Car Video:  Oversteer

Video | The Ariel Atom Is a $75,000 Street Legal Go Kart

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Sedan
Used 2008 BMW 5 Series
$11,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 RAM ProMaster City Wagon
New 2019 RAM ProMaster City
MSRP $27,030
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Sahara
New 2019 Jeep Wrangler
MSRP $47,420
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD Laredo
New 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
MSRP $43,230
RELATED READING
See all No Makes any articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Karma cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2019

I recently had the chance to drive an Ariel Atom, which is truly automotive insanity. I say this because the Ariel Atom is basically a fully open, race car-style vehicle, with no body and barely anything else, and it's got a license plate. Logic would dictate that you should not be able to drive this thing on the road. And, yet, you can.

So let's talk Atom. The one I drove was an Atom 3, which uses the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder from a Honda Civic Si. That may not seem particularly impressive, but this particular vehicle weighs something like 1,350 pounds, resulting in a 0-to-60 mph time of around 2.9 seconds, assuming that you're brave enough. It's also rather pricey, but such is life if you want a race car that you can legally drive on the road.

So I drove the Atom on the road, and what I discovered is that it's absolutely crazy, and I have no idea why anyone would want to do this. Specifically, it's tremendously loud and amazingly intense -- you're getting attacked by wind on all sides, you're basically driving an actual go-kart on the streets around normal people driving normal cars. Even a regular highway drive is incredibly visceral in this thing: Other people are just cruising around in their Camry models and Accords, and you're flipping out, getting smashed in the face by wind, hearing an incredibly loud engine just inches from your head.

Of course, there are some benefits. For one, the Atom is really, really fast, in a way that few other cars are -- it's got supercar speed, and you really feel the speed because of how open and close to the road you are. It's actually amazing to be doing 0-to-60 mph in 2.9 seconds when you could also reach out and just touch the road if you wanted to.

Then there's the handling. The Atom is amazingly connected to the road, and the slightest steering inputs send the car exactly where you point it -- no rational, regular automobiles have steering that's anywhere near this sharp or exciting, and it makes vehicles like the Ferrari 488 and Lamborghini Huracan actually seem big and bulky. Then again, it also makes those vehicles feel safe and luxurious, so there are some trade-offs here.

And, indeed, with the Atom, that's the thing about it: It's the car for people who have tried basically all the other cars and dismissed them as being too normal, too rational, not exciting enough. Considering the speed and performance of modern exotic cars, not too many people feel that way -- and that's why the Atom has tremendously limited appeal. But if you just can't get excited unless you're driving something absolutely off-the-wall crazy, well, the Atom is just the off-the-wall crazy vehicle that should scratch your itch for insanity. 

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here Are the Cheapest Porsche Models for Sale on Autotrader
The Coolest Minivans I Could Find on Autotrader
Video | The 2019 Porsche Macan S Is the Best Small Luxury SUV

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2008 BMW 5 Series Sedan
Used 2008 BMW 5 Series
$11,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 RAM ProMaster City Wagon
New 2019 RAM ProMaster City
MSRP $27,030
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Jeep Wrangler 4WD Unlimited Sahara
New 2019 Jeep Wrangler
MSRP $47,420
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD Laredo
New 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
MSRP $43,230
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Video | The Ariel Atom Is a $75,000 Street Legal Go Kart - Autotrader
×