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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Caterham Seven

Overall verdict
Brilliant, fearsomely potent, and never less than addictive to drive.


Purist driving experience, old school charm meets new age ability


Cramped, uncomfortable, ancient-looking, old interior


What is it?

Archetypal old-stager based on a design by Lotus founder Colin Chapman 50-odd years ago, the Seven is a two-seat tub with wheels. Stripped and spartan, it remains a seminal driving experience for those interested in driving rather than simply travelling.

Equipped with modern engines and brakes, plus a kerbweight of (usually) around 550kg, the Seven can scare even the most outrageously powerful supercars – helped in part by modest dimensions and steering that connects direct to your brain. The core range is familiar but there are two new bookend additions; a sweet Suzuki 660cc turbo-engined Seven 160 (80hp but still 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds), and the 620 R, which pumps out 310bhp from a 2.0-litre Duartec in a 500kg car. That’s 620bhp per tonne, fact fans, and 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds. It’s quick.

Uncomfortable, cramped and noisy, with a devastatingly crappy fabric hood arrangement that’s harder to put up than a broken tent, it of course remains an absolute TG favourite.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.3 CSR 260 2dr
3.1s 260 £43,800
The cheapest
1.4 Classic SV 2dr
6.5s 100 £18,689
Continue: Driving