We road test... The Clarkson Hubby

David Randall assembled a top team to put an old model through his paces

Some say he's the biggest loudmouth on the planet. Others claim he's a former minor public schoolboy who never got over being rejected by Sandra Tomkins when he was 15. We only know he's the Clarkson Hubby. He was in the news again last week, and so we asked three experienced women to test drive him. This is what they found:

Performance "Looks good on paper," said one tester, "but really he's just all torque."

Noise A big drawback, said our reviewers. "In any situation," said one, "there was this constant droning noise. It just didn't stop."

Bodywork "Having seen him on television, I was expecting something smarter," said a tester. "A bit battered and worn, especially on top."

Immobiliser Doesn't have one. "A big omission," said all our testers.

Seat No one could accuse the Clarkson Hubby of not being well-upholstered, but all of our reviewers said they found the seat far too large.

Brakes The problem, said all of our test drivers, is not starting him, but stopping him. "You can press anything you like," said one, "but nothing happens. He just goes on and on and on."

Mirrors "He couldn't ever pass one," said our team. "Looking glasses, dark windows, even heavily lacquered vases. He just had to stop and admire himself."

Air intake Large enough, our reviewers reported, but one found that, towards the end of the day, these were apt to become clogged with granular deposits. However, a good sneeze often cleared them.

Airbags "This was one of the many problems," said one reviewer. "You tried to stop him, and there was just this gigantic explosion of hot air. Maddening."

Emissions Constant – and very smoky. "Judging by the exhaust," said one tester, "there's something very wrong here."

Flappy paddle Far too small, and overly flappy, our test drivers found. "I couldn't do a thing with it. It was utterly useless."

Steering "You tried to keep him on the straight and narrow," said a reviewer, "but he just kept on straying."

Road and other sense We pitted him against a crash dummy in a series of tests. The dummy won.

Reliability Now a relatively old model and prone to spluttering. Developed a cough after the mildest outing.

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