans and Friends star Matt LeBlanc, will air on BBC 2 on the 29th of May 2016, followed by Rory Reid’s Extra Gear, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Top Gear is made.
Clarkson is the king of upsetting people with his controversial views, but this time he’s bang on the money. We have driven many cars that are virtually perfect on paper for the task at hand, yet we are loathed to give a fifth star because they fail to excite us.
If a car only needs to go from A to B and that’s where your interest stops, that’s fair enough. But for people who love cars or simply want to brighten their drive to work before the mundane kicks in, a car needs more than sensibly located cup holders, low CO2 emissions and a big boot.
Maybe car manufacturers should make fun a priority? BMW managed it with the M2. Peugeot did it with the 308 GTi. Or maybe, just maybe, we have to accept car enthusiasts are a minority and that, soon enough, we will be handing over the keys to robots who can drive more safely than we can.
Whadya reckon, readers?