Top Gear at Burghley: horsepower takes on an equestrian challenge

  • 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

    Click here to watch the full episode

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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