James May on ‘silly little cars,’ EVs, and the source of ‘The Grand Tour’ ideas

Self-driving cars and the end of car ownership for most people are supposedly just over the horizon, but James May isn’t worried.

The host of Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour thinks the rise of autonomous driving will wash away all of the boring stuff, and turn cars into a pure hobby solely for passionate enthusiasts. When ordinary people stop driving, there will also be plenty of gasoline left over for the people who want to use it for fun. In an interview with Digital Trends, May laid out this enticing vision of the future, and had quite a lot to say about the present state of the automobile too.

May says the small, basic vehicles can be just as fulfilling as the flashiest supercars.

The Grand Tour returns for another season on Amazon Prime December 8. May and co-hosts Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have had a rough year, with Hammond surviving a crash in the Rimac Concept One electric supercar and both Clarkson and May being laid low by illnesses at different times. But May said finishing the show wasn’t too difficult, downplaying his own illness as a case of food poisoning. The former hosts of Top Gear are also implementing some changes for season two, in large part due to negative audience feedback.

But May was much more interested in talking about the actual cars he and his colleagues drove this season. Despite his nickname of “Captain Slow,” May definitely likes his supercars. But another highlight was the Volkswagen Up! GTI, the performance version of a tiny hatchback VW sells in Europe. He’s also looking forward to the new Tesla Roadster.

When it comes to cars, May says the small, basic vehicles can be just as fulfilling as the flashiest supercars. It’s the cars that sit in the middle of the spectrum that tend to be boring, he believes. Looking at middle-of-the-road stalwarts like the Toyota Camry and Buick Lacrosse, we can definitely see his point.

Check out the full video for more of May’s musings on what makes a car great, the supercars he wished he was able to drive for this season of The Grand Tour, and the secret source of ideas for the show.


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