What inexpensive car comes closest to the Lotus Elise? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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What inexpensive car comes closest to the Lotus Elise?

Short of buying an Elise, which would you recommend that you think comes closest to the Lotus Elise, in terms of steering response, handling, and overall fun?

This was a question that came up in a conversation I recently had with my nephew. I don't have enough experience to know what the answer is so I thought I could pick the forum's brains on this... My best answer for him was a Miata, however I have test driven the Mx-5 recently and was rather disappointed, considering how every reviewer and owner seems to rave about it.. Given this fact, I do not even want to assume the FR-S is anything close to the Elise, but I'll let you guys ring in on it, and other cars.
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post #2 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 09:02 PM
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First, the Elise is an inexpensive car in consideration of it's capabilities. And of all the sports cars I've driven and owned, there is nothing in the same category. It's a class of one, or two if you count the Exige.

However, if pressed, I'd say the SW11, MK1 MR2 is a similar size and just a little heavier than the Elise. The supercharged car make decent power, but still is a turtle compared to the Elise. It's fun and tossable, but about half as hard core and capable. But for about 2 grand, that's not too bad.

The 911s from the late 70s and early 80s (S and SC) felt as alive as the Elise does, but power delivery was weaker and the handling wasn't as secure. And you feel like you're sitting in a kitchen chair compared to the low Lotus, but they are almost as much fun to drive as the Elise.

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post #3 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 09:37 PM
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For relatively inexpensive new cars I'd say the BRZ/FR-S is the most fun that you can buy. I love mine. Excellent companion to the Exige. I have also owned all three generations of the Miata, and while they are solid cars, the current gen isn't as fun as the earlier cars, or the BRZ for that matter.
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post #4 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 09:48 PM
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First generation supercharged Toyota MR2 maybe?
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post #5 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 09:59 PM
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Inexpensive is a bit of a relative term. For 5k or less, I'd say go for an MKI MR2 or an early miata. For +/- 10K you can get a MR-S with a 2ZZ already swapped in it, which is a very fun little car. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the BRZ/FR-S near the same price as an 05 Elise?

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post #6 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 10:09 PM
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S2000. Very capable platform, and maybe a bit easier to drive at its limit than the MR Elise (AP2). But I dont know what you mean by inexpensive...a specific price range would be helpful

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post #7 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 10:29 PM
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S2000. Very capable platform, and maybe a bit easier to drive at its limit than the MR Elise
Im with this guy. I loved how the S handle. I also have the miata as of the present but a turbo is a must for me. Its a bit short on power.
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post #8 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-25-2012, 11:35 PM
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I too have a Miata. In fact I've owned one continuously since 1995. It's not in the same class as an Elise. In fact I think they don't even go to the same school!


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post #9 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 12:20 AM
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Yeah, I'd go ahead and say Miata as well. I've got a beat-to-sheeit 1996 Miata and that thing, while not as fast or as pretty, is super fun and capable. In fact, driving the Miata has underscored three things that are left wanting in my Exige.

1) Pedal placement. The Miata's pedal placement is perfectly spaced for heel-n-toe.
2) Throttle response. Perhaps it's the drive by cable or that fact that it's an NA motor. But the time from stabbing the throttle to revs is instant and direct. In the Exige, there is a noticeable lag and the engine never quite blips like you want it to.
3) Shifter. The Miata has a great short throw, it's crisp, it's direct. The Elige's in comparison... well, we all know this one.

Either that or a BRZ/FR-S. I'd sacrifice a few small mammals for one of those.

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post #10 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 04:56 AM
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I'm going s2k as well.
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post #11 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 05:06 AM
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1. S2K
2. Miata

They are both under $15K

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post #12 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 07:47 AM
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In my opinion the Acura NSX comes closet overall to an Elise. While not as cheap as the other cars mentioned they can be found in the mid $20K's. It's a well handling, mid engine sports car with an exotic/unique look and very similar power to weight figures as the Elise.


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post #13 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 08:03 AM
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I think s2000 comes close. Looks upscale compared to the miata and has a high revving engine.

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post #14 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 08:53 AM
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post #15 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERP View Post
In my opinion the Acura NSX comes closet overall to an Elise. While not as cheap as the other cars mentioned they can be found in the mid $20K's. It's a well handling, mid engine sports car with an exotic/unique look and very similar power to weight figures as the Elise.

Dude, Dude, he said cheaper than the Elise, the NSX is more expensive than an Exige.......Coņo Chico!!

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post #16 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 11:00 AM
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Dude, Dude, he said cheaper than the Elise, the NSX is more expensive than an Exige.......Coņo Chico!!
He never said cheaper, he said inexpensive. This is what he asked:
"What inexpensive car comes closest to the Lotus Elise? Short of buying an Elise, which would you recommend that you think comes closest to the Lotus Elise, in terms of steering response, handling, and overall fun?"

Low cost (non-salvage) Elises sell in the mid 20's to mid 30's. The low cost NSX sell in the mid 20's to mid 30's. To me that is the range of an inexpensive car.

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post #17 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 11:01 AM
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The Elise is like nothing else on the road, superior in its driving/go-kart attributes, but lacks the refinement of other cars mentioned by posters above. Having owned several Miatas (currently own a Monster-Miata - also nothing like it as well), the Miata is stealth on the road and is a nicely balanced car, but in my opinion is under-powered and drives quite ordinary in stock form. The FR-S, is wonderfully balanced, a complete package, but I can't wait until TRD come out with a Supercharger.

The S2000 and NSX, have the refinement that the Elise lacks, and offer performance that the Miata and FR-S lack, but both are still missing the go-kart attributes that can not be replicated in the Elise which is 700 pounds lighter than the S2000 and approximately 1,000 pounds lighter than an NSX.

In the end the driving characteristics of the Elise win many over, despite lacking some of the refinement found in more conventional cars.

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post #18 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 04:49 PM
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I've had a miata, while light and tossable, the "feel" is not the same. The polar moment of inertia is not close to the same because of the FR configuration. A MK1 mr2, especially with manual steering, comes much closer to the lightness of controls and ease of changing direction. I have a turbo MKII, and the feel is not the same, heavier, more roll, etc. A MKIII spyder would be close as well, maybe not cheap enough though.

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post #19 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERP View Post
He never said cheaper, he said inexpensive. This is what he asked:
"What inexpensive car comes closest to the Lotus Elise? Short of buying an Elise, which would you recommend that you think comes closest to the Lotus Elise, in terms of steering response, handling, and overall fun?"

Low cost (non-salvage) Elises sell in the mid 20's to mid 30's. The low cost NSX sell in the mid 20's to mid 30's. To me that is the range of an inexpensive car.
Come on bro, if you ask me for an inexpensive car and throw in the name Miata I would think you mean cheaper but don't mind me, i'm dyslexic and can't spell worth zht!! so I'll clarify my point...

"The Miata and S2K are more inexpensive than an Elise and are close in overall performance" there I said it!!

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post #20 of 99 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 05:14 PM
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Having also owned a MX-5, I can say that it is the perfect set-up car for Lotus ownership. Very fun to drive and tossable, but the steering is still less direct and not "telepathic" like the Lotus. The Miata power-to-weight response, even with my supercharged MX-5, seemed less than my normally aspirated Elise. The Miata short-throw shifter was excellent.

I owned both for a couple of months before I sold the Miata, and until I drove the Elise immediately after the Lotus, I never noticed how much body roll the MX-5 had by comparison.

If I wanted an "affordable" dedicated track car though, I'd probably go with a good Spec Miata. There's lots of parts and support available, and the RWD balance and handling is great... Just not as good as the Lotus.

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