Overall, a solid effort with no real groaner moments and worth a rounded-up 8.
Loved "The News" segment. The Hot Hatch test was good. The Cee'd review was not to the level of the Ford or Renault reviews, but the Rugby match was better than the VW and Toyota soccer matches. The Mastretta review didn't devolve into a groaner moment, so kudos for that, as well. And even if Lewis had done his lap months ago, he was again an entertaining SIARPC.
Pretty good, the VXR/ST/RS thing felt a little old already, was surprised at the outcome though, so that made it a little different. News was cringeworthy as per nowadays. Mexican car was surprisingly refreshing, almost a proper review! Cee'd had a few highlights, and a few lowlights... Car rugby was very good, didn't feel reheated at all really, and those Kias seem pretty tough.
Someone on Twitter called it "Top Kia", and with a positive review of the C'eed followed by a rugby match it did seem as if the last 10 minutes were an extended commercial for Kia. However this is forgivable if Kia allowed them to wreck some of their cars for a hugely entertaining rugby match, and I still gave this edition 9/10 for being thoroughly entertaining throughout.
And Lewis Hamilton's Liana lap was absolutely astonishing.
Looking at the bigger picture of the new Die Hard film... McClane's appearance on TG tonight was the best part of the franchise sequel. The "groan" when I realised Hamilton was back on again quickly vanished by that terrific lap. Rugga with C-apostrophe-d is a bit dodgy...
I like ordinary car based segments to be fair (fave episodes are used car challenges on budgets), and the hot hatch segment was alright. I think kia must be paying for airtime in the way of wasting a load of new cars on rugby (never that entertained by car sports matches). As long as our tv licence money isnt paying for a resurfacing at Twickenham I'll let it go. Jezza is allowed to say shit at 10 to 9? times a changing.
On a side note: Is it just me or was this show *extremely* KIA-heavy? Did I miss the "This episode of TG is brought to you by KIA"-announcement?
Hot Hatches: Could've been longer and more in-depth. Surprisingly "restrained" and factual for current TG. Solid effort, but they've done better comparisons.
News was ok, even though they beat a recycled gag to death in it - again. I agree on their point though: I hate those silly electric parking brakes, too.
Cee'd review: Recycled a test-format I pretty much detested the first time round .. but this time it worked much better. Probably because they actually dared to put some useful info into this one and the cameos were short, unexpected and brilliant.
SIARPC: Got a phone call when Lewis came on stage, so I can't comment.
Mexican car: Not half bad. Could've focused more on the actual *car* though and less on the whole "Mexicans hate TG"-shtick.
Car Rugby: Way too long. The basic idea is hardly new and not really good enough IMO to keep repeating it. Should've shaved off 50% of its running time and used it to expand the hot hatch test.
Still: No real cringe-worthy moments in this one, some genuinely funny and unexpected stuff *and* some good info on cars. So, overall I'm gonna go with an
Hot hatchbacks: felt a bit perfunctory, but I love this section that appears every year. It's clear that he really enjoys this class of car.
News: good, but nothing of particular interest.
Cee'd: much, much better than I expected. Great cameos (and a nice reference to "Snatch", too).
Mastretta: not as groany as I anticipated. Maybe the show will put the joke to rest now. One can dream.
Car rugby: I love these things. Superb.
Comparison: Kind of funny how a bunch of low-tier (for TG) cars manage to take Clarkson out of his comfort zone better than firebreathing exotics. It certainly seemed less by-the-numbers than most of his recent track tests, sometimes less is more. Still not the best they ever did with this kind of things, but well above average and certainly entertaining for sure. 7/10
News: Not as cringeworthy as the news can be, but nothing great either, and still nothing to convince me that that segment has a reason to continue existing. Handbrake gag thoroughly run into the ground. 5/10.
Cee'd: Another one of those. Well it was way better than the last ones, but it's still nowhere near as good as the original Fiesta one. Random celebrity cameos are no substitute for truly ridiculous stunts. Still entertaining. 7/10
Mastretta: This had a huge potential to be awful, but they managed to make it work. Being good despite itself is still nowhere near actually great, but I'll give it 7/10.
SIARPC: Good, Hamilton is likeable. I dilike this segment but in context one of the better ones for sure. 6/10
Rugby: Another well worn classic concept, but they hadn't done it in a while and never this good. Nice to see that they can sometimes manage to surpass the classics. Still a little longer than it needed to be, but a good segment seeming long is better than a bad segment seeming long. 8/10.
Looking at these numbers, I am wondering why I gave the whole thing an 8/10. I guess it was more than the sum of its parts, and I really appreciate having an episode where nothing is terrible, even though nothing is super amazing either.