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Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour - which car show is better?

2017-01-04 10:31

Calvin Fisher

BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER: The Grand Tour delivers everything you'd expect from hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Image: YouTube

Cape Town - With The Grand Tour nearing its end, I think the general verdict has been a resounding victory for the new motoring show on Amazon.

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have emerged victorious, largely by just doing what they’ve always done, in a style they’ve cultivated over decades of producing the world’s best car show.

I refer to the pre-Chris Evans iteration of Top Gear  of course, not the latest one that flopped in the most spectacular fashion.

Video review

In this article, we'll look at four aspects; the hosts, the set(s), the budget and (most importantly) the cars.

Included, is a list of the vehicles featured in both shows at the end of this article. 

Watch: Top Gear vs. The Grand Tour - which car show is better? 

Top Gear vs The Grand Tour - which show do you think is better? What's your best/worst moment from either show? Email us or reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

The hosts

Radio Two host, Evans, flagships the 'new' Top Gear, supported by television’s favourite fictional New Yorker, Joey… oops, Matt Le Blanc (from Friends). A strange casting choice but one that ultimately worked as he’s still as likeable as ever though seemingly out of his element here. We blame British screenwriters but that’s just us.

It doesn’t stop there of course, with Chris Harris and Rory Reid (both from YouTube) playing backup, with a star-studded racer lineup in the form of Eddie Jordan and Sabine Schmitz. That’s a whole gearbox full of broken cogs I’m afraid, when you compare them to Clarkson, Hammond and May - I’m sorry, but it just is.

The budget

It’s said that Amazon  has budgeted roughly R65-million per episode of The Grand Tour. Eat that Top Gear, with your child’s budget of only R16-million per show.

Over the course of its six episodes, Top Gear managed to see a dwindling viewership. In the UK alone, home of the BBC and of Top Gear, the first episode of the 23rd season saw 6.42 million viewers tuning in. Over the next few weeks that number decreased to 2.64 million viewers. The show's worse rating in 10 years!

The 'new' Top Gear had a total UK viewership of 23.35 million. This figure excludes live streaming over the internet and pirate copies.

Disappointingly, Amazon will not be releasing the viewership figures of its new hit show.

Click on the Grand Tour GIF below:

The set

While Top Gear continues to use Dunsfold Airfield base, The Grand Tour gets what I like to call, the most 'car-oriented tent' in the world. It’s massive and performs the same task as the old Top Gear studio, essentially housing each week’s audience. And I’d like to say celebrity guests, but unless you’ve been living under the rock, in which case it will surprise you to learn that they don’t quite make it onto the show.


The numbers will reveal to history that this has been the worst season of Top Gear for more than a decade, while Amazon are repeatedly chuffed with the performance of their new car show. More interestingly, it has become one of the top-pirated shows of all time. In the world. Ever.

And that goes in line with how I feel about the two shows. While I will continue to watch Top Gear for as long as they’ll produce it, The Grand Tour trumps it in almost every way. And having two high quality motoring shows can only be a blessing for us all.

Wheels24 editor Sergio Davids said: “I guess I’m in the minority here (at least according to the show’s ratings) but I enjoyed the ‘new’ Top Gear. It’s certainly not the worst motoring show as some have slammed it though it definitely pales in comparison to the 22 seasons hosted by Clarkson, Hammond and May.  

"The problem with TG, bar the overly-aggressive antics of Evans, is that it’s missing the ‘magic’ the original trio brought to the screen. Sadly, there is a better show for petrolheads that TG inadvertently created - the hugely underrated Extra Gear hosted by Chris Harris and Rory Reid. The Grand Tour however delivers everything fans expected from the veteran trio; insane stunts, amazing locations and hilarious, natural banter.”

The cars

Top Gear:

  • Ariel Nomad

  • Aston Martin Vulcan

  • Audi R8

  • BMW M2

  • Chevrolet Corvette Z06

  • Dodge Viper

  • Ferrari F12 TDF

  • Ford Focus RS

  • Ford Mustang EcoBoost

  • Ford Mustang GT

  • Honda Civic Type R

  • Honda NSX

  • Jaguar F-Pace

  • Jaguar F-Type SVR

  • McLaren 675LT

  • Mercedes AMG A45

  • Mercedes-Benz GLC

  • Porsche 911 R

  • Porsche Macan

  • Rolls Royce Dawn

  • Tesla Model X

  • Zenos E10 S

The Grand Tour:

  • Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

  • Aston Martin DB11

  • Audi S8 Plus

  • BMW M2

  • BMW M4 GTS

  • Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

  • Ferrari 488 GTB

  • Ferrari LaFerrari

  • Ford Focus RS

  • Ford Mustang GT

  • Mazda MX-5

  • McLaren P1

  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS

  • Porsche 918

  • Rolls-Royce Dawn

  • Zenos E10S

Read more on:    calvin fisher  |  cape town  |  reviews  |  top gear  |  grand tour

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