The Grand Tour vs. Top Gear: Which one rules?

I’m sure we all have our own opinions on both shows, so I thought I’d jot down my thoughts and we’d love to hear yours.

The Grand Tour

Top Gear with Clarkson, May and Hammond in my opinion was a show deteriorating in it’s latter years.  It had become less about cars, more about them and was now just an entertainment show, not a car show.  I watched it still, but you did not learn much about the cars as you do with Fifth Gear.  So after Clarkson’s punch and handbags (which was bang out of order by the way) I was keen to see what would happen.  It was not a surprise to see May and Hammond bail the BBC Top Gear and go with Clarkson.  Could either of them have survived for long on their own?  Let’s be frank Clarkson was Top Gear, he’s the main man, and still remains so on The Grand Tour, or Gear Top as I call it (as let’s be frank its roughly the same).

The Grand Tour has evolved a little from the old Top Gear, it looks just like a bigger budget, but the same old same old.  In series 1 they really tried pushing the boat out and travelled the world, yet in Series 2 it seems they’ve had enough of that and gone back to type (one venue, so why “the grand tour”, more like “no tour”), which is why I think much more innovation and change is needed.  The Grand Tour team have not been very brave with changing a formula which obviously works.  I do watch it, but I’d much prefer if they got rid of one of the hosts and freshened it up with a new host, younger, more relevant to the younger generation, someone that is funnier or just more “down with the kids”.  Those three old men are just three mates mucking about.  Great for them, but tiring for us after years of the same stuff.

What I like and dislike about the 2017 and 2018 Grand Tour





  • The stars in cars, it’s rubbish.  Always has been.  Series 2 is slightly better than series 1, but not by much.  Again, its’ a “this show is all about us” from the hosts.
  • The hosts.  Controversial maybe.  But it’s tired.  It’s not current.  Get rid of 1 0r 2 hosts, or have guest hosts.  Have a teenager, a person in their 20s, a person in their 60s  for example.  A real world view.
  • Series 1 – blowing up guests.  What on earth was all that about.  Killing time or what.  Ridiculous.
  • Conversation street.  Half of the time it just seems like inane chat.


In summary. 

The Grand Tour gets a 6/10

Worth a watch, but am I excited each week to see the next instalment?  Being frank, no I am not.  It’s more of a “cool, another episode to watch, I hope it’s a good one this time”.  Am I gutted when the series ends?  No, but I do want to watch the next series, and hope that some improvements will have been made.  Amazon, please take note.


Top Gear

The BBC’s gamble on Chris Evans as host for the first series of the show since the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May was always going to split opinion.  Personally I liked the show and thought Chris was good.  I suppose the problem is that Chris Evans is like Marmite, you either love or hate him.  But isn’t Clarkson like that?

I thought the show was an improvement on the previous stale shows with Clarkson, May & Hammond.  I thought they over did it with so many presenters, which included Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, with Sabine Schmitz, Chris Harris, Rory Reid and Eddie Jordan appearing in some episodes.  The Stig was the only part of the former line-up not to leave. While the format received only minor changes, the studio at Dunsfold was redesigned and the Top Gear Test Track received a brand new rallycross circuit to co-exist alongside it, complete with a brand new car for celebrities – a Mini Rallycross Car (series 24), which replaced the Vauxhall Astra Tech Line. I think that was much better, much more fun, it’s a shame they did not keep for the current series.  A brand new spin-off show was also created, entitled Extra Gear, which was broadcast on online channel BBC Three, and had the same number of episodes with each airing immediately after each episode.

Early days on series 25, but early signs are good.  The chemistry between the 3 main presenters is good.  In every show so far I’ve loved something, and I’m genuinely excited come Sunday afternoon.

What I like and dislike about the 2017 and 2018 Top Gear



  • The presenters, and the great chemistry.  Series 25 you can see it’s working great.  All the presenters are car mad, but have different thing/ cars that they love.  It would be boring if they all just loved supercars.  You need that difference of opinion.  Matt Le Blanc is the funny guy, Chris Harris is the geek, and Rory Reid, not sure yet.  Bold onto this Sabine Schmitz and so far, very good.
  • Car reviews: they actually review cars, and talk cars, and give us the viewers an inside view on what the car is, and compare to other cars in the same category and price ranges.
  • The trips they do.  In series 25, episode 1 the trip across America was great, and I loved in episode 2 the Rory Reid “at night in Japan bit”, how cool were those cars?



  • If I’m honest, not much.  It could be longer, and the series always seems so short.  Series 24 was seven episodes, series 25 will be six (yep six), so will series 26 be 5.  So disappointing.  What’s wrong with you BBC?  If the presenters are busy with other projects, even more reason to get other great people to add to the team, do documentaries, do a piece on car prices (Quintin Wilson or Jodie Kidd).


In summary. 

Top Gear – 8/10

It’s got everything.  Yes I’d like more car focus, more on different car cultures in different countries and why?  But it’s great, and I look forward to it every week, and when it finishes i’m genuinely disappointed, and cannot wait to the next episode.  Well done BBC and more episodes please, and a bit more variety.


Suggestions for both shows

Interview a person that’s massively into their cars for 10-15 minutes.  Talk over cars they’ve owned and why, and cars they’d want to own and why.  Here’s a few people to talk to Jensen Button, Ross Brawn, Sterling Moss, James Martin, Gordon Murray, Lewis Hamilton, Horacio Pagani, Gordon Ramsey, Murray Walker, Jay Kay, and any other petrolheads.  This list is very male heavy, so what about the women, there must be women with car collections or a passion for cars.  These interviews should not revolve around people plugging a book, movie or anything else, just car people talking cars.  How about surprising them with a drive in one of their dream cars?

So there’s my view.  What’s yours?  What do you like/ dislike?


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7 comments on "The Grand Tour vs. Top Gear: Which one rules?"

  • Geoffrey Minniti says:

    Thank you for sharing, fantastic blog…

  • Grrr grr says:

    Fifth gear hosts wish they were Jeremy, Richard and James… boring wannabes…

  • Ivan Susanen says:

    Top gear is one of the most horrific shows, after depart of Clarkson, Hammond and May. The teenagers spoil the true genre and the figure of the show. The author of this article is very unreliable and biased, if he doens’t explain any other reasons to support his viewpoint…

  • Gandalf says:

    Top Gear died in 2015. It relaunched as The Grand Tour. The pc claptrap copy from the BBC is a pale imitation of TG and thus not worth watching. So my scores are: TGT=8, Poor Copy=0. I won’t watch pc nonsense.

  • Will Wynn says:

    Hi Venn,
    Different opinions are great. I watch both shows, and most car shows to be fair, much to my wife’s frustration. Season three of the Grand Tour started last week. What did you think? I was indifferent about it. Clarkson is good, May is average and Hammond dire. They seem devoid of good new ideas. I fell asleep, that probably says it all.

    Personally I most enjoy Fast and Loud.


  • Vann Junkins says:

    What a joke. The Grand Tour blows Top Gear out of the water. You dont need 40-50 overly-concise bullet points to prove it either. Top Gear is withering on the vine.

  • Micky says:

    I & my friends think 5th gear is crappy, thank you sky for giveing me the ability to record programmes so that in the case of 5th gear we can fast forward to the many crap bits ie screaming around track trying to break cars, we think Vicky Butler ,can’t remember last bit name is a poor presenter as is the Plato bloke, the one with beard is ok does good job, Tim ,the fourth one is like Richard hamond grand tour always looking for an accident , this is what we all think, Clarkson is witty, James may is likeable, Hammond is childish and unlikeable as many many people say , he can’t see over dashboard idiot. 5th gear 4/10. Grand tour excludeing Hammond 7/10.
    Top gear MATT LABLONC. 20/10 BRILLIENT *****

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