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Caterham Seven 170 2022: super lightweight go-kart revealed


It weighs the same as a grand piano and only has 62kW but the latest Caterham looks like the definition of fun.

Say hello to the lightest Caterham ever made: the 2022 Seven 170. 

Weighing in at just 440kg and measuring just 1470mm wide (105mm narrower than other Caterhams), the 170 is so compact that it complies with Japan’s famously tight kei-car regulations.

Caterham has stuck to its mantra of “simplify and add lightness”, using a tiny 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder Suzuki engine which produces 62kW of power and 116Nm of torque. 

Caterham 170 front 3/4
The Seven 170 weighs just 440kg and has an impressive power-to-weight ratio.

While those power figures are unlikely to break any records, when paired with a lightweight body, the power-to-weight ratio exceeds 170hp-per-tonne (hence the 170 nameplate). 

Along with the three-cylinder engine, the Seven 170 comes equipped with a live rear axle and skinny Avon ZT7 tyres (a 155-section tyre). 

That sounds like a handful, but the 170 is relatively tame compared to other models in the Caterham range, with most of its siblings offering much more power.

The Seven 170 starts from £22,990 (AUD$42,900 as of September 2021) before on-road costs in the UK.

Caterham 170 rear 3/4
Lovers of the side-exit exhaust will enjoy the three-cylinder thrum of the 170.

When 126kW/tonne is not enough.. 

Caterham offers a range of different powertrain options for their Seven sports car, however some are not available for purchase in Australia.

The true highlight of the Seven range is the range-topping 620R which is a serious piece of kit.

Power comes from a supercharged Ford Duratec engine which produces 230kW of power and 297Nm of torque

That grunt is fed through a six-speed sequential gearbox to a limited-slip differential at the rear end. 

Caterham Seven 620R side view
The 620R packs a supercharged punch and can do 0-100km/h in 2.79 seconds.

0-100km/h takes just 2.79 seconds, making the 620R one of the fastest production cars on sale today. 

For reference, a Lamborghini Huracan can manage the same sprint in 2.9 seconds, but it won’t be able to outrun the little 620R. 

The 620R comes standard with four-point racing harnesses, a MOMO quick-release steering wheel, four-piston brake callipers and a race suspension package. 

Where can I get one?

As recently as 2016, three models of Caterham were offered in Australia, the Seven 275, 355 and flagship 485. Unfortunately, the mad 620 range is not available down under and neither is the new 170 as they are based on a platform not compliant with Australian ADR rules. 

It’s surprising that any of the Caterham range in Australia remains as it is unlikely they would pass new strict side-impact guidelines which have already caused the demise of cars such as the Nissan GT-R and Alpine A110 sports cars. 

Caterham Seven 620R rear
Unfortunately, the 620R is not available in Australia.

Caterham Cars Australia home is at the  Zagame Automotive Group dealership which is based in Melbourne. 

The flagship 485 model comes fitted with a 177kW 2.0-litre Ford engine with a six-speed close ratio manual gearbox. The ‘S’ pack is standard however it is also available with the ‘R’ pack which includes 13-inch alloy wheels and Formula 3 race tyres. 

The 485R will set you back $128,367 drive-way here in Australia, which is almost enough money to get a brand-new, entry level Porsche Boxster with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Whether it would be as fun as the 485R on track is a question up for debate, but what can be said is that the Caterham is a lot of money for not much car.

Caterham range (as of 2016): prices in Australia

All prices exclude on-road costs.

  • Seven 275: $68,000
  • Seven 355: $79,000
  • Seven 485R: $119,000