Top Gear Takes on Tijuana

th(PCM) Recently, the guys from the History Channel’s “Top Gear” figuratively went back in time and drove the same or extremely similar vehicles they owned during college on a fun-filled road trip to Mexico.

As an article on the History Channel’s website explains it, Tanner spent the show driving along in a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI, Adam was in an 1982 Cadillac, and Rutledge drove a 1976 VW Microbus. Along the way, the guys went through a series of challenges, including picking up local residents and dropping them off at a casino. Of course, since “Top Gear” is always chock full of entertaining moments, Rut’s group of “locals” was a mariachi band, who gamely packed themselves into the close quarters of the Microbus.

The episode undoubtedly caused many viewers to pine away for their own cars from college days. While some may wonder what happened to that 1981 Toyota Starlet with the pull-out choke (that broke off during freshman year), others may be fondly (or not so fondly, depending on the car’s reliability record) remembering a plethora of Pontiacs, VW Bugs, Honda Accords and old station wagons, complete with wooden sides.

For those who are inspired to find the same make and model of car from college, there are many ways to go about it. For example, searching used car dealers in Phoenix is one sure way to locate them, as is perusing the auctions on eBay and looking through the listings on Craigslist. Who knows? Maybe some “Top Gear” viewers will end up purchasing their college car’s twin, and decide to take it on their own road trip.  It could happen!

As for what college kids are likely to be driving these days, US News and World Report compiled a list of what they feel are the best cars for college students. Parents will appreciate the fact that the cars are safe and budget-friendly, while the young people driving them will like that they look good and have a decent number of features.

Best Cars For College

The Ford Fiesta was named as one of the best cars priced less than $15,000. It provides college students with reliable transportation and a pretty impressive number of features, including the optional SYNC infotainment system, which can read text messages to the driver. The Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and Kia Forte also make the list of cars that are perfect for budget-wise college kids.

In the $15,000 to $20,00 range, the article suggests the Hyundai Elantra, the Jeep Patriot, and the Kia Optima—a car that many reviewers feel looks more expensive than its price tag indicates. In addition to its impressive 35 mph highway fuel economy rating, the Optima earned a five-star overall crash test rating from the federal government. This, of course, will probably help it catch the attention of the producers over at “Top Gear,” one day, when the Optima heads off on a long road trip as strains of mariachi music fill the air.

Top Gear Takes on Tijuana also appeard on World of Pop Culture.

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