TOP Atmo four-pots

1 KIA OPTIMA

148kW Torque isnít as forthcoming as the freerevving power, but this fast-spinning 2.4 makes for decent fun on the right road. Dynamics canít match the pace of the engine, though.

2 TOYOTA 86/ SUBARU BRZ

147kW Turbo rumours abound but Subaru boxer with Toyota direct injection looks set to remain a natural breather for a while yet, making the 2.0 a willing, if wanting, performer.

3 HYUNDAI SANTA FE

141kW Lower tune of the Optimaís 2.4 and in the heavier Santa Fe body. Gruntier turbo-diesel makes more sense in this seven-seater, but zingy atmo four keeps the price more attractive.

4 HONDA CR-V

140kW The 2.4 formerly employed in the Accord Euro is now reserved for the family life of the CR-V.

Its high power peak isnít as well suited to the CR-Vís heavier body, but itís still a nice thing to thrash.

5 MAZDA 3 SP25

138kW The 2.5 finds its way into various Mazdas (6 and CX-5 included) but itís most fun in the lighter 3 as the performance hero for now (at least until a turbocharged MPS is unleashed, maybe next year).