Top Gear Thursday: A Joyride in the Original Dodge Dart

If you’re like us, you couldn’t see anything that even remotely suggested the original Dodge Dart in the new car with the familiar name that Chrysler unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show this week. Yet, after a hiatus of 36 years, the Dart is coming back, and Top Gear UK says “it looks like something George Jetson would find in Jane’s bedside drawer.”

The New Dart.

To mark the occasion, Top Gear decided to take an old Dart for a ride.

Old Dodge Dart.

“And we discovered something interesting,” the website wrote. “The original Dodge Dart’s actually rubbish. And it’s a bloody good job Chrysler doesn’t intend to build anything remotely similar.”

The original Dodge Dart - another view.

• Also, on Top Gear UK, Jeremy Clarkson wrote a piece about his daughter’s first car. And he says that when it’s his daughter, he’s not interested in any of the car criteria he normally looks at on the show.

“Style? Speed? Value? Handling? All the things that usually matter suddenly don’t any more,” Clarkson writes. “All I was interested in was safety. I wanted a car with 2,000 airbags. I wanted a bouncy castle with wipers.”

For Clarkson, the bigger the better.

“A Volvo with elephantitis. That rig they used for moving space shuttles. I wanted Lincolnshire, with wheels.”

Clarkson couldn’t find insurers who would take on the models he felt the most comfortable with, because their engines were too big.

In the end, he settled on a Ford Fiesta.

“By far and away the best thing about this car is this: it is gloriously slow,” Clarkson says, happy because the figures his daughter won’t be driving fast enough to get in a bad accident. “In a race from 0 to 60, it would be beaten by geology. Put your foot down in fifth at 50mph, and absolutely nothing happens.”

Richard Hammond reviews for the Audi Q3 for Britain’s Daily Mirror, noting somewhat bemusedly that it’s a German SUV made in Spain. But he says, “Any worries that the Spanish can’t build a German car are removed when you slip into the Q3’s cabin. There’s plenty of soft-touch trim and brushed aluminium knobs and switches. It gets even better later in the day when it’s dark and you’ve got the soft glow of the interior LEDs warming the interior.”

Top Gear UK heralds the arrival of India’s first (reasonably priced) supercar: the DC Avanti.

• This just might qualify as news. We saw an item on Top Gear’s UK site that doesn’t involve racing or blowing things up. Honest. Here’s how they introduced it:

“Every day, something mental happens in Russia. Today is no different.

“This is a truck. A big yellow truck. And it’s stuck in a river. There’s only one way to get it out — floor the blighter. Then continue flooring it until, like the Lady of the Lake offering up Excalibur, it extricates itself in a blaze of damp glory.

“Commitment. This chap has it.

“Now watch.”