Top Gear: What did the critics think of the new series?

Image caption Chris Harris, Matt LeBlanc and Rory Reid front the new series

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".

"If a few clunking elements still need tinkering with, the all new Top Gear nonetheless impressed as it left the starting grid," he said.

But, he added: "Whether it can keep up the momentum across the next two months is harder to predict."

Matt LeBlanc on Top Gear's life after Chris Evans

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.

Last year's opening episode was watched by 4.4 million people but the viewing figures dropped considerably as the series went on.

Image caption James McAvoy was the celebrity guest on the first episode of the new series

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.

Image caption Harris, LeBlanc and Reid filmed in Kazakhstan for the first episode

"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."

Image caption Sabine Schmitz will appear alongside Rory Reid later in the series

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."

Image caption The opening episode was watched by 2.8 million viewers

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