What is it? Is a question you will become very familiar with if you choose to buy this car – a Tiger GTA.

You may know it if you’re a kit-car aficionado because that’s the market in which Norfolk-based Tiger has made a name for itself. And so of course, the new GTA can be ordered in bits for the more spanner-inclined at £13,800, or for £3000 more you can have it ready-for-the-road, complete with its 170bhp 2.0-litre Zetec motor and five-speed manual.

The chassis is taken from the firm’s established Avon model, and the glass-fibre body has been designed wholly by the father and son team that own and run the company.

Looks are a difficult thing to judge but we think that its quirky and interesting in all the right ways, though the fit and finish hints at the cost-saving that the low price inevitably forces.

You would hardly expect something high-end if you were looking at a car such as this, so many will forgive the intermittently flimsy interior, but unfortunately the way it drives just doesn’t live up to expectations. It isn’t a bad car to drive, but it lacks polish. A slightly sticky throttle, which then gives way to a very light pedal weight, makes smooth progress difficult and a heavy clutch can also become wearing in the wrong sort of traffic.

The steering is decent, turn-in is sharp enough and the engine offers a good amount of punch in a car this weight but the GTA still ends up encouraging less vigorous, more relaxed progress.

Many of the niggling issues with the GTA’s handling is down to the chassis, and having driven a higher-end Tiger with the company’s more sophisticated tubular chassis it’s evident that it does have the know-how to create seriously entertaining and competitive sports cars.

But on evidence of this test car (and it’s worth pointing out that each one will vary dramatically given that the buyer even has a choice of Ford-sourced four-pot motors), we’d say your money would be better off spent on a different Tiger or something else altogether.

Tiger GTA 2.0 170

Price £16,800; Engine 4 cyls, 1998cc, petrol; Power 170bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 150lb ft at 5200rpm; 0-62mph 5.5sec; Top speed NA; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 570kg; Economy 32mpg (est); CO2 NA

Top 5 Lightweights

  • Ariel Nomad
    Ariel Nomad is powered by a tweaked 2.4-litre normally aspirated Honda engine

    Ariel Nomad

    1
  • Morgan 3 Wheeler
    The new Morgan 3 Wheeler is a characterful, evocative and terrifically fun car to drive

    Morgan 3 Wheeler

    2
  • Caterham Seven
    The Caterham Seven is the essence of a stripped-down sports car

    Caterham Seven

    3
  • Ariel Atom
    The Ariel Atom is superbike-fast, and as exhilarating as cars get

    Ariel Atom

    4
  • Zenos E10 S

    Zenos E10

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Tiger range

Driven this week

  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales