First, some house keeping – to those wondering about History titling this Tuesday’s episode the season finale: it is, sort of. But there are ten more episodes in the oven that will appear on History in the new year.
In this journey, Top Gear USA explores the adage “there’s no vehicle on earth tougher than a rental car.” Rut, Tanner and Adam take on some of the more inhospitable terrain found in the United States in three rental car classics.
The journey begins in the tourist mecca of Monument Valley, Arizona. The hosts are tasked with traveling 130 miles, as the crow flies, to the off-roader’s paradise of Moab Utah, home to the most famous slick rock trails in the world. He who arrives with the least damage to their car wins—and there’s no damage waiver to save their butts.
Rock-strewn mule paths are not the natural habitat of Rut’s subcompact Toyota Yaris, Adam’s “sporty” V6 Mustang or Tanner’s premium-class Lincoln Town Car. They decide to make “adjustments,” easily reversible at the end of the trail, to harden their cars up for the adventure ahead. Rut and Adam get more off-road biased tires, and Tanner takes it to the next level with gnarly mud tires and a winch.
The trail immediately leads them into the bottom of a sand-filled wash—the same conditions that maroon even Baja trucks. Where there’s sand and dirt, add a little water and you get mud. And what do three pigs driving someone else’s cars do when they find mud? Wallow. Tanner, it turns out, might have had the right idea with that winch…
They pass into the Elk Ridge Mountains, where the trail gets pretty gnarly pretty quickly. Think Jeep adverts – rocky switchbacks barely hanging onto the side of mountains and 600-foot drops to greet a misplaced tire…
After a night filled with as much sleep as shoddy mechanical conveyances allow, the boys head towards Lockhart Basin, whose jagged rocks are hungry for oil pans and driveshafts. A real test of vehicles equipped with 33” tires and featuring massive articulation. This does not describe our hosts’ rental cars, which can barely pass over a standing Coke can. Adam sinks his spurs into the Mustang… hard enough to origami his skid plate.
What’s left of our hosts and once-gleaming rental cars near Moab, UT when a significant problem presents itself: A very large, very sheer cliff face. Tanner relies on his engineering skills, Rut on the engineering skills of others and Adam, apparently, on the wisdom of R Kelly.
After all cars and hosts make it to a lower altitude, they head in to town and hit a carwash where they find out whether body damage washes off. Will the boys get lucky and land a rental clerk with a massive glaucoma? Will they test the limits of their credit cards in one shot?
Find out American fans of American Top Gear on History this Tuesday at 9/8 central. You can see older episodes on the History Channel Top Gear site and get breaking news on the Top Gear USA Facebook page . Let us know what you think!