Lotus Elise: Real Owner Comments:

Andrew responds to a question about using the Elise as a daily driver...

From: Andrew Thomas <dat@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Subject: Elise as a daily driver ?
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 1998 10:55:48 GMT

I have an Elise and it is my only car.

As for reliability, my car has a noisy gearbox (which is Rover's fault), the drivers side window winder was stiff until the 1st service sorted it out.

When the car arrived the brakes squealed like crazy; I had anti-squeal pads fitted which have solved the problem: maybe these come as standard now.

The drivers side door can be hard to unlock on occasion - I think a little WD40 would sort it out, and my dealer tells me that doors & locks problems have appeared on several other cars.

I had planned on carrying a towel in the car to mop up the leaks from the roof. However, the roof on my car is just about water-tight, in torrential rain I will see a little dribble of water from where the window meets the top of the windscreen. Opening the door causes a few drop of water to fall onto the paintwork on the inside sill.

I think there is a 'bug' in the position of the radiator: occasionally I see plumes of water vapor emerging from the bonnet (the 1st time this happened I thought the radiator was leaking!) what seems to be happening is that the radiator is boiling off water picked up in the grill. This is a bit of a nuisance on cold nights as the vapor then condenses (and freezes!) on the cold windscreen making it bloody difficult to see out. There are no air vents to clear the side windows.

Go shopping on your own: I use the passenger seat instead of the boot for carrying groceries etc. Stuff slides around too much in the passenger footwell. I find it easier to stow the roof in the boot rather than behind the seats.

The bag behind the seats is difficult to get at, this is because the passenger seat isn't adjustable (although you may be able to order a car with such a seat fitted.) The problem with the bag behind the seat is that stuff clucks against the back of the passenger compartment and the clunking is right behind your ear - which is immensely annoying. The lack of a glove compartment makes it difficult to stow screen scrapers, rags etc

Speaking of clunking, the car does make a lot of noise generally (at least the 3 I have driven have). Stones bouncing of the bottom of the car can make heartattack inducing noise: I hit something on the road and the bang was loud enough to make me look in the rear mirror to see if I'd left the rear suspension behind me!

Cats eyes generate a huge thump. And I get rubbery thunking noises from my car probably from all four corners.

Getting in and out of the car is difficult with the roof on. Getting out is much more difficult than getting in (even with the drivers seat slid all the way back), it's important to look for wide parking spaces so that the door can be pushed all the way open.

As with all nice shiney new cars, you'll have too be careful where you park: depends on the area you live in I suppose. Get several insurance quotes (it pays to shop around).

Fuel economy is excellent: I see around 35mpg driving in town. Speaking of driving around town, the engine is wonderful in traffic, the car is quite happy crawling along in 1st at 850rpm and the clutch is delightfully light for start/stop traffic. (When I'm stuck in trafffic like this I just think of how miserable I'd be with a TVR Griffith!). That the car handles so well in traffic has put me off engine upgrades which might lead to nasty slow speed drivability.

The Elise is good for blasting around country lanes. I've been known to pop out for 20 minutes and come back three hours later grinning like an idiot. However, the car is NOT a motorway cruiser and the noise, the ride and the seats become really tiring after an hour or so.

Well, thats enough from me. I'm sure other people will have other opinions....