Top Gear took equine inspiration for their horsepower in the final episode of the series.

The grounds of Burghley House — home to Burghley Horse Trials — were host to a very different sort of competition to its autumn four-star.

Presenters Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid tested the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Range Rover Velar and Volvo XC60 in two eventing-themed tests.

Top Gear

Credit: Press Association

There was no dressage phase — flying changes and half-passes may have proved tricky even with the expert handling and extra features of these new cars — but the trio compared the new SUVs in a trailer “showjumping” test and a cross-country race.

“Horse trials are the ultimate test of horse and rider — or in our case, car and driver,” said Matt.

Matt and Chris showed expert skill in hitching up the trailer — helped by the rear-view cameras in both vehicles — although ran into trouble later in the task.

But every rider, parent or helper who has ever hitched up a trailer could sympathise with Rory’s struggle.

The course involved several fences, a water jump, a seesaw and a rumble strip and reversing into a narrow pen. Naturally, this was chaos.

The cross-country featured a mad dash across the Lincolnshire parkland before a splash through the Lion Bridge complex and a race for the finish.

Some riders shared their delight at seeing their favourite Burghley landmarks on prime-time BBC TV.

Some, however, were less than impressed…

While the cars coped well with the high-speed challenge across tricky terrain, a horse would clearly still have the edge.

“The Alpha Romeo is a thoroughbred, the Volvo is clearly a work horse and the Velar is Rory’s show pony,” quipped Matt.

“If you want all the fun of owning a horse, with none of the hassle, buy an Alfa Romeo Stelvio.”

H&H says thanks for the tip, but think we’ll stick with the horses

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