It was quite worth the wait for episode 3 of Fifth Gear, what started pretty slow ended with quite a race, but here’s the full review.
The show kicked off with a challenge between two station wagons, but no ordinary ones, the VW Passat R36, the fastest accelerating production car from the german manufacturer, put up against the new Audi A4, which was powered by a 3 litre diesel engine. It was quite a race between the petrol-powered VW and the diesel Audi. The end of the race showed the Passat beat the Audi by just two tenths of a second.
The segment “It’s new but is it any good” returned this show, testing two diesel hatchbacks, the VW Golf in GT Sport trim and powered by the well known 2 litre TDI was put against the Kia Pro Cee’d also powered by a 2 litre diesel engine. The test was a bit weird in my opinion, Vicky testing the acceleration times from 30 to 70 mph. Needless to say, the Golf won, but the trump card from Kia, the 7 year warranty, can’t be forgotten. The conclusion? If you want performance and have the money for it, the Golf is your car, but if you intend to keep the car for a long time, the Kia is for you.
The next part of the show had Jonny going to the Ultimate Street Car Show, Europe’s largest auto festival. He was there for work though, having the tough job of judging the best modified car there. The cars were extremely nice, each being the fruit of the very hard and expensive work of their owners. The winner was an old generation Honda Civic Type R, in which the owner invested almost £90,000.
More and more people are obsessed with their fuel average, trying the most annoying methods of achieving the largest mpg. So Fifth Gear called Toyota, to give them their best driver to see if they can get a better fuel average than their own Tiff Needell, so the japanese manufacturer sent their own Formula 1 driver, Jarno Trulli (!). And the test started, Jarno getting an average of 60.1 mpg, while Tiff, trying every trick in the book, like coasting or starting the electric motor, averaged 61.9 mpg with the Prius.
One of the most important performance specs for any car is the 0-62 mph or 0-100 km/h time, but most of the times released by a producer aren’t actually real. So the team decided to test three almost average cars, the Mazda MX-5, the Mini Cooper S (fitted with the JCW tuning kit) and the not so average Ariel Atom, the fastest accelerating production car ever. The Mazda really ended up a lot slower than the official time, while the Mini got closest to it’s 6,8 seconds official time, managing a 7,3 time although it had only 600 miles on the dash. The Atom though really put up a fight, although by an average driver it only managed 3,3 seconds, as opposed to the 2,7 released by its manufacturer.
Next up, Tom tested the new Honda Accord, more specifically the tehnological aspects and systems found on it. Proof of all those tech gimmicks are the 80 buttons (!) which were found by Tom around the dash. The first system tested was the Lane Keep Assist function, which warns you if you leave your lane by flashing a light an emitting sounds. Next up was the Collision Mitigation Braking system, it works based on a radar, if it detects that you are closing in too fast to a car, it tensions your seat belt, preparing for an impact and then engages the emergency brake. In the end, the Honda is quite a good car, but didn’t manage to arrounse the passion from Tom he expected to.
Jonny followed, this week he tried to buy a luxury car for only £1,000. He started with a BMW 735i, which he managed to buy for as low as £735. A proud English brand followed, the Jaguar XJ6, which was quite reliable and ride quality, Jonny managed to get with full MOT and service for the benchmark price of £1,000. The last car, and Jonny’s favourite was the Mercedes S Class, which he managed to buy for £1,000, quite a deal, considering the tehnology packed into the car.
One of the most exciting races in this season followed, Tiff being challenged by two times world bike cross champion Jason Crump. Tiff got in succession the Rage Buggy R TT, a Formula 1 stock car completely set up for the gravel surface found on the oval circuit, and the last one, a rally cross spec Citroen Xsara capable of delivering 500 hp. All the attempts were, unfortunately for us car fans, futile, Tiff being beaten every time, although the last race was pretty close.
All in all, quite a good show, quite worth the wait and here’s the video of Tiff’s race against the bike.