This car, which has its origins in the 1950s, is the future; or it should be. Don’t get me wrong: EVs are brilliant as daily transport. Compared with the 2.0-litre diesel hack they’ll probably replace, they’re usually quieter, easier to drive, faster and more fun.

However, when it comes to having fun in a driver’s car, UK roads are narrow and busy and have bad visibility – and even though we have more liberal speed limits than many other countries, most modern performance cars really don’t come alive below 70mph.

Widening the roads and increasing the speed limits are not going to happen (nor should they, necessarily), so what you need is something that takes up less space and is exciting at lower speeds. The Caterham 170 does that like nothing else on sale today.

It’s just 1470mm wide. By comparison, the hardly massive Hyundai i20 N is 1775mm. A lot of the roads around where I live are the kind of unmarked country lanes where two cars can just about squeeze past each other. They look fantastic fun on a map but turn out to be too narrow to enjoy because there’s nowhere to go but the hedge if another car comes the other way. Not so in the little Caterham: every road becomes a wide open playground.

2 Writers favourite cars 2021 caterham seven 170 r tracking side

It also rides on 155-section Avon tyres – trailer wheels, basically. But because the sense of speed is so great, the relatively low level of grip never feels limiting. The 170 also benefits from a limited-slip differential, something that the old 160 never got and lets you make the most of the limited traction.

Some prefer the Ford engines, but I absolutely love the cartoon turbo noises that the Suzuki triple makes. Everything you do with the accelerator is accompanied by a different flavour of whoosh, chirrup or chuff. The carburettor-like snort you got from the throttle bodies in the now-discontinued Super Seven certainly has its appeal, but the 170 demonstrates how turbos can be a feature rather than something sucking all the character out of an engine.