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Ariel’s extraordinary off-road buggy

The Ariel Nomad Atom is a work of rare genius, though more a toy than a car.

742-Nomad

"The first thing you do when you see the extraordinary new Ariel Nomad in the flesh is smile," says Steve Sutcliffe in AutoExpress. You think, "I bet that thing's hilarious to drive." And you'd be right: "it's an absolute scream". Like its predecessor from the Ariel stable, the Atom, it is "a work of rare genius even better to drive than it is to look at".

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It flies to 60mph from rest in just 3.4 seconds, and feels "naughty" and "intense" to drive on theroad. Off-road, where it's been designed to go, it's better still. Ultimately, this is more a toy than a practical proposition as a car. But if a toy is what you're after, "it's like nothing else out there".

In 18 years of testing cars, none has amazed me like this one, says Matt Prior Dobie in Autocar. Nothing else on the road drives quite like it. "I adored it." It looks like a radio-controlled buggy made real, says Stephen Dobie in Top Gear, and, on a "fun-per-pound" basis, there's little to touch it at any price.

Price: £33,000Engine: 2,400cc, four cylinderPower: 235bhp at 7,200rpmTorque: 221 lb ft at 4,300rpmTop speed: 125mph

742-Mazda-MX5

A cheaper and saner drop-top for summer motoring

It's "reasonably punchy" to drive, even with the entry-level 1.5-litre engine: though not exactly quick, there's "just enough performance to keep you interested". Mazda has once again done a "fantastic" job. And at a price of around £19,000, it's something of a bargain too.

It looks smart and feels refined, says Ollie Marriage in Top Gear, and is fun to drive. "Not wide-eyed fun or sweaty-palm fun", but "easy, peppy fun" nonetheless. "The world deserves a small roadster as good as this."

Price: £19,000 (estimated)Engine: 1,500cc, four cylinderTop speed: 125mph0-62mph: 8.9 seconds

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