I'm in love, and her name is Elise...
Just got back from my test drive. It was freakin' hot (at least 90), while I am used to mid-70's. If you take a drive there, I recommend an evening drive. In the end, the heat didn't stop me from grinning from ear to ear. I made an appointment when the saleswoman called me yesterday. Although she had previously taken it around the block, I was her first test driver. I think she was as excited to drive it as I was.
She drove first, and as a passenger, I noticed that literally everybody was rubbernecking to get a better look at the car, especially when we were stuck in traffic on the 17. (Luckily, I didn't come across any traffic
). It's definitely an attention-getter if you are into that. I didn't notice once I started driving.
When I got behind the wheel, I noticed my relatively wide shoe barely cleared the brake pedal when on the accelerator. The saleswoman recommended taking my shoe off, and I did just that; I happened to be wearing slip on shoes today. I think I'm going to invest in narrow driving shoes, or start shaving the soles of my right shoes.
Other things I noticed, relative to my '99 Miata: I know I can't expect the transmission to be like my Miata, but I definitely hope the US car will be a vast improvement over this Euro-spec car. It felt like the opposite: vague shifts, long throws; I even missed 5th gear on the highway (leaving it in neutral). As for rear vision, I'm used to having no blind spots (I almost always drive with the top down); on this car, it is quite bad. I'm also used to having a center arm rest. The thigh of the woman sitting next to you becomes your arm rest, not necessarily a bad thing.
The unboosted steering and brakes felt very solid, more like a go kart than anything else I've ever driven. Even the steering wheel is go kart tiny. After reading and reading about other people's experiences, I can say the drive was exactly as I expected: awesome! The only major negative part of the experience was leaving the dealer, knowing I probably won't be driving the Elise for a while
I took a few photos and will probably get around to posting them tonight. The car does look a little different in sunlight vs. flourescent lights.