Tiger’s answer to the Caterham Superlight, the Aviator. And for those of you still no wiser, Tiger is a small family-run outfit that has made a reputation for itself in the world of kit cars as a decent budget sports car maker, and is now drawing attention to its factory-built offerings.

And if there is any model in the company’s line-up to prove that it can make an impact it is this, the 185bhp 2.0-litre Duratec-engined Aviator. Tiger doesn’t have any official performance figures but the standard £21,995, factory-finished version of this car should easily cover the 62mph sprint in around 5.0 seconds.

Given its weight and power output it comes as no surprise that the Tiger Aviator can seriously shift; and of course it offers all the visceral, bottom-on-the-floor, insects in the teeth sort of entertainment that lightweight roadsters such as this specialise in.

What is more surprising given the car’s price and placement is just how well it handles. Turn-in and the front-end grips and keeps the car faithful to your inputs, whilst there’s enough feel through the steering and the seat to know what’s going on at all four corners.

Ride quality is particularly good; fairly soft but supple enough to aid grip and comfort without too much compromise in terms of body roll, and contributing to the impressive level of stability through fast corners.

Driver controls are also well judged, with pedals placed nicely for heeling and toeing and a heavy but pleasantly granular and responsive steering. The interior finish could certainly be better but the general build quality at least appeared up to the general standards of the class on our test car.

Okay, so the looks might be a bit challenging for some (the body has been specifically designed to improve the problematic aerodynamics that this type of car suffers from) but there’s no doubting that the Aviator is a real competitor for Caterham and other established rivals.

Ultimately the Aviator is a cohesive and entertaining car. It does lack the polish of some more established rivals, but it’s seriously close in terms of the overall handling ability and performance levels. Be careful about the incentive offered by the lower list price, though, as depreciation will be worse on the Tiger than on the obvious rivals.

Tiger Aviator

Price £21,995; Engine 4 cyls, 1998cc, diesel; Power 185bhp at 6800rpm; Torque 157lb ft at 6400rpm; 0-62mph 5.0sec (est); Top speed NA; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 580kg; Economy 34mpg (est); CO2 NA

Top 5 Lightweights

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Tiger range

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 4Motion front view
    First Drive
    17 February 2017
    Latest Passat Alltrack is one of the best examples of that most inoffensive of things, the all-seasons estate
  • 2017 Hyundai i30 1.0 T-GDi 120 SE Nav front view
    First Drive
    17 February 2017
    A UK drive in the Hyundai i30 reveals a rounded and capable hatchback, but not one to challenge the class best
  • Peugeot 5008
    First Drive
    16 February 2017
    Handsome seven-seater offers a smart interior with certain key practicality benefits, but it’s a slightly mixed bag to drive.
  • Car review
    15 February 2017
    The fifth-gen Discovery is simply one of the world's most capable cars, even with the addition of a 2.0-litre engine
  • Tesla Model X
    Car review
    15 February 2017
    The electric propulsion pioneer takes aim at the seven-seat SUV market