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Caterham Super Seven review

2001 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 53.0
” Stripped-down retro-roadster offers huge fun for little cash “

At a glance

Price new £13,245 - £43,855
Road tax cost £0
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Fuel economy Not tested to latest standards
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types


Pros & cons

  • Fun and involving
  • Back to basics appeal
  • Thrilling pace
  • Impractical 
  • Open to the elements
  • Heavy controls

Written by Murray Scullion Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 3 November 2022


Not many test drives start with the phrase ‘I wouldn’t use the window washers too much. The water comes in through the windscreen’. But then we’re not writing about most cars here.

The Caterham Seven has essentially been in production since 1957, although at first it wore a Lotus badge. While it still looks much the same today as it did back then, not one component of the original car remains. Nowadays you can spec your Seven with anything from a 80hp, 660cc Suzuki motor to a ballistic 310hp tyre-smoker courtesy of Ford.

Pinning down rivals is pretty tricky. The now-defunct Lotus Elise and award-winning Alpine A110 offer thrills but are much more modern and practical. The offerings from Morgan are just as impractical and retro-chic, but aren’t quite as performance-focused. The KTM X-Bow is just as hardcore, but is very much a modern track car.

In short, the Caterham Seven provides a pure driving experience and eye-opening performance for relatively modest mount of money. It offers classic car ownership to people who don’t want to spend their Sundays tinkering with fuel mixtures in the garage.

Sure, it doesn’t score well in practicality or safety. But anyone seriously considering one wouldn’t expect it to either. A word of warning – no one uses a Super Seven as their only car. It is certainly something for high days and holidays, and not one for long journeys either.

Interested? Keep reading to see what we make of the Caterham’s handling characteristics, engines, practicality, interior and economy. Then we’ll deliver a verdict on the final page, telling you whether to buy one or not.