Top 10: Lightest cars
One factor every car designer considers when coming up with a new car is weight. Cars have to be strong and sturdy enough to withstand an accident but they must also be light in order to maximise fuel economy and improve performance. Here are the lightest cars on sale.
Renault Twizy – 474kg
The fun-looking Twizy is powered by an electric motor – and not a particularly powerful one. Luckily it doesn’t need to be powerful because the Twizy only weighs 474kg. It's output is 17PS, so it’s hardly about to shred its tyres in a cloud of smoke, but it’s enough to get around town.
Caterham Superlight R400 - 500kg
The 400 in this Caterham’s name refers to its power-to-weight ratio, which is 400PS-per-tonne. For a little perspective the 700PS Lamborghini Aventador has a power-to-weight ratio of 436PS-per-tonne – which means the Caterham Superlight is among the swiftest cars on sale despite having a fairly small 2.0-litre engine.
Morgan Three Wheeler – 550kg
With a big V-Twin engine at the front, one driven wheel at the rear and space for two in the slender cabin the three-wheeled Morgan is about is pure as a car can get before it turns into a motorbike. Its light weight is key to what makes it work - despite having an underwhelming 80PS it can get from 0-62mph in about 4.5 seconds.
Westfield Sport 1600i – 620kg
The Westfield Sport looks a lot like the Caterham Superlight – largely because they’re both based on the design of the Lotus 7 from the 1950s. Despite having a pretty small 1.6-litre Ford engine the cheapest Westfield is still capable of supercar upsetting pace and its all down to its low weight.
Smart Fortwo – 750kg
It’s hardly surprising the little Smart makes this list – after all is said and done it’s about half the size of an average car, so it makes sense it weighs about half as much. Despite having such a low kerb weight the Smart is surprisingly resilient in an accident thanks to an incredibly strong safety cell around which the car is built.
Morgan 4/4 - 795kg
It might have a whole extra wheel and twice as many cylinders as the Three Wheeler but the Morgan 4/4 is still incredibly light. With a 1.6-litre Ford engine under the bonnet and more than 110PS on tap it’s quick, too, tackling the 0-62mph sprint in little more than 8.0-seconds. And no, it’s not made of wood - the chassis is constructed from galvanised steel.
Citroen C1 – 800kg
The C1 and its Toyota and Peugeot counterparts are getting on a little now. Introduced in 2005 and the recipe of simple, lightweight design and frugal engines has worked so well that all three are still popular. They’re ideal for quick trips and they’re great fun to drive on urban streets – largely because of their light weight.
Ford Ka – 845kg
The first generation Ka was pretty light, as is its successor. Unfortunately, for Ford, the current Ka isn’t anywhere close to as popular as its predecessor. Unlike most Ford models the Ka isn’t as nicely screwed together or as durable as some of its rivals. Still – those cheap plastics obviously keep the weight down as the Ka tips the scales at 845kg.
Toyota iQ – 845kg
The iQ is Toyota’s answer to the Smart ForTwo – except it’s not for two, it’s for three or four, depending on how big they are. It does weigh almost 100kg more than the lightest ForTwo, though, but that shouldn’t be too offputting for people who want a bit more cabin space in the same sort of miniscule package.
Mitsubishi Mirage – 845kg
Mitsubishi’s latest model, a replacement for the Colt, is very light. Sure it might be one of the heaviest cars in this list but it’s also the newest. Its weight is largely down to Mitsubishi’s desire for it to be frugal and clean – keeping emissions down is much easier when the car in question weighs very little to start with.