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Top Gear US Season 1 Episode 4 "HALO vs. Velociratptor"
On Episode 4, Tanner races a Ford Raptor against a HALO jumper in a desert, Adam tests the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Kid Rock test his driving skills, and Adam and Rutledge try to find a replacement for the Humvee.
Segment 1: Enter the Velociraptor
Hennessey Velociraptor 475
The segment starts with Tanner driving a Hennessey Velociraptor on a rancher's land in a desert. The Velociraptor can go up to 120 mph on any surface. The Ford Raptor costs $42,000 and upgrades cost an additional $7,000. The total cost is $49,000 for car that can go over anything and can go fast on any surface. The suspension travel distance allows the car to handle any bump, but the car does roll over on its axis while turning. Tanner drives the Velociraptor through Eloy, Arizona, flicks the switch that enables the truck to make a loud exhaust noise, and everyone in Eloy can hear the truck go through. Tanner attracted too much attention and was asked to leave town. Tanner then takes the truck off-road and the truck just handles the terrain with no problem. Tanner gets some serious air with the Velociraptor. Tanner could not find a car that could race against the Velociraptor off-road. Tanner introduces his challenger, a HALO jumper.
Segment 2: HALO vs. Velociraptor
The HALO jumper and the Velociraptor will travel 5 miles. The Velociraptor will do it on the ground and will try to reach the finish line before the HALO jumper lands from a 5 mile drop. The Velociraptor will travel on both pavement and dirt. Tanner will be driving through a ranch and cannot hit a cow, or the rancher can legally shoot at Tanner. It is a close race, but the HALO jumper wins. The show returns to the studio and Tanner and Rutledge discuss why the truck is such a good value at $49,000. Rutledge hugs the truck.
Segment 3: Adam gets some Gull-wings
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG
Adam is standing next to a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and starts talking about the car. He then says that Mercedes-Benz has come out with the successor to the 300SL. The show cuts to Adam describing the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the spiritual successor to the 300SL Gull-wing. The SLS is the first car built from scratch by AMG. Its 6.3L V8 makes 563 HP. The 300SL was the fastest car when it first hit the road. However, the SLS will not challenge for the fastest street-legal production car title since Bugatti and SSC are battling it out. The SLS will do 197 mph, and that is fast. Where as the 300SL was built to win races at the cost of luxury and comfort, the SLS was built for performance and luxury. The interior of the SLS is inspired by airplanes. Adam impressed with the cars handling and feel. Adam comments that the SLS is more at home on the track then in the city. Adam then demonstrates the difficulties of the gull-wing, and iconic trait of the 300SL and the SLS. Adam is too small to close the door while sitting in the car. Adam questions the styling. He likes the styling of the car up to the doors. He does not like the rear of the SLS. Adam says the car has a Y factor, as in "Why don't I love this car?" The show returns to the studio and the hosts are standing between the 300SL and the SLS. Adam says he loves the 300SL and not the SLS. Adam says he likes parts of the SLS. Adam says the hates the rear of the SLS and the doors are fun for 20 minutes. He also says whoever owns a car with doors like that is a "dick." The SLS is handed over to the Stig, who drives the SLS around the test track in 1:27.6. The segment ends with saying that the SLS was fun, but it is not the 300Sl, and he wanted the SLS to be like the 300SL. The Stig then drives a Hennessey F-150 Velociraptor 600 around the test track. The Velociraptor's time is 1:39.0. That is very slow compared to the other cars, but the Velociraptor is a truck.
Segment 4: Kid Rock rocks the Suzuki SX4
It is Kid Rock's turn to be the Big Star in a Small Car. He is interviewed by Rutledge. Kid Rock talks about growing up around cars in Detroit, Michigan. He loves the retro movement by the Big Three and also wants to see something new from the Big Three. Rutledge asks him if he would own a Prius. Kid Rock wants nothing to do with the Prius. Kid Rock calls the Prius uncool. Kid Rock's lap is shown and he did a wet lap around the track in 1:43.9.
Segment 5: Finding a Cheap Replacement for the Humvee.
Chevrolet El Camino
Honda Del Sol
The US Army has retired the Humvee from military service. Adam and Rutledge are given the task to find a cheap, less aggressive car to replace the Humvee. The two guys meet at a paintball field. Adam arrives first with a 1977 Chevrolet El Camino loaded with paintball guns and a paintball gun turret on the truck bed. Rutledge shows up with a 1997 Honda Del Sol armed with paintball guns. The goal is to cross the paintball battlefield first while decorating the other car with paint. The loser has to shoot himself in the foot with a paintball gun. Adam's strategy is to set up an ambush, get out of the car, and unleash the turret on Rutledge. Rutledge lines up his rear trunk guns and fires at Adam. The guys keep shooting at each other. The two cars collide and shooting commences. Rutledge escapes and reaches the otherside of the battlefield and wins. Adam has to shoot himself in the foot, which was awesome to watch. Adam is more pissed that he lost to Rutledge then having to shoot himself in the foot. I would have shot Rutledge in the face. The show returns to the studio. Top Gear's recommendation is to use the Del Sol to replace the Humvee.
Overall, this was an OK show by Top Gear standards. There was a cool race between an off-road truck and a HALO jumper. Top Gear UK has done that, so no points to Top Gear US. The SLS segment was acceptable, but not good. The military replacement segment was subpar, aside from Adam shooting himself in the foot. It is an average episode.
Final Verdict: 5 out of 10 Stigs.
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