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'Top Gear' (USA) Recap: Sneaking Around In 'Electric Cars'

November 6th, 2013 8:28am EST | Brittany Frederick By: Brittany Frederick

Top Gear USA

Now that our Top Gear hosts have been deported back from Canada, it's time for them to turn their attention to electric cars. It's the usual shenanigans: show up in a locale (this time it's Michigan) with three different rides, put them through a series of challenges, and then the winner (probably Tanner) gets to drive some awesome, tangentially related supercar.

There's the Fiat 500E for Adam, the Nissan Leaf for Rutledge, and the Ford Focus Electric, which unsurprisingly goes to Tanner because he drives a Ford Fiesta on those days when he's obliterating other racers. While Rut is confused by the Leaf, the lack of standard car noises disappoints everyone. Although, leave it to Adam to spot a potential upside.

Adam: I guess a silent car is good if you want to kill blind people.

It must be a Top Gear mandate that the first challenge of every episode is a drag race, and here it pits the trio of electric cars against the smoke and squeal of a Chevy Camaro ZL1. Can our heroes clock a faster quarter-mile time than the Camaro? Well, not in their present rides, but production has given them some electric-powered alternatives: a Chevy S10 truck, a Porsche 944, and a dragster with enough juice in its battery to allegedly "light up a suburb." Adam takes the truck, while Tanner declares for the dragster, leaving the bearded one with the Porsche.

Adam scares the hell out of everyone (as usual) while beating the Camaro's time by just one second; Rutledge scares himself while going more than a half-second faster than Adam. (One must laugh at the fact that Rutledge's idea of a shocked exclamation is a shoutout to the Aunt Jemima brand of pancake mix.)  Tanner's dragster wipes the floor with everyone, though, coming in at just over eight and a half seconds, or more than three seconds faster than the Camaro. That's no surprise: you gave the professional racing driver the one actual racing vehicle in the bunch, what did you think was going to happen?

The second challenge also involves speed, but it takes place in reverse. Tanner's Focus does 20 MPH backwards, which is agonizingly slow in his book. Adam's Fiat hits 27 MPH, and he almost hits the foliage. Rut, who's employed a little trickery by asking someone at Nissan how to disable the Leaf's limiter, trumps the existing world record with 57 MPH. Of course, his colleagues are not impressed.

Tanner: It's a world record - and he almost just died.

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Photo Credits: History


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