Caterham’s latest pocket rocket

Caterham’s new model – the Seven 170 – is the lightest yet and is great fun to drive. Chris Carter reports

British car marque Caterham has introduced its lightest model yet. That’s no mean feat given that “these titchy two-seat sports cars have never been ripe for fat shaming”, says Rowan Horncastle on Top Gear. The new Seven 170 is “edging on anorexic”. It weighs just a little over 440kg, “which is about two times as heavy as the heart of a blue whale” or half that of an Alpine A110, a car held in high regard by automotive weight watchers. It is “ridiculously light” and this at a time when cars tend to be getting ever heavier.

The Seven 170 follows in the tracks of the simple Caterham 160 of a few years ago, and follows the same Japanese Kei car (the smallest road-car category in Japan) principles. Under the aluminium sardine-tin bonnet is a Suzuki K-car 660cc, three-cylinder unit, boosted by a tiny turbo. “In a world of 600bhp super saloons and 2,000bhp EV [electric vehicle] rocket sleds, the 170’s power and torque figures look like typos: 84bhp and 85lb ft, respectively.” Nor will you find anything in the way of driver assistance. “None. Zip. Nada.”

But it is precisely this paucity of power and weight that is the “ultimate expression of the brand”, says Curtis Moldrich for Car. It has the power-to-weight ratio of a daddy-long-legs. “It feels frantic and chaotic – but never slow.” But what the 170 lacks in horsepower, it makes up for in “visceral communication and fun”. 

This is also Caterham’s least-polluting car, delivering 58.4mpg and 109g/km of carbon dioxide, “which, given that it can hit 60mph in less than seven seconds, shows what saving weight and reducing frontal area can do for you”, says Matt Prior in Autocar.

The 170 comes in two flavours. There’s the S version that comes with the standard weather gear, heater and carpets. And there’s the more racey R, with its sports suspension pack, carbon fibre dashboard and composite seats. The S will set you back £22,990 (£1,000 more for the R) if you build it yourself. Caterham will do it for you for £2,395.

Recommended

Four high-quality US stocks to give shelter from the storm
Share tips

Four high-quality US stocks to give shelter from the storm

Professional investor Timothy Parton of the JPMorgan American Investment Trust picks four solid US stocks to buy now.
24 May 2022
Three undervalued mid-cap stocks with attractive prospects
Share tips

Three undervalued mid-cap stocks with attractive prospects

Professional investor Katen Patel of the JPMorgan Mid Cap Investment Trust picks three fast-growing mid-cap stocks to buy now.
24 May 2022
Could a stronger euro bring relief to global markets?
Currencies

Could a stronger euro bring relief to global markets?

The European Central Bank is set to end its negative interest rate policy. That should bring some relief to markets, says John Stepek. Here’s why.
24 May 2022
2021 Akitu: New Zealand’s finest “white” pinot noir
Wine

2021 Akitu: New Zealand’s finest “white” pinot noir

Act without delay to secure this enchanting Kiwi white – there is nothing like it on earth
24 May 2022

Most Popular

Imperial Brands has an 8.3% yield – but what’s the catch?
Share tips

Imperial Brands has an 8.3% yield – but what’s the catch?

Tobacco company Imperial Brands boasts an impressive dividend yield, and the shares look cheap. But investors should beware, says Rupert Hargreaves. H…
20 May 2022
Everything is collapsing at once – here’s what to do about it
Investment strategy

Everything is collapsing at once – here’s what to do about it

Equity and bond markets are crashing, while inflation destroys the value of cash. Merryn Somerset Webb looks at where investors can turn to protect th…
23 May 2022
Barry Norris: we’re already in the 1970s. Here’s how to invest
Investment strategy

Barry Norris: we’re already in the 1970s. Here’s how to invest

Merryn talks to Barry Norris of Argonaut capital about the parallels between now and the 1970s; the transition to “green” energy; and the one sector w…
19 May 2022