If you are a fan of Top Gear, you will know that in pretty much every episode which isn’t a one-hour (or even longer at times) long film special edition has a famous guest who takes a very average car round a track after having a chat with Jeremy Clarkson. This Segment is known as ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’.
In the past, Top Gear has had 3 Reasonably Priced Cars. This first one being a Suzuki Liana, a cheap saloon which would set you back less than £10,000. Can’t disagree with such a low price point for a car built for you to get from point A to point B then.
Fast forward into Series 8 and the aging Liana was replaced with a bang-up-to-date Chevrolet Lacetti. Judging by the average lap times, this was faster than its predecessor and was also available for a very reasonable £10,000.
By Series 10, Chevrolet introduced a replacement for the Lacetti (the Cruze) so it was time for Top Gear to find a new reasonably priced car. This time is wasn’t blue and nor was it a saloon. It was a brand new Kia Cee’d in a dark shade of red. Now at £14,000, the reasonable tag became slightly questionable, but it is a Kia, so you are bound to get lots of kit. Not that any of it is useful when it is being thrashed around a track by various celebs.
After Jeremy Clarkson reviewed the new Cee’d in the last series using his famous reviewing style (involving a game of rugby using a bunch of Cee’ds and Sportages!) It was clear the Cee’d has had it’s day and it was time for the old car to retire. So what followed the Kia this series?
An Astra. Yes, a red hatchback which rolled out of the Vauxhall factory in Luton. Out of all the Reasonably Priced Cars Top Gear has had in the past, this one is the most mainstream one yet. And the priciest. The TechLine featured will set you back £17,000. That’s a far cry from the original reasonably priced car value. To be fair, the average cost of a family hatchback is rising in a bid for motoring firms to showcase their premium image. But isn’t the whole point of the RPC is to show you can get a quality car for less than the average selling price of most cars on sale today?
In my opinion, the car pictured below, the Dacia Sandero, would have made the perfect reasonably priced car. Any Top Gear fan would know about the “Good News!” running gag by James May which hints at new Dacia news, so the brand has a firm place in the show. Even the top of the range model will only set you back less than £9,000, making it cheaper than any other Reasonably Priced Car Top Gear has ever had on the show.
Ok, so Top Gear had to make some other considerations about the new Reasonably Priced Car other than looking at value alone. The Dacia is considerably smaller than any other RPC, so larger guests may have trouble fitting in the car. Also, some guests may be only able to drive automatic cars and the Dacia cannot be specified with an Auto ‘box. Finally, there is the warranty. This was probably the biggest selling point of the Astra as it comes with a Lifetime warranty! No doubt that is going to be heavily used throughout its course of being a RPC then….
So are you satisfied with Top Gear’s new Reasonably Priced Car, or do you think the title is misleading nowadays? What would you have liked to see as a Reasonably Priced Car?