Top Gear is back on our screens with a Mexican road trip, in which each of the guys must drive something similar to the car they had in college and of course, put it through its paces along the way. Tanner Foust rolls up in a '91 Eagle Talon TSI, while Adam Ferrara shows up in an '82 Cadillac, unsurprisingly, and double unsurprisingly, Rutledge Wood has a '76 VW Microbus. Clearly, their tastes haven't changed too much since their college days.
The first challenge set in front of our hosts takes place in the parking lot of San Diego's venerable Qualcomm Stadium - it's all about football. They're supposed to score touchdowns, but instead they just run over two of the three balls. Tanner wins by virtue of being the only one not to deflate a football.
As they head into Mexico, Tanner and Adam reflect on how little Spanish they know, and Rutledge gets pulled over for an additional search by the police. This trip's off to a great start!
But just as Rut gets across the border, it's time for challenge number two: pick up some passengers at various locations, and drop them off at a local casino, with the first to complete the task being named the winner. Our boys have trouble with their maps and the language barrier, and then they realize that these aren't normal riders, either. Adam gets a carload of Mexican wrestlers, Tanner's got a quinceanera party, and Rut's riding with a mariachi band. "Clearly I had drawn the short straw," Adam reflects as the wrestlers argue amongst themselves.
Rutledge, who tries to teach the band anything other than the same song, wins, with Adam a close - and frustrated - second. Tanner finally rolls up a minute later, covered in cake, which tells you everything you need to know about how he was driving.
The next morning, while driving to Ensenada in the rain, the guys discuss embarrassing things they did in school - from Rutledge losing his scholarship to Tanner being kicked out of his dorm after drinking a bit too much - before being overcome by technical difficulties. Rut's bus has iffy brakes and Adam's Caddy blows a fuse.
Tanner thinks that this is a great time to suggest one of his infamous shortcuts. As they struggle through, Rut finds himself suddenly being rear-ended by an off-road racing vehicle that quickly leaves the entire Top Gear team literally in the dust. Then Tanner realizes that he's gotten them lost.
The gang finally arrives at the site of their third challenge, which involves car-mounted pinatas and bats. The goal is simple - to destroy each other's pinatas. It's a task made for "The Wrecker," and Adam quickly knocks out Tanner before crashing into the side of Rutledge's bus and sending it spinning. This means Rut's VW ends up relying on burro power to get to their final destination of San Felipe.
There's just one more challenge to go: turning their cars into "the ultimate spring break party starters." To Tanner, that means going parasailing with the Talon, which comes crashing back down to Earth. Adam's fireworks end up turning his Caddy into a fireball. This means Rutledge wins by default, and his donkey-powered VW is also their only ride home. So if you're looking for the best college car, apparently it's a Volkswagen Microbus. Go figure.
To sum this whole crazy escapade up: Rutledge drives around in a VW bus, Adam wrecks a few things, and Tanner causes trouble when he tries to show off in front of girls. Yep, Top Gear is definitely back.
For more Top Gear, check out my behind-the-scenes look at Season 3.5.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.