The agony of indecision - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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The agony of indecision

I've been lurking for quite a while, off and on, on this forum.

I've had a Cooper S since 2004, and now my lease is up. With the 2007 MINI redesign looking rather BMW-ified, my mind has been wandering back to the Elise. The Audi dealer really wants to get me into an A3, as I assume they have some hefty quotas to meet. It's a nice car, the interior is one of the nicest Audi has done on their entry-range, and it has plenty of go-power in every gear. But it's 3200 pounds and doesn't quite have the same spryness as the Cooper. And at its price point, my mind starts to justify the cost of an Elise. Granted, it would have to be a used Elise, and probably an '05.

My wife thinks I'm foolish, but hasn't gone so far as to "forbid" it. I imagine the impracticality of such a car as my daily driver, commuting 40 mins every day in LA traffic, is a bit laughable from an outside perspective.

Any Angelinos out there using their Elise as a daily driver? Is it "reasonable"? Are you constantly worried that someone talking on their cell is going to cause you a $2k clam repair job from a rear-end tap? Or is being wealthy enough to not blink at the potential maintenance/repair costs of an Elise part of the criteria for answering the question "Are You a Lotus Driver?" in a positive fashion?

Thanks for any input you can offer.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:14 PM
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I'll give you my opinion, although I may be in a minority here.

I don't use mine as a daily driver in LA and I would not do so. I have an Audi as a daily driver and after 1.5 years has it's share of battle scars that I wouldn't subject my elise to. The Else,IMO, is too fragile to use in LA as a daily.

Parking is the first problem. You really can't parallel park it safely.

Although I go out of my way to not use valet, sometimes it is not possible to avoid them.

Creeping up entrance ramps in heavy traffic is murder on the Elise's delicate clutch.

I can probably think of many more reasons why I don't, but I won't go on.

Besides, it's my fun car. When I get in it, I associate driving it with pleasure and not the pain of LA traffic.

But, this is me. Some do use it as a daily driver with no problems. I guess it depends on the individual.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:20 PM
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I'll give you the other side of the argument. IMHO, it's a car - snazzy, but a car. It devalues daily and is susceptible to all kinds of random hazards like debris on the highway, wayward shopping carts, bird poop, etc. So what. Drive it as often as possible let it get the "patina" of use and set aside a little money to replace things when they wear out. In exchange, you will truly enjoy the journey as much or more than the destination.

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:24 PM
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i have an a3 with the dsg and an elise, as well as a 2000 bmw mcoupe. There is absolutely no comparison between the audi and elise...the audi is nice, comfortable, and the dsg is fun and likely the future of transmissions. It shifts faster than humanly possible, and paired with a turbo is unbeatable. But after a couple of weeks, you'll end up leaving it in D. I have yet to try it on a track or a windy country road. The reason for that is that i also have an elise, and why would I take a small station wagon to the track when i have a sportscar? The audi feels like a bus after getting out of the elise, the steering wheel is huge, you're looking down on people,etc...but around town and on the highway, it sure is comfortable. My wife loves it...

To answer another question, i was bumped in a parking lot, and now the body shop says I need a a whole new rear clamshell...my insurance has to cover it because I don't know who bumped it. The crack is less than one inch long, but the rear clam is fiberglass...so the car is more fragile than some...and even though my wife cannot drive without talking on the cell phone, I am the one that gets bumped...so I don't drive it as a daily driver. Plus too much attention.

Another reason for that, is that around town, torque is fun. The mcoupe really is fun for daily driving...enough torque to spin the car at intersections, and big throaty noises as well...I guess a corvette would be fun..

but if you have to have one car...audi a3 isn't a bad choice, wrx or evo are too (i had an evo for awhile too, by the way..)

Sorry for the long reply, and I'll go back to lurking now...

vasracer
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2006, 04:54 PM
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I live in LA and have to drive the 405 into westwood from the valley... for those that know the area, no more traffic descriptions needed.

I own 5 cars... my daily driver is "suppose" to be the jag. I have had the Elise almost two years and it has 17,000 miles. The problem is that when I open my garage, I always seem to look around and end up driving the Elise, I have no idea why...
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianomaniac
I'll give you my opinion, although I may be in a minority here.

I don't use mine as a daily driver in LA and I would not do so. I have an Audi as a daily driver and after 1.5 years has it's share of battle scars that I wouldn't subject my elise to. The Else,IMO, is too fragile to use in LA as a daily.

Parking is the first problem. You really can't parallel park it safely.

Although I go out of my way to not use valet, sometimes it is not possible to avoid them.

Creeping up entrance ramps in heavy traffic is murder on the Elise's delicate clutch.

I can probably think of many more reasons why I don't, but I won't go on.

Besides, it's my fun car. When I get in it, I associate driving it with pleasure and not the pain of LA traffic.

But, this is me. Some do use it as a daily driver with no problems. I guess it depends on the individual.
. . . And where you live. . . .

Working on getting : 06 Elise (sport/touring/hard top) or Exige or Exige S. . .

Anthony Cosentino
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 06:04 AM
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Although I am not a West Coast resident I thought I would add my 2 cents.

I don't think you would want to use the Elise as a daily driver.
As some have already said here...it's a great thing to have as a "reward"
when you really want to experience driving.

I'm a big fan of Audi's but have never been able to pull the trigger on one mainly due to their weight and price. You can get good deals but of course the most desirable models/combos still command the right price too.

How about another MINI "S"??
I just picked up my 2006 "S" on Friday.
What a HUGE difference from my 2002 model.
Dare I say it feels almost like a BMW???
The quality is so much better and it even seems to handle in a MORE go kart like fashion!!

Maybe you could go for the Elise and get a decent used 2nd car too.
Good luck with your decision.
Welcome to the forum too.

2002 Mini Cooper S.....Traded
2000 S2000.......Traded
2005 BRG Elise, Touring, Hardtop, Starshield....5-24-05
2006 AB Mini Cooper S....12-15-06
"Get busy livin', or get busy dyin."
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 06:11 AM
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Here is my criteria for driving the Elise rather than my other car (now my wife's old PT). If I won't be in bumper-to-bumper traffic, if I can park it in a lot, if I know the area I'm going to and it will be safe, it's not going to snow (not an issue in LA).

It's a little car and some people don't see them. Parallel parking is VERY dangerous if a big SUV parks in front of you. They can't see your car and will likely back into it.

Otherwise, it is my daily driver.

My car can be scary quiet...Ford Fusion Hybrid...A technological wonder. Power to spare, high mpg for the environment.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 06:14 AM
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As a side note, you can't get a clam replaced for $2,000 once you figure in labor, painting, etc.

'12 Evora-S; White; Tech/Perf/Suede
'65 Factory Five Shelby Cobra (SOLD)
'06 Exige; Polar Blue; Track/Touring/Stage II/LSD-TC (SOLD)
'05 Elise; Arctic Silver/Ruby Red (R.I.P)
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianomaniac
Elise's delicate clutch

What's with this delicate clutch? The Toyota Celica GT-S clutch isn't delicate. Is it a different clutch?

It is all about "Other".
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 07:25 AM
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I drive mine as often as I can. Rain or shine. Only snow can stop me!
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 08:10 AM
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Delicate clutch? I can balance on a hill just fine, is your foot made out of wood?

It could get tiring if it's all bumper to bumper traffic, I've been using the Elise as my DD for about 6 months, half my commute is flowing just fine, other half is stop and go... which can get tiring, but any manual transmission can get tiresome in bumper to bumper, just something you deal with you so during the GO GO GO parts you can have more fun!

I guess you should look at 1) your commute, how much is stop and go and how much is GO? 2) PARKING, really important - can you find a decent enough place to park on a daily basis? 3) Is it worth it to you? Expensive repairs and oil changes, but it is a toyota engine so putting miles on it shouldn't be a bad thing

If you get one, be careful and alert when driving, I wouldn't reccomend using your cell phone all too often (I have before but I hate doing it I'd rather be focused on driving, but you CAN talk just fine long as you don't put it on speaker phone and turn your volume up) You asked about if someone taps your bumper in traffic? I've never had that happen to me before, this happen to you before? Often? If you've had bad experiences with other drivers on the road... maybe better to get a less stressful car

Better have good insurance, but most importantly, have fun!
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 08:11 AM
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Why not buy the Cooper S if you're happy with it and be done.

My daily driver is an orange plastic toaster
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 08:21 AM
 
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I wouldn't shy away from driving the Lotus daily. I do it! How can one resist? I still don't understand people who only put 1k-2k miles on a year and baby the crap out of it. Drive the thing and quit wih the psuedo garage queen, uptight anti-driving behavior. It's a cheap machine! Why buy something you rarely use? It's the same people who use pocket protectors to "protect" a $12 Walmart shirt, or chicks who buy Beanie Babies and leave it in plastic thinking that one day in the future they will have a "collector's item" worth millions of dollars. Sorry to say it ladies, but Beanies ain't gonna be worth jack, considering that there are about at least 50 million made! lol Oh, and if your pens ruin your shirt, just go back to Wally World and shell out another 10 bucks, you cheap bastard!

Hmmm... I should look to see if there is a correlation between the showcar, garage queen types and people who MUST post a pic of their girlfriend, a picure of how "hot" they are, and/or them doing "really cool things" that we should all be jealous of. I bet it's connected! Has this helped?
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 08:25 AM
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Lol well the Elise isn't exactly cheap for everyone...

But I can't understand why people baby it either, I'm sorry - TOYOTA ... You shouldn't be too afraid of racking up the miles, why did you get the car if you rarely drive it? Seems like a waste...
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 08:40 AM
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I'll chime in...

I'm also not too thrilled with the redesigned MINI. Although I don't live in LA, I also would not recommend using an Elise as a daily driver - even without any bad weather.

If your choice is between a used '05 Elise and a new A3, I'd take the A3. Better yet, since you're not "gaga" over the Audi, you can take a hard line during negotiations; dispassion is always good in such transactions.

Whatever you decide, enjoy your purchase. Let us know what you wind up getting.

Kevin

Magnetic Blue/Hardtop/Starshield - sold 5/17/05
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I'm not trying to compare the Lotus and the A3 directly ...that's like comparing kiwis and watermelons. Since the Lotus buzz started in 2004, I've been thinking about getting an Elise after my MINI lease was up. But then Lotus decided to jack the price way up. I mean, in the pricerange a new Lotus is, I'd rather take a Cayman as a daily driver, just for its (relative) practicality. But I can't afford that pricerange. Fortunately the '05s are at a point where it's on the cusp of doable for me.

I appreciate all the input you guys have offered. Pianomaniac, you say "you can't parallel park it safely." Are you being literal here, in that it is very hard to do in the Elise, or are you just saying that there is a higher chance of someone hitting you? Also, you say the clutch is delicate ... I'm not particularly hard on clutches, but are you saying that normal stop-and-go is going to wear it out quickly?

I've heard Elises are pretty bad in the rain. This is the only inclement weather I'd worry about in LA. Is this just from the A048s, or is it something more specific to the Elise itself?

I know that someone in my area is driving one daily... I see them leave from the Marina del Rey area where I work all the time. Of course, they may not have the trek I do. But I'm used to driving a stick in traffic. It sucks, but it's not the end of the world. I'm also used to British car oddities ... although the MINI is BMW-designed, it is built in England and I think they had a couple extra pints the day mine was assembled. I've had the accelerator pedal break off at freeway speeds on the 405. Good times!
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 11:21 AM
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I drive my Elise every opportunity I get.......Life is too short and I bought the car to enjoy it.......Atlanta traffic is not as bad as LA but it's getting there.

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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 12:32 PM
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My Lotus is easy to own and a blast!

If your heart loves it...buy it!

Don't talk yourself out of it..............................

and they're fine in the rain. They're from England where it rains ALOT.


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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasabi
Lol well the Elise isn't exactly cheap for everyone...

But I can't understand why people baby it either, I'm sorry - TOYOTA ... You shouldn't be too afraid of racking up the miles, why did you get the car if you rarely drive it? Seems like a waste...
Why the negativity toward people who care about their cars? Does putting a ton of miles on a car make it more justifiable to own the car? Not all of us live in the sunny warm states that can enjoy the car year around. Personally, the Elise is a fun non-Winter car for me. It is not a daily driver to work, becuase it is not business friendly. It is not my vehical of choice when spending time with the family, because there are no seats for the kids. Aside from that, there are other cars in the garage who also deserves some driving time...so they don't go to waste. So, does that mean I shouldn't own an Elise? Or is it OK simply because I like the car and drive it when I can.

05 Elise (RIP)
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