The latest series of Top Gear has been praised by critics – but many say there is still room for improvement.
This series sees Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid and Chris Harris take the lead presenting roles after the departure of Chris Evans last year.
Writing in The Telegraph, Ed Power described it as a “roaring return”.
But Radio Times critic Frances Taylor wrote: “What they haven’t yet perfected or polished is a slick dynamic between the three of them.”
An average of 2.8 million viewers tuned in to the first episode on Sunday evening – with a peak of 3.1 million as the show reached its climax.
Ed Power said: “If a few clunking elements still need tinkering with, the all new Top Gear nonetheless impressed as it left the starting grid.
“Whether it can keep up the momentum across the next two months is harder to predict.”
Digital Spy’s Tom Eames said the show was “MUCH more fun than last year”.
He wrote: “The weak link of 2016 has gone in the shape of Chris Evans, and the best three presenters have been elevated to an equal status. And it’s worked wonders.”
But, he added: “There are still a few quibbles that need to be ironed out in time. Mainly, the studio segments still feel a little forced.”
Caroline Frost of The Huffington Post said: “From the off, it was immediately clear that the new team of Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid, has worked tirelessly to play to its strengths, previously overshadowed by former frontman Chris Evans.”
She added: “What they do now have is a bit more chemistry between the hosts. The return to three people was a solid decision and while some might not want a name like LeBlanc involved, he’s good at what he does here and he’s enjoyable to watch.”
The Guardian‘s Sam Wollaston compared the new trio’s chemistry with their predecessors.
“Whatever you think of [Clarkson, Hammond and May’s] asinine, middle-aged laddishness, it’s hard to deny that there was something between them, a connection, a chemistry,” he wrote.
“Here, though, it’s more like speed-dating: no one really seems to know anyone else.
“It’s not quite working yet. They are overdoing the bants – laughing too hard at Matt’s gags, and trying too hard with their own.”
The Radio Times‘s Frances Taylor said: “What is immediately clear is that Evans’ bulky salary has instead been spent on the show itself, making everything a little bit bigger and dynamic and look so much better.
“What they haven’t yet perfected or polished is a slick dynamic between the three of them and a natural chemistry doesn’t shine through. It’s still not quite there.”
Writing in The Sun, Ally Ross said: “Matt LeBlanc may still come across like Dylan from The Magic Roundabout, but he is now capable of looking all of his co-hosts in the eye for more than 2.3 seconds.
“This small miracle is possible, of course, because BBC2 has got rid of the shouty ginger tyrant, Chris Evans, and that hideous yellow T-shirt he wore every single episode of his short yet noisy tenure.”
What did the viewers think?
Many of you have been getting in touch with us over email to let us know what you thought of the new series.
John said: “I am happy to say, after just one show, it is almost back to what it was five years ago i.e. before the former threesome started getting a little too silly.”
But Nigel said: I have been watching Top Gear for over 30 years and have always enjoyed all of its incarnations, however I have just turned it off for the first time ever.
“The presenters are trying way too hard in trying to be funny and copy the previous team instead of trying to be more entertaining and factual and find their own way. The three of them just do not gel as a team.”
Writing on Twitter, Amy B was more positive, writing: “Ten minutes in and I already know this series is better than the last.”
Vicky tweeted: “I think Top Gear has been great tonight. Change is usually hard to accept but I’ll be giving it a chance after tonight.”