Fuel economy, safety, and price are all important factors to consider when buying a car, but let’s face it: focusing on those factors alone may not get you the car that’s most fun to drive. That’s why you have to look at a car’s fun factor too, like, “Will it drift?”
On paper, the Ariel Atom seems to have all the ingredients to make it the ultimate sidewinder: rear-wheel drive, a 270-hp, Mugen-tuned Honda 2.0-liter I-4, no traction control, and a 1213-lb vehicle weight. But then you look at its Yokohama racing tires (which would be good for anything other than drifting), its rather wide turning circle, an ultra-short wheelbase, and you’ve presented yourself with quite a challenge.
Former professional racer and current Autocar editor-at-large, Steve Sutcliffe, is more than willing to find out if the little beast will, in fact, drift, saying that a vehicle like this, “requires hands, feet, brains, and balance.” So does Sutcliffe have all of this to get the Atom to powerslide? Find out if he can get sideways as he drives the Atom to the ground around the figure-eight, with a closer look being offered in slow motion. Can he get the Atom to drift? Is it harder or easier than you thought it might be?