"Gentler, kinder and all the better for it."
The Guardian's Tim Dowling is among the critics welcoming the return of Top Gear with its new hosts - racing driver Chris Harris, retired cricketer Freddie Flintoff and comic Paddy McGuinness.
"There was likeability as the hosts opened the show," reported Digital Spy's Alistair McGeorge.
The Telegraph's Michael Hogan said the presenters' "chemistry was immediate, their camaraderie warm".
Overnight viewing figures showed an average of 2.54 million viewers which represented a 12.7% share of the audience, making it BBC Two's most watched programme of the day.
By comparison, the launch of the previous series of Top Gear drew an overnight average audience of 1.97 million in February.