By on June 9, 2009

They say that “less is more” (whoever they are, and however much they weigh). The Lotus Elise is automotive proof of concept. Most of the Elises sold in the United Kingdom are 134-horsepower models powered by the same Toyota engine which, bolted to a base (in all senses of the word) Pontiac Vibe, permits America’s daytime strippers to make their late-morning commutes without mechanical incident. From what I’ve read, the base Elise is a stimulating, wonderfully balanced sporting car that permits man and machine to operate in perfect “B-road” harmony.

Here in the United States, however, we believe that “more is more.” So our base Elise has 189 horsepower, from the same Toyota engine which used to power the very fastest Pontiac Vibe. For those thrill seekers who want even more velocity, there’s the Elise SC, which has an amazing 217 horsepower to push just 1900 pounds. That gives you the power-to-weight ratio of a Camaro SS, you know, and you can buy one for just fifty-five grand.

Or, for those who want the true “more is a hell of a lot more” experience, PRI will rent you a turbocharged, Ohlins-shock-equipped, carbon-fiber-laden, 310-horsepower Elise for just under six hundred bucks per diem. When you ask them, “Where the hell should I drive this thing?” expect that they will recommend the twisting roads around New York’s Bear Mountain. Which is how I found myself heading directly at a hundred-foot dropoff into a lake at the kind of velocity that would permit a Boeing 747 to clear the runway, with only a low stone wall between myself and disaster.

The Elise driving experience is usually described as “go-kart-like” by jerkoff auto-journos who have never turned a single lap in a true racing kart. In reality, it’s nothing like a kart, because it has a suspension, doors and a distinct lack of imminent ribcage trauma. But it’s very much like what you expected from cars as a child. Seated in the surprisingly roomy cockpit, snuggled down between the boxy aluminum spars that make up the car’s frame, it’s difficult not to feel an immediate connection with the road. After all, your bottom is only about eighteen inches away from it.

The controls, from the little aluminum knobs which operate the auxiliary functions to the close-set pedals, operate with ball-bearing precision at all speeds. Steering feel is good but not perfect, surprisingly; although it’s a racing-style wheel, one has the feeling of rubber bushings between you and the tires, making it possible to occasionally dial in just a bit too much turn at higher speeds. As with the other PRI cars, there’s a complete audio system including a JL subwoofer strategically placed in the passenger footwell. It’s better to listen to the unearthly hiss of boost in each gear followed by the rude honk of the blow-off valve on corner entrance.

I’m running the Elise in convoy with a well-driven single-turbo Supra pushing out over 500 horsepower. Around Bear Mountain, I can toy with the Supra at will, carrying ten to fifteen miles per hour more into every turn and picking up throttle midcorner with insouciant ease, but I’d expected that. What I didn’t expect was the PCP-laced hit the turbocharger provides beyond 7000 rpm, and how little the big Supra could pull away on the straights. Even a blast down a straight four-lane couldn’t shake my little Lotus from the Toyota’s heels.

It’s frankly difficult to think of any faster dry-weather method for getting down twisty roads than this pressurized Radio Flyer. There’s enough power to spin the wheels in the dry almost everywhere, matched to the aforementioned Ohlins suspension to ensure maximum corner speed. I’d run this car against all comers on a road like the infamous “Tail of the Dragon”, for money, and I’d include motorcycles in that statement. The bikes couldn’t do enough on the straight to make up for the Elise’s superior broken-pavement grip.

Thirty miles of twisty roads into our test drive, I’m almost ready to forsake my long-held allegiance to Porsche, almost ready to forget the miserable experience I had owning a Lotus Seven clone back in 2002, almost ready to consider adding an Elise just like this one to my little fleet back home. And then we get on the freeway. Within minutes, my back has started to hurt, the blown Toyotamotor’s noise has changed from charming to oppressive, and the thrill of treating each pothole like a slalom cone at the SCCA Solo Nationals has become rather passé.

There’s a reason the Porsche Boxster outsells the Elise everywhere, even in the United Kingdom. The Lotus is a one-trick pony. The extra power, refinement, and conveniences added by PRI don’t change that one bit. Still, for those bright days and curvy back roads, there’s satisfaction to be found here like nowhere else.

[Performance Rentals Incorporated provided the vehicle tested, insurance and gas.]

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54 Comments on “Review: 2009 Lotus Elise...”


  • avatar
    Stingray

    I bet you will test the rest of PRI fleet… so, ummm, when are the Supra and über Viper tests coming?

    The Elise is way cheaper to buy than the Ferrari, and given it has a Toyota engine, chepar to keep too.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Interesting turn of phrase.

    I’ve never heard it called the Pontiac Vibe motor; usually it’s associated with the Celica, in which case you could consider the Elise to be the spiritual successor to the MR-2.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    It’s not the turbo kicking in above 7000rpm, it’s the second cam in the 2ZZ-GE engine. The turbo is working all the time. Not that the engine doesn’t benefit from the turbo – far from it. I wish I could turbo my Celica, but it’s a major pain & expense in the 2003+ models. I’d be better off buying a used Elise engine/ECU and dropping it in…hmmm, there’s a thought!

  • avatar

    I used to think I wanted a minimum of refinement in order to maximize my sense of connection with the car. Then I test drove an Elise.

    Interesting that you pick on the steering. I remember being underwhelmed by the amount of feel it provided, and its slower than expected responses (the latter probably because it’s manual).

    One of my pet peeves is when journalists describe anything relatively compact (MINI, Fit, etc.) as having “go kart-like handling.” As you note, they don’t.

  • avatar

    I wonder if go-kart reviewers describe thier testers as having “Elise-Like” handling.

  • avatar
    tedward

    nice review. You didn’t go far enough to the north though…Bear Mountain is about an hour south of some fantastic places.

  • avatar
    RichardD

    That’s what I love about the Elise. It separates the men from the girls. No cupholders (unless you add one), non-existent climate control, the world’s worst stock stereo, no fatties allowed, loud enough to require earplugs, and most importantly, no “F1-style” flappy paddle setup to allow wussbag poseurs to disguise the fact that they drive around in fully automatic mode.

    Maybe the Ohlins on this particular car were set badly, but I can say the stock sport suspension Elise is comfortable enough for long drives on an open road. There’s nothing better. Unless you wear a skirt.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Most of the Elises sold in the United Kingdom are 134-horsepower models powered by the same Toyota engine which, bolted to a base (in all senses of the word) Pontiac Vibe, permits America’s daytime strippers to make their late-morning commutes without mechanical incident.

    That was funny until I remembered my girlfriend drives a base model manual transmission Vibe.

  • avatar
    findude

    They say that “less is more” (whoever they are, and however much they weigh).

    “They” is usually credited with being Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the minimalist architect. I have no idea how much he weighed.

  • avatar

    @findude: I think there’s actually some confusion as to whether he said it first, or whether he was quoting Goethe… but I am not certain.

    @Stingray: Viper test is next. :)

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    That was funny until I remembered my girlfriend drives a base model manual transmission Vibe.

    So your girlfriend is a stripper? (j/k!!)

    In all seriousness, the 1ZZ-FE not a bad engine. It’s light, small, sips fuel, is cheap to keep and can suffer all sorts of abuse and neglect. It’s just not very powerful, but in a car that weighs that little, I don’t think I’d care.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    psarhjinian:

    Well on the weekends……..

    But seriously that does seem to be a great little engine for fuel economy and reliability. It’s just another example of GMs sadness that in decades of 4 cylinder development they couldn’t build an engine that other companies want to use. (I know AMC used a version of the 2.5L “Iron Duke” in base Jeeps for a few years but seriously I owned a Celebrity with that engine and it was ready for a total rebuild at 100K.)

  • avatar
    Stingray

    1ZZ and 2ZZ engines can be found under the hoods of Corollas… many of them

    That what is basically a toaster (refrigerator, dishwasher… you get the point) engine serves duty in a nice sport car as the Elise is ___________

  • avatar

    @educatordan: The GM Ecotec is found in certain variants of the Ariel Atom. And GM transmissions have been used around the world, most notably in Rolls-Royce automobiles.

    It’s also worth noting that use in a Lotus is not necessarily a feather in the cap of an engine: The Rover K-series was used in the Elise until 2005, and it was not a great engine.

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    @educatordan

    As just one example, Fisker plans to use GM’s 2.0L I4 EcoTec in the Karma.

    There are other examples, especially in drag racing, where the same engine is very popular.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    @Jack

    The Lotus Elan employed Isuzu engines/gearboxes long time ago.

    It’s not new, they usually employ other manufacturer engines.

    I guess Lotus does some tweaking in the ECU maps so the engines better suit their car intentions.

  • avatar
    Cerbera LM

    I can squeeze myself (6′-3″ 205 lbs) in a Elise if I remove the roof and remove my Nike’s (size 13). Other then that I fit just fine other then my knees wanting to share space with the steering column.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Gentlemen:

    Point well taken. But drag racers don’t count in those points, they aren’t manufacturers.

    In some ways I was talking about some of GMs usual teething problems too. Then when they get an engine sorted out it’s reputation is ruined. If I were to buy a tired Fiero (I’m watching a few on EBay right now) I would swap the original 4cyl for a Quad 4 for parts availability and ease of installation. I’m also smart enough to know that they got the head gasket problems sorted out on those. But I also had several friends in high school (1995 graduate) who owned cars with first gen Quads who experienced the problems first hand.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I think the fun of this would be to show this to friends who I know are of the bigger is better mindset, and would snicker at the idea of a little 4-cyl. “you paid that much for that?” Then take them for a ride and scare the hell out of them!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The GM Ecotec is found in certain variants of the Ariel Atom.

    I think that’s because GM does a lot more—or at least is more accustomed in doing—crate engine business than most manufacturers, possibly excepting Ford.

    It’s not a business that Toyota (and many others) seems interested in. I don’t know why.

  • avatar
    wsn

    This car gets 4 stars and yet the Prius gets just one.

    The 21st century automotive history book would disagree.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I think this is a horrible car. It’s cramped with no decent amenities, the engine is gutless unless you drive it like you stole it, it’s completely unsuitable for any kind of inclement weather, and. It would make for a decent road trip car, but you can’t carry more than a fortnight’s worth of clothing in that sorry excuse of a trunk. This is clearly the most useless vehicle ttac has ever tested. How disappointing it is that these glaring flaws were so easily overlooked.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    @wsn: Two completely different cars, two completely different reviewers. Not everyone likes the same cars, as we’ve said.

  • avatar
    stevenm

    To conjure such terms as “cramped”, “amenities” and “inclement weather” in the context of an Elise is to completely and totally miss the point of the car.

    One would be as well to bleat about the poor fuel economy of a Ford GT or the lackluster amenities of an Ariel Atom. It’s not supposed to be practical. The car was designed to be a small, light, fun sports car, and it is. It’s not for everyone, but Lotus would have gone out of business many moons ago if they attempted to build a car that was.

  • avatar
    tedward

    quasimondo

    Really? Every single one of those characteristics were necessary to achieve the core purpose of this vehicle, which is to be as lightweight and tossable as possible. It’s not like they set out to create a fast car, or even a normal one, and wound up with these design flaws. This car tries to be the lightest thing with actual doors and succeeds.

    Now if they positioned this thing to compete with the likes of the Corvette, or even the Eclipse, I’d wholeheartedly agree.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Best car on the road, hands down.

  • avatar

    One of my pet peeves is when journalists describe anything relatively compact (MINI, Fit, etc.) as having “go kart-like handling.”

    Or worse “one to one steering” when talking about a road car.

  • avatar
    tuckerdawg

    I drive an 06 Corolla (its actually my gf’s, shhh dont tell) and i always thought it was underrated for the power it had. Now I know the truth I always felt, its basically a rebadged lotus elise and hence I will drive it as such. Thanks ttac!

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Funny part about this car is that you can use it on the track and go home with it to be a daily commuter.

    A racer and a daily driver in one car. Fabulous

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    @tedward

    And the core purpose results in an entirely useless car. How will you explore the limits of such light tossability on American roads that are straight as an arrow? What speed camera isn’t going to catch you as you spin your turbocharged engine to redline? Bottom line, you’ll have to drive like our infamous writer to ever fully enjoy this car. Since most of us will never be that ballsy todrive like him, you’ll be wasting your money on a contraption like this.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Since most of us will never be that ballsy todrive like him, you’ll be wasting your money on a contraption like this.

    I think that, if I owned an Elise, I would be booking track time very often. I also would likely have a few other options in my garage should I want something that resembles comfort.

    Those of us who can’t afford an automotive smörgåsbord are kind of stuck with, at best, Swiss-Army-Knife cars that run the gamut from the Civic Si to the BMW 5-Series.

    I don’t think it’s money wasted in the sense that those of us who have to make those kinds of compromises understand “waste“. Or, perhaps, if you scale the concept down to objects we can afford.

  • avatar
    tedward

    quasimondo
    just depends on where you live I guess. I certainly wouldn’t even look at one of these if I lived in a flat state. Where I drive there’s more than enough twisty and deserted roads to justify a car like this. In fact, a regular sedan simply falls apart dynamically in those conditions, as in, unsafe levels of suspension rebound. On a side note I beleive that has a lot to do with the rural love of trucks.

    I don’t entirely disagree with your point though. I’d say the S2000 probably isn’t as good on a track (not that I’d know first hand) but could probably be considered a more completely developed package as a whole car. I’m going to have to covet both of them anyway though.

  • avatar

    Part of the difficulty with an Elise is that it falls between two stools, as the phrase goes.

    For fifty grand, you can get a Boxster which surpasses it in everything but the fabled 10/10ths track and street driving.

    For fifty grand, you can also get a D Sports Racer which will bitchslap anything short of a Daytona Prototype around a racecourse.

    So the Elise buyer is a (wo)man who wants the track experience on the street. There are enough of those people to keep Lotus busy.

    @Stingray: I was alive for the second-gen Elan, but the Lotus other-engine philosophy goes back to the Seven, with bizarre diversions into Renault transaxles for the Esprit :)

  • avatar
    RichardD

    For fifty grand, you can get a Boxster which surpasses it in everything but the fabled 10/10ths track and street driving.

    Wow. Talk about not getting it. The Elise is for a man who wants to drive a car without compromise. No stability control, no painted crests, no automatic tranny, no choice of color for the thread of the leather stiching. The Elise is designed to be the best driving machine it can be for the money. Even the door hinges are a work of art. Nothing on the Elise is without purpose.

    The Boxster, on the other hand, is a giant compromise, specifically engineered not to be as good as the flagship 911. But you will find plenty of room for the giant box of tampons you just bought for your wife at CostCo. It’s a car so easy your secretary could drive it. And probably does.

  • avatar

    @RichardD:

    I owned a Superformance S1, which is a clone of the late-sixties-era Lotus Seven, and drove it from Columbus, OH to Bowmanville, ON, in the rain, and drove it for dozens of laps at Mosport before driving it back. More than once.

    The interior temperature of the Seven could and did reach 110 degrees. There was no climate system, no hard top, and the “windows” were plastic sliders. Every 200 miles the transmission would require a fluid check. Don’t get me started as to how this was done. Finally, after 11,000 miles, the frame’s rear crossmember snapped in the middle of Mosport’s Turn Two.

    I appreciate your attempt to out-tough-guy me, but next to what I’ve owned and driven, the Elise is a Chrysler Newport. Wait. Do we have a photo where I’m driving the car without doors at triple-digit speeds? Yes. We. Do.

    http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i15/viergang/trunk.jpg

  • avatar
    bunkie

    Feh…

    As much as I love cars, nothing tests your limits like riding a motorcycle. Columbus to New York City in February? Check. Scare the living &*^*$ out of yourself because you overcooked a corner? Check? Triple-digit speeds in four seconds? No big deal for motorcyclists. Comfort? On two wheels it’s a fiction. Exposure to elements? Ever get a hornet between your leather jacket and your skin (five stings at speed, fun!)? You don’t know what wet is until you’ve been caught in a massive summer downpour and had the car in the oncoming lane hit you with a 10-foot-high wall of water. I wouldn’t give any of these experiences back. As I said, I love cars. But hurtling along a back road in New Hampshire (as I was doing this weekend) on a 127hp sportbike at one with the process, nothing but your skill and the machine keeping you from becoming a news item in the local paper blows the doors (literally) off even my best car-driving memory.

    Having said that, the Elise does sound pretty cool.

  • avatar
    RichardD

    @Jack

    Not trying to one up, just the idea of the Boxster as the perfect car is absurd. It could have been the perfect car, but the Porsche marketing department didn’t want that to happen.

    Your comment about the Elise being like a Chrysler Newport in comparison to the Lotus 7 makes my point. The ride is perfectly acceptable and plenty comfortable. Where it excels is in having nothing in between the driver and the road. No distractions, no girly frills, no junk. The Porker is loaded up with crap and you can feel all 1,000 of those extra pounds.

    …now if only I could get an Atom registered in my state…

  • avatar
    TZ

    First, you call people who compare the Lotus to a go-kart “jerkoff auto-journos who have never turned a single lap in a true racing kart”, in part because a go-kart doesn’t have doors or suspension.

    Then, you call the Lotus a Radio Flyer?

    Too funny.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    bunkie> +1.

    Not having a cage definitely gets the adrenaline going….

    You don’t even need 127 horse either…

    I’d say even an sv650 in a similar situation would be good.

    I know I will never ride my gsx-r to even 5/10 on the street but you can still have an unmatchable amount of thrills on it just getting up to an allowed/legal highway speed.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Given that no car can satisfy every desire, perhaps a good compromise, for those with money and space, would be an Elise for the driving pleasure and a Prius for the daily commuting, errands, etc?

    The Atom seems an even better driver than the Elise, but apparently it’s only a kit car, and not legal in all states.

  • avatar
    long126mike

    Given that no car can satisfy every desire, perhaps a good compromise, for those with money and space, would be an Elise for the driving pleasure and a Prius for the daily commuting, errands, etc?

    But… but… Prius owners hate cars. It’s a proven fact, because I keep hearing it.

    It makes no sense that they’d want a Lotus Elise, too. Human beings go into neat little boxes that are easily understood. Didn’t you get the memo?

  • avatar
    onerareviper

    Let’s start with entering the car. With the top on, you have to be a contortionist. With the top off, you stand in the car and slide into your seat. Once you’re seated, it is comfortable enough. Then, you drive off into the sunset. Your first stop sign you hit half clutch/half brake. Damn, I should have worn racing shoes. Take off your size 10s and sock it. OK. Now you’re ready. Hit the gas…. Nothing. Until 5,000 RPM’s. (This is with the 190 HP non-SC Elise). Now you’re thinking, I’m going to have to drive this like a stole it to get good acceleration. Even more so with another person in the car. You also notice the shifter is a bit flimsy (feels ‘breakable’), although finding gears is easy enough. Then you come to a stop sign and slam the brakes. WOW!!!!! Brakes are FANTASTIC!!! Cool. Mark that as a positive. At the same time a Mazda Miata drives by, and you being to realize how small/low this car really is…. The Miata looks like a monster truck, God forbid the typical oversized SUV. You start to wonder what would happen in any type of vehicle-to-vehicle collision. At the same time a turn approaches, and you goose the gas. WOW!!! This car sticks like glue and has great balance. And the feedback is great (IMHO). Coming out of the turn, you hit a pothole and slow for a speed bump. Damn! That wasn’t the most pleasant experience. This car is rough over bad pavement and EXTREMELY low. OK. Test drive over, time to go back to the dealership. You step out of the car and acknowledge the great road presence this car has… Don’t see many, very unique, and exotic looks. Would be very cool to own…. On the other hand, you start to think how you could have a dedicated track car for less. And how much would you ‘really’ drive the Lotus on the street? Then you think, at 25-30K this car would sell like hot cakes and be a smart purchase for limited street use and track days. You finally give up on the idea and figure a used one might be a nice buy in the future. (So there you have it, my test drive).

  • avatar
    ctoan

    1900 pounds? I don’t think they’re trying hard enough. That’s only 100 pounds short of a 90s subcompact.

    And all cars are compromises, because they’re designed with finite funds and bought with finite funds. The Prius sacrifices fun in favor of being very, very functional. The Lotus, in turn, sacrifices any and all functionality in favor of being able to go very, very fast through any given corner. If that doesn’t seem like a compromise, remember the definition of a vehicle: something to move things. The Lotus was not designed to move things in any useful way. It’s just an expensive toy.

    And so here we have it: the perfect car for single gay guys/gals that live in a rented apartment next to a grocery store. Anybody else really should try to come up with something better to spend money on.

  • avatar
    stevenm

    @ ctoan

    90s subcompacts had the benefit of being subject to 90s impact and crash requirements, airbag requirements, and emissions requirements. A lot of additional junk has been mandated since then, and making a 1900 pound car that can be sold today, much less doing so relatively cheaply, is a pretty significant achievement.

    If your definition of a vehicle is “something to move things”, I’d reckon it’s a safe bet you’re not in the target market.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    ctoan :

    I didn’t realize that along with an Elise purchase came a requirement to never buy or rent a more practical car when the need arises.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    This car separates the Drivers from the rest.

    If you see a car as a transport device, this ain´t it.
    If you want your driving to feel like you´re in your favorite sofa, this ain´t it.
    If you want to impress people with fantastic bhp numbers, this ain´t it.
    If you want to eat,drink,shave etc in your car, this ain´t it.
    But if you drive your car, this is it.

  • avatar
    vandstra

    From the March 10, 2002 review of the Lotus Elise S2 by Robert Farago:
    “I’m sorry, did I say go-kart? I meant to say ‘Lotus Elise’. Read the above paragraph again, substituting the word ‘Elise’ for ‘go-kart’. ”

    From this review:
    “The Elise driving experience is usually described as “go-kart-like” by jerkoff auto-journos who have never turned a single lap in a true racing kart.”

    Oops.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Common Jack Baruth did you actually race your roadster on the track?

    You don’t even have roll bars and a roof I can’t imagine they let you race or use the tracks.

    Did you know that without any roll bars and roof you more likely to make your head a burger patty.

    I saw your car picture. I can’t imagine using a roadster. Did you put Sway bars? it looks like the rear end is almost scratching the floor.

    I good advise from a street racer please do not use roadster it can kill.

    By the way, Speed Channel had a show about Lotus Elise and Top Gear drove one. Both shows liked it. really a Race/Commuter car

    If you want a car buy the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ400. This car will change the structure of your world of car racing.

    Just like they say about Mitsubishi: If you go Mitsu you will never come back.

  • avatar

    The whiners and complainers who don’t get the Elise…bless you. I hope there are millions more of you, so that when these begin to trickle down as used cars the demand will be so low I can buy one as a track toy. Which is what the stinkin thing was made as. If every car were as ‘practical’ as a Prius we wouldn’t have Jeep Wranglers, Porsche 911s or any Ferrari ever made. The Elise isn’t built for you. It’s built for me, to provide a giant, shit-eating grin that I can’t get from most other vehicles at any price. As we like to say in racing, Other Sports Beckon. In this case, Other Reviews Beckon. Move along; nothing to see here.

  • avatar

    I have driven the elise but only the Uk version (the 134 Hp model)and what a car!

    The handeling and grip is truly amazing, acceleration is also quite good from such a small car.

    Since reading your article i would love to try out the American version with the 189 hp.

  • avatar
    Mjolnir

    I only wish it had a HONDA K series engine. You could have the turbo; keep it normally aspirated.

    It’s “good” to see so many detractors. It would make owning one all that more delightful.

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    And so here we have it: the perfect car for single gay guys/gals that live in a rented apartment next to a grocery store. Anybody else really should try to come up with something better to spend money on.

    Or the perfect weekend toy for the guy who really does like cars more than his Porsche-buying, mid-life crisis peers.

    T minus 7 years to my Elise.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I love this car. I had a chance to drive one around the Monterey Penninsula about three of years ago and really couldn’t stop smiling. It was the first U.S. spec model with 189 hp. I found it surprisingly comfortable but then I never had the top on it. The reflective “dots” on the freeway felt like speed bumps at speed, though.

    There are some reasons why eBay always seems full of low-mileage Elises, though. Either they got their miles on the track and are beat to hell or, more likely, someone bought them and decided (or their better half decided) that the compromises were too great.

    The general non-car-loving public really don’t get sports cars. I have a 1991 Miata which is pretty spartan compared to current cars but feels like a Cadillac relative to the Elise. I used it for a daily driver for years and made a couple of cross-country trips. Yet I get a lot of comments from people about how one can live with such a tiny car and how unsafe they are. I just ask them why they need to haul around three empty seats and an empty moving crate just to get to work by themselves?

  • avatar
    Trick McKaha

    I have always thought I wanted an Elise, but I have a racing kart and a track nearby, so… I wonder, how much not like my kart is this car?


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