Exciting New Addition to the Car Hire Fleet

Ever since I first test drove one of the 620R development cars a couple of years ago, I knew we'd end up adding one to the fleet eventually. It was the same feeling I had when I first drove a K-series Superlight (I owned a Vauxhall-engined Graduate Caterham at the time). The same feeling I had when I first drove a Duratec R300. That sick feeling in the bottom of your wallet stomach that tells you it's an expensive test drive and that you're going to end up having to sell everything you currently own in order to fund one.

However, the test drive of the 620R was different to those others. By now, I had a pretty good grasp of how to handle a Caterham and was no longer intimidated by the rear-wheel-drive, limited-slip-differential lairyness you get in wet & greasy conditions. Good job - my first experience of the 620R was at a cold and wet track day at Donington Park and within a few seconds of exiting the pits, the rear wheels were spinning. If I were sat in a pub regaling this tale, I'd probably say that they didn't stop spinning until I returned back into the pits a few laps later - it certainly felt that way.

Click thumbnail to view image.

The car was unbelievably controllable and the power delivery was so linear throughout the rev-range that I got out of the car convinced I'd read the specs wrong - surely it had a nice V6 or V8 in there? Is it really possible for a humble 2 litre 4-pot Ford engine to feel that strong? Gone are the days of the R500 Rover K-series power deliveries - very peaky and with the ever-present wail as if it's about to throw a rod through the block at any second. In contrast, the supercharged engine in the 620R feels totally un-stressed, just as though the car had a much bigger engine hidden under the bonnet.

So, the car looks great, sounds great and it's quiet enough to get on all of the circuits we visit - the only factor that remained before we could order one would be the reliability. We waited over 12 months after the launch - expecting there to be a few reliability gremlins that needed sorting. Given what we'd need to charge to rent this - the last thing we needed was reliability issues. I kept waiting to hear about engine problems with the development car or the press car, but there was nothing. The engine on the dev car was apparently rebuilt at the end of last year as a precaution and there we no issues with it whatsoever. That was all the reassurance I needed to get our orders placed and I'm massively excited to be able say we've got a 620R and a wider 620R SV being built in the workshop at the moment.

Jonny Leroux
04 March 2015

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