Jeremy Clarkson’s Most & Least Favorite Cars (& Where He’s Wrong)
Apparently Mr. Clarkson can’t go to the loo without being asked for his favorite car. While in person he begs off, here’s the best & worst from his reviews.
Apart from his broadcast gig (from BBC to Amazon – doesn’t seem like a step in the right direction to me), Clarkson also writes auto reviews for The Sunday Times of London. To help spare him from having to answer each inquisitive fan, the newspaper rooted through 20 years of his reviews and collected his comments on the five cars to which he gave his highest rating and to which cars he gave his lowest. We’ve published snippets of those reviews for your enjoyment.
We don’t necessarily agree with Mr. Clarkson in all of his reviews, so we’ve added our comments for your entertainment.
To start reading, click on NEXT below.
5. Ariel Atom 2 (September 19, 2004)
“This car — if you can call it that — is motoring nirvana. Because there is no bodywork (actually, because there is no anything) it weighs less than 1100 lbs., which in automotive terms is an ounce. It makes a Lotus Elise look like Terry Wogan (a heavy-set BBC broadcaster – ed.). You could fit such a thing with the engine from a motorized pepper grinder and it would go like Apollo 8. 0-60mph is dealt with in just 3.5 seconds. We’re talking motorbike performance here. But because the Atom has four wheels it won’t fall over when you leave it, you don’t have to wear a helmet, and fetish clothes are not de rigueur. With the engine air intake trying to suck my left ear off, and the wind wreaking havoc with my hair, I kept bursting into spontaneous laughter. You would too. Clarkson’s verdict ★★★★★”
Can’t argue here. We all love the Ariel Atom.
4. Range Rover Evoque Prestige SD4 auto (October 30, 2011)
“If I had a job selling BMW X3s or Ford Kugas or any other high-riding semi-off-road car, I’d be on the lavatory, whimpering. Because anyone who wants such a car and doesn’t choose the Evoque is so mad, they will have lost their driving license. Clarkson’s verdict ★★★★★”. I don’t need one, but boy do I want one.”
And I think you’d be mad to want one. On a power-to-weight basis the Range Rover Evoque is below the class average, it has as much storage space with the back seat up as your refrigerator (that’s no joke – look it up) and its towing capacity isn’t enough to pull a cruiser on a motorcycle trailer. Oh yeah, but it’s built in England with an English name which is worth a few extra stars, to the mind of Mr. Clarkson (even though Jaguar Land Rover is owned by Tata Motors of India).
3. Ferrari 458 Spider (July 15, 2012)
As I write now, there are shivers — and I’m not kidding — running up and down my spine as I recall the way it felt on roads near my home. The lightness. The savagery. The noise. The beauty. The trees rushing by, sheltering me from 93m miles of sky. Then you have the gearbox that changes down not in a few milliseconds but instantly. Bang. Stand on the brakes — bang again. And again. Turn. And POWEEEERRRR. Clarkson’s verdict ★★★★★
Not much to argue with here. I’ve not driven a Ferrari 458, but did spend some quality time on a race track with a Ferrari F430 Scuderia and I understand exactly how he feels.
2. Ford Fiesta Titanium 1.6 (November 30, 2008)
“It’s a mind-blowing car. Yes, you can get a roomier Far East box for less, and you would do just that if you lived in a house made from bamboo. But you don’t. It’s sensible. It’s well priced. It’s much more comfortable and quiet than you have any right to hope for.
Clarkson’s verdict ★★★★★.”
Seriously? Of course, if you’ve watched the TV show you know that Clarkson is a jingoist. In his mind, anything made in Britain is superior to the same thing made somewhere else. So therefore, even if the Ford Fiesta is an OK little car made around the world, the British version is vastly better. And how it fits between an LFA and a 458 is beyond me.
1. Lexus LFA (September 9, 2012)
“You fire up the engine, snick it into first, move off and … whoa! The noise beggars belief. This is not a car that shouts or barks or growls. It howls. Up there, on the moors, it sounded otherworldly. Like a werewolf that had put its foot in a gin trap. I have to say I loved it. It’s an intelligent car, built by intelligent people. In some ways it’s raw and visceral; in others it’s a lesson in common sense. Engine at the front, two seats in the middle and a boot you can use. And yet, despite this, there’s a sense that you’re in a real, full-on racer.”
“Clarkson’s verdict ★★★★☆. It lost a star because of the ($375,000) price but I couldn’t fault it in any other way.”
Not too much to argue with here, as the LFA has been universally praised. The question is – would you pick an Lexus LFA over a Ferrari F12 which is available at around the same price.
And now the Five Worst.
5. Chevrolet Orlando 1.8 LTZ (January 1, 2012)
“It is a 15½ft, seven-seat people carrier of monumental awfulness. We will start with the seats. Yes, there are seven, but there is no one alive today that could fit in any of the five in the back. It’s also thirsty and unrefined and sounds like a wounded whale. Handling? Terrible. The ride? Terrible. Seat comfort? Terrible. It was plainly styled by a man who gets excited at the thought of house bricks, and finished off on the inside with a range of plastics that feel like Cellophane. Clarkson’s verdict ★☆☆☆☆”
Now dead (cancelled after the 2014 model year) the Korean-built, Chevy Cruze-based Orlando was never sold in the US, though Chevy did push them on the Canadians, who were too polite to refuse.
4. Lada Riva (March 11, 2012)
“I don’t know who made the car I drove. But I suspect he was very angry about something because it was horrific. The steering column appeared to have been welded to the dashboard. The brakes caused the car to speed up and turn left, violently, at the same time. The buttons on the dash appeared to have been put in by Janet Ellis from Blue Peter (a BBC children’s TV show – ed.), and the engine had plainly been lifted from a cement mixer that spent the past 30 years chewing up rebel soldiers in southern Sudan. Clarkson’s verdict ★☆☆☆☆”
If you’re not familiar with the Lada Riva it was a 1970 Fiat 124 sedan design licensed by the Soviet Union and in production until 2014. It’s sort of like finding out that North Korea is still building Corvairs.
3. Hyundai Accent 1.5 CRTD GSI 5dr (January 16, 2005)
“Dynamically, the Hyundai Accent is possibly the worst new car on the market today. Every other car on the road goes, stops, steers and rides with more aplomb. There’s something I’ve found out as well. If you buy a Hyundai, or any car from that part of the world, you will be seen as a bore. Invitations will dry up, your kids will refuse to speak to you, your wife will sleep with your friends and you may end up committing suicide. Clarkson’s verdict ☆☆☆☆☆”
Not a big fan of the old Accent, though his comments were a little OTT, wouldn’t you say? I wonder if his opinion has been changed by the Hyundai Genesis?
2. Porsche 911 Carrera (March 18, 2012)
“I could even see myself buying one. It’s a fab car [but] I’ve realized the Porsche actually gets no stars at all because it’s useless. Last Sunday the tyre went flat. There is no spare. And no depot carried anything that would fit. Unless the manufacturer can sort this out, there is simply no point in buying its cars. Because one day you will need, say, to take your mum to hospital, and you will have to phone and cancel. Clarkson’s verdict ☆☆☆☆☆”
Seriously, the entire review is based on a flat tire? Instead of looking for a spare, he could have purchased a new tire and that would have been the end of it. Porsche would have gladly reimbursed him (even he has more money than they have right now). But does he know that an enormous number of Minis built (since BMW of Germany took them over) use Run Flat tires? Is he telling everyone not to purchase a car that has run flat tires or just ones that aren’t made in England?
1. Reva G-Wiz DC (August 5, 2007)
“It is very small. And it is even smaller than that when you’re inside. It is so small, in fact, that anyone over the age of four will find their left knee is jammed behind the windscreen washer switch, causing it to spray the windscreen constantly as you drive along. This is the first car I’ve driven that seems to have no top speed at all. It’s like walking, only less comfortable. A recent test by Top Gear magazine found that it was unsafe at pretty much any of its speeds. All two of them. Children playing in the street can hear a Range Rover coming and know to get out of the way. The G-Wiz, on the other hand, is near-silent, which means they may run in front of you to retrieve a lost ball. You may then hit them … causing your car to disintegrate and your legs to come off. Clarkson’s verdict ★☆☆☆☆”
I’m not at all familiar with this car and very much want to keep it that way. I’m just unclear how they managed to fit Jeremy Clarkson into this thing.
Categories: Gear Grinding