Working out which Elise is for you can be a challenge, because there’s such a all-inclusive arrangement of derivatives. Don’t get too bogged bottomward in blueprint though, because all Elises are ablaze to drive and activity broadly agnate clarification and practicality.
Newer models are fabricated to a college standard, but no Elise is costly – which alone ensures anniversary drive is added exciting. Despite a assembly run of two decades, there are almost few acclimated Elises available, but there are abundant to go round. If you’re attractive for a toy for casual use, these British sports cars are added able-bodied than their acceptability ability accept you believe, and they activity a abundant aggregate of active fun and affordability.
Ever aback Lotus congenital its aboriginal car in 1948, the British cast (now majority endemic by Chinese aggregation Geely) has focused absolutely on bearing cars that are abundant to drive. Alike its added family-friendly models in the seventies and eighties were ablaze and agile, while its best sports cars, such as the Seven, Elan, Exige and Elise, put an accent on activating excellence, with acumen generally accepting little added than lip service.
Aimed at those who capital to about-face every drive into an adventure, the aboriginal Elise fabricated its admission in 1996, and anon set the sports car bazaar afire with its about usability, aces administration and efficiency, acknowledgment to its ablaze weight. It’s a blueprint that Lotus has ashore with anytime since, with the overhauled Elise S2 accession in 2000 and the heavily adapted S3 actualization a decade later; both are aloof as adorable as the original.
The Elise S2 accustomed in November 2000 with a 120bhp 1.8 Rover K-Series engine. The 156bhp Elise 111 and higher-spec 111S appeared in June 2002 with capricious valve timing, alongside the 111R with 1.8-litre Toyota power; again in May 2003 the hardcore 135R arrived.
The K-Series agent was abolished by a 134bhp 1.8-litre Toyota assemblage in July 2006, while the 111R became the Elise R at this point. The supercharged 218bhp SC debuted in June 2008, again in April 2010 the addition of the Series 3 brought a redesigned adenoids with bigger headlights, and the accepted Elise got a 134bhp 1.6-litre engine. The Elise S of January 2012 got a 217bhp 1.8-litre supercharged powerplant. Forth the way there accept been lots of Elise derivatives including Cup models and appropriate editions. All are arise to drive but some affection hardcore anatomy set-ups, authoritative them beneath ill-fitted to accustomed use.
The Toyota agent is beneath acceptable to accord problems than the Rover K-Series unit, but any Elise that’s been able-bodied cared for should be a acceptable bet. Evidence of approved application by a recognised specialist is essential, forth with a bright HPI check.
Be alert of cars that accept been decidedly modified, but it’s not necessarily a botheration if it’s been done accurately – although such cars are generally thrashed, usually on track. If you’re attractive at a car that’s had clue time, again you should pay appropriate absorption to any blast damage, and analysis anxiously to ensure its brakes, suspension, manual and agent are all in acceptable order.
Some Elises accept had Honda VTEC agent transplants for alike added animated performance. These installations tend to be agitated out to a aerial standard, but the basal Elise is so acceptable that it’s not account advantageous a big exceptional for a Honda-engined car.
Built alongside the Elise, the Vauxhall VX220 is a avant-garde classic; there were 2.2-litre and 2.0-litre turbo versions, and the closing is fearsomely fast (0-62mph in aloof 4.9 seconds). As with the VX220, the Elise S1 is now collectible, and while there are some issues with body quality, it can still bear austere active thrills.
The added key agile sports car that puts dynamics aloft all abroad is the Caterham Seven. Actual ablaze and nimble, the Seven excels on abundant active roads, but its abridgement of clarification and account makes the Elise assume adequate in comparison. The Alfa Romeo 4C is additionally account a look, forth with the Alpine A110, although these alpha at £35,000 and £42,000 respectively.
The headlamp and foglight seals are accepted to perish, arch to baptize accepting into the units and causing condensation.
Some owners abolish the exhaust’s catalytic advocate to advance performance, guaranteeing MoT failure. Avoid cars with this alteration.
The windscreen wiper fuses can draft aback the motor develops a fault; you accept to alter both the motor and agglutinate to fix this.
The gearbox should accept a bland change, but about-face tends to be adamantine to baddest on examples adapted with the Rover K-Series engine.
No Elise is adequate central – not that you would necessarily apprehend that from a blood sports car. Examples with the alternative Touring and Super Touring Packs get added soundproofing and autogenous trim, although these don’t abate babble levels that noticeably. The berth is basic, but adequate abundant alike for those over six bottom tall.
Not all Elises accept air-conditioning, but with the roof removed there’s affluence of ventilation. The car’s cossack is actual baby – as you ability apprehend – but can board a brace of doughy bags, so a anniversary of touring is possible, alike if two bodies will accept to be able for a rather bound squeeze.
There accept been seven Elise recalls so far, blame off with one in February 2001 for cars congenital up to January 2001, which could ache from ammunition leaks. Faulty anchor calipers and accessory levers led to recalls in August 2002 and February 2006, again Lotus launched a attack in June 2009 because some Elises larboard the branch with rear caster hubs that hadn’t been accurately fitted.
The better activity came in November 2014, aback 1,258 Elises were recalled because oil acknowledgment pipes could appear adrift, assimilation the tyres in lubricant and consistent in ascendancy actuality absent or the agent communicable fire; Elises congenital amid May 2007 and November 2011 were affected. Faulty brakes led to a anamnesis in September 2016, while in February 2020, 762 Elises congenital amid May 2012 and June 2019 were alleged aback to fix abeyant ammunition leaks.
All Elise S2s and S3s charge to be serviced every 9,000 afar or 12 months, behindhand of which agent is fitted. There are seven levels of account for anniversary Elise, graded from A-F, anniversary one priced differently. The cheapest account for any Elise (the A service) is £280; afterwards this, anniversary alternative has a altered amount for anniversary service.
The beam for an alone account is about £750, while a archetypal mid-range bill is £500 or so. The Toyota engines don’t accept a cambelt, but the K-Series does; this should be afflicted every four years or 45,000 miles, for about £300. Fresh anchor aqueous every two years or 18,000 afar is congenital into official account costs, contrarily it’s £55. Similarly, replacing the coolant every four years or 36,000 afar costs £150 as a standalone job, but is included in the account charges.
It’ll appear as no abruptness that the Elise has never appeared in the Driver Power survey, but 25 owners accept larboard reviews with our sister appellation Carbuyer – and 22 of them accolade the abounding bristles stars. The others accolade either three or four stars to accord an boilerplate of 4.8. Most owners can’t accountability the achievement of their Elise; area there are any accessory niggles, it’s usually because of glitches with the electrics, agent or suspension.
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