Life with the Caterham is pretty sweet. Okay, so you have to handle some obvious drawbacks – the boot, for instance, simply isn’t that large, while the clear plastic in the side screens doesn’t move, so you can’t go through a drive-through. In fairness, the car wasn’t designed to do this, but it’s still worth considering.
However, one of the key elements of the Caterham experience is the way it makes you feel. I’ve been using this to commute daily, and not once have I found it too impractical or too uncomfortable for my daily drive. In fact, it puts you in a good mood for the day setting off with the engine howling away and the wind in your hair. I try to use it with the roof removed as often as possible, though recent weather has meant that it’s been up a little more than I’d like – blame the storms for this.
It’s also incredibly comfortable. Once you’re in, hunkered between the transmission tunnel and the side screens, it feels a cosy place to be while the heaters – yes, there are heaters – actually do a good job of keeping you warm. There’s the odd occasion when you have to deal with a little bit of water ingress from the sides during heavy rain, but nobody ever claimed that this was an SUV. You learn to live with the little foibles and make the most of the positives.
Everywhere you go, people stop and look at the Seven. Such is its personality that I’ve given it a name – Carl. I believe that all good cars deserve a name – and that’s why the 310 has got one now. Perhaps I’m getting a little too attached for my own good – this car does have to be returned, after all – but I’m enjoying having a genuinely involving car to drive every day, though I’m concerned that I’m going to feel it when Caterham eventually drags it away from me, kicking and screaming. That’s a little way off, thankfully.
No storm can stop this Seven. Early morning mini-shoot for the 310 pic.twitter.com/Eqp1pQrob1
— Jack Evans (@jackrober) September 13, 2017
I’d read online that a lot of Caterham owners had switched their conventional rear lights for new LED versions. Seeing as a lot of drivers had done this, I contacted Doug Taylor from Just Add Lightness, a UK company that specialises in LED light units for Caterham vehicles. After coming down and installing the new versions, the difference was immediately noticeable – especially now the nights are starting to draw in.
In addition, Caterham has sent me a set of uprated LED light units for the front. These do away with the chrome backs of the standard set, replacing them with a black matt finish instead. I’ve yet to fit them – though having driven another Caterham with the LED lights fitted I already know of the difference they make. They also have a blue hue to them, which I think looks fantastic on a car as classically styled as the Seven. Thankfully, the main reason why I haven’t yet been able to install the units is because I’ve simply been driving the car too much – and surely that’s not a bad thing, is it?
HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Finding out that the Caterham Seven 310S is a surprisingly capable everyday commuter
Model: Caterham Seven 310S SV
Engine: 1.6-litre petrol
Max speed: 127mph
0-60mph: 4.9 seconds
MPG (COMBINED): N/A