I can’t remember the last time a day passed and there wasn’t a story about the new series of Top Gear. It’s like trying to recall the last time DFS wasn’t having a sale – you know it must have happened but the details are hazy – you think you may have been playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon on the ZX Spectrum whilst wearing snow wash jeans.
Anyway, much of the buzz has been about the presenters. There are a lot of people in the TG line-up; numbers are vague but it’s thought to be larger than the cast of Game of Thrones and smaller than the population of Slough. In a nutshell, it’s the telly equivalent of a boyband: you can name two of them and the rest could be replaced without you noticing.
Most of the headlines have been about Matt Le Blanc. Whilst I’ll be tuning in to see if he can get Estelle into a reasonably priced car, I am more interested in what will be in the revamped programme, rather than who. If, like me, your commute does not involve setting fire to caravans or driving a Landrover up a dam, then it’s just possible you may want a bit more from a car show.
A few months back, I had a revelation. I took my ‘new’ car (a 9 year old hand-me-down from my brother James) to a dealership for some work. As I sat there, staff smiled at me and continually offered me cakes and cappuccinos. At first I refused, convinced there was some sort of catch – but no, they truly wanted me to chow down on some lemon drizzle whilst they re-gassed my air con. Then, when I’d paid up, they escorted me to my car and I realised they had placed sticky markers so my driving position could easily be found again. For anyone who has my leg to upper body ratio – this is nirvana – it can take me a year to find the ideal seat position.
Contrast this with the dealership of my former car, where they constantly made me feel like I had NO RIGHT to be there. I once collected my car after a service, and because it was old (with a gaffer-taped wing mirror), they parked it so far behind the garage that Runkeeper sent me a congratulatory email for covering so much ground.
If someone had told me from the outset I could choose muffins over mardy – I’d have invited them to my wedding. THIS is the sort of information I want on the new Top Gear.
With that in mind, there are other essentials they could cover off:-
1. Is the seating position comfy for my husband on a three hour trek on the motorway?
The latest episode of The Night Manager was punctuated by him moaning ‘up a bit, down a bit’ as I gave him a neck and shoulder massage. If we’d known the car’s seats weren’t for everyone, I could have estimated the height difference between Hollander and Hiddleston uninterrupted.
2. Which dealerships offer a free valet and clean when you get any work done?
I cannot be arsed to spend any time buffing a bonnet, so if anyone else will do it – count me in.
3. Does the cup holder actually accommodate anything bigger than a vending machine cup?
I need one that can grip a tall latte, or a chubby bottle of mineral water. I don’t want to arrive at meetings with either a) a scorched groin, or b) looking like my chosen mode of transport was the log flume at Alton Towers.
4. How many car loads will it take to transfer the average person’s belongings from a house share, without getting smacked in the face by the pipe from a vacuum cleaner?
Seriously, this should be listed in car handbooks, between horsepower and fuel consumption.
5.How easy is it to get out of the back seats of a two door car?
It’s a no from me if my passengers have to Vaseline their thighs and attach a winch to get out at the end of a journey.
In essence, we need a details person. I love Le Blanc, but let’s also throw in Courtney Cox in full Monica mode. Then we have a car show that’s a friend to pootlers as well as petrol heads.