is Elise unsafe for US roads? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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is Elise unsafe for US roads?

with tons of trucks, SUV, soccer mom vans weight couple tons each, do you think the Elise is very vulenerable on freeway? I cant see it being a safe, comfy daily driver
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 12:59 PM
 
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I'm sure it meets the minimum requirements for safety as required by the Feds. Is it a comfortable and safe daily driver? I, for one, don't picture this car as a daily driver, unless you are willing to accept a minimalist yet extreme machine as a daily driver. If you are interested in comfort, convenience, safety, and reliability, I would suggest a BMW sedan.

However, if handling and performance is the most important aspect of your daily driver, and you are not as concerned about comfort, convenience, possibly safety, and reliability, then this is your beast!

Last edited by grundler; 05-12-2003 at 01:01 PM.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 01:37 PM
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I think this question applies to many cars, not just the Elise, if you are wondering what happens when a 4000 pound car hits a 2000 pound car.

The 2000 pound car loses.

However, the other data to consider is potential for accident avoidance and frequency of multivehicle collisions and types of collisions.

My feeling is that if you get struck head on or t-boned by a much larger car, that is not going to be good. But those types of accidents are only a percentage of accidents. If you run the car into something like a brick wall, the mass of your car is not as much an issue as the effectiveness of the crumple zones are.

Is it as safe as driving an SUV as far as car-to-car collisions? Probably not. But then an SUV is not as safe as Hummer which is not as safe as a SEMI. It's a compromise. How well does the cockpit hold up in a crash? How good is the crumple zone engineering?

And then the major thing (to me)... is accident avoidance. It's my opinion that a large number of accidents could have been avoided by better drivers in more nimble cars. A lower center of gravity will decrease rollovers. Light mass will enable shorter stops and quicker turning. Try accident avoidance manuevers in many SUVs. It's not pretty.

I don't consider the Elise exceptionally unsafe any more than any other sportscar.

In regards to comfy... no. It fits me like a glove and that is what I want. But it's not as comfy as my now sold Lexus SUV. The car is not about comfort as much as styling married to performance.

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 02:50 PM
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I look at it this way. For several years, all I owned was a series of motorcycles. I commuted on one year round here in Seattle. The Elise, no matter how minimal or hard core, has got to be safer and more comfortable than that. It's all gravy to me.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by andykeck
I look at it this way. For several years, all I owned was a series of motorcycles. I commuted on one year round here in Seattle. The Elise, no matter how minimal or hard core, has got to be safer and more comfortable than that. It's all gravy to me.

Good point.

It forces you to pay attention when you drive.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 03:37 PM
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I'll echo the point about accident avoidance. I currently drive a Miata, and I've avoided several accidents that I'm not sure I could have avoided if I were driving a typical 2 ton vehicle. I feel safer when I have more control--yes, I feel safer driving a Miata vs. driving an SUV. I have seen at least a half a dozen rolled over SUVs, and that's on city streets and freeways!

I'll also echo the point about crumple zone engineering. While the current Euro Elise does not have bumpers, it does have crumple zones. How effective? We'll know for sure when they get crash tested here. Large size does not necessarily mean safe. I remember in the early 90's that Cadillacs were among the least safest when in came to passenger safety--a lot of the shock transfered to the passengers. I remember this because I knew a girl whose parents bought her a Cadillac because they thought such a large car was "safe."

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan
I feel safer when I have more control--yes, I feel safer driving a Miata vs. driving an SUV.
*ditto*

no need for a full story, but yes, I, too, have avoided at least one accident in my little car that I almost assuredly would *not* have avoided had I been in a larger sedan or SUV (a couple track days in said little car doesn't hurt anything, either)

big cars have always given me an "unsure" feeling more than the smaller (read: more nimble) versions.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
 
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is the elise frame offer any structual advantage that adds safety?
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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I agree to what you saying.
But come on, those huge pick up truck and SUV think they own the world and some are pretty ruthless when they drive and change lane, yeah you can avoid accident but you could avoid it with any car. Plus the car is so small and so low those SUV and trucks are not gonna see you in their mirror. You dont know how much i hate those pickups with heightened monster wheels, I am coming from a MR2 Turbo so I know, I cant absolutely see when driving behind them

Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Chase

My feeling is that if you get struck head on or t-boned by a much larger car, that is not going to be good. But those types of accidents are only a percentage of accidents. If you run the car into something like a brick wall, the mass of your car is not as much an issue as the effectiveness of the crumple zones are.

Is it as safe as driving an SUV as far as car-to-car collisions? Probably not. But then an SUV is not as safe as Hummer which is not as safe as a SEMI. It's a compromise. How well does the cockpit hold up in a crash? How good is the crumple zone engineering?

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 05:32 PM
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The car is not that small. It's larger I believe than your MR-2.

And no, not all cars can handle the accident avoidance like the Elise can. Most people probably are going to be skill limited though.

Trucks, Minivans, SUVs, Semis, etc do own the road. There are that many of them. You can't change that. All you can do is surround yourself with my steel (join them) or drive better and make sure your car can handle well, the tires and brakes are good.

Besides, one can get hit just as easily by a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry and at freeway speed, that could be a very bad thing. I think it's more important to take the step of being as best possibly set up to be able to avoid the problem in the first place. That is a nimble car, good tires, and an alert driver.

Second is that the car should be safe because of good engineering. Your MR-2 is a case in point. No engine in the front, a frontal impact may seem like a very bad thing....but it's not. And the MR-2 enjoys a very secure cockpit, even though it's a small car.

P.S. Do you still own the turbo?

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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Chase
The car is not that small. It's larger I believe than your MR-2.

And no, not all cars can handle the accident avoidance like the Elise can. Most people probably are going to be skill limited though.

Trucks, Minivans, SUVs, Semis, etc do own the road. There are that many of them. You can't change that. All you can do is surround yourself with my steel (join them) or drive better and make sure your car can handle well, the tires and brakes are good.

Besides, one can get hit just as easily by a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry and at freeway speed, that could be a very bad thing. I think it's more important to take the step of being as best possibly set up to be able to avoid the problem in the first place. That is a nimble car, good tires, and an alert driver.

Second is that the car should be safe because of good engineering. Your MR-2 is a case in point. No engine in the front, a frontal impact may seem like a very bad thing....but it's not. And the MR-2 enjoys a very secure cockpit, even though it's a small car.

P.S. Do you still own the turbo?

I figured that many folks on this forum own/owned an MR2, probably the MR design the Elise and MR2 use. I still own the MR2 but I am debating whether I should sell it for the deposit of the Elise.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 07:49 PM
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I am a little confused about your original question, considering you have driven an MR2. The Elise will be in the same safety class as the MR2, and will not likely be an order of magnitude safer or more dangerous.

How long have you driven the MR2, and for how many miles? Have you ever been in an accident in the MR2? If yes, did that accident involve a large car or truck not seeing you and cutting you off? How accident prone are you?

If you're the type of person that seems to attract accidents, then you shouldn't feel safe in an Elise, especially if you don't feel safe in an MR2. I have never been in a car accident, and I hope that has at least something to do with not being in blind spots, not blindly entering an intersection on a green light, allowing agressive tailgaiters to pass me, and being constantly aware of surroundings and escape paths. I will feel very safe in my Elise.

If you do feel safe in an MR2, why are we even having this discussion?

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Last edited by Dan; 05-12-2003 at 07:54 PM.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-12-2003, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dan
I am a little confused about your original question, considering you have driven an MR2. The Elise will be in the same safety class as the MR2, and will not likely be an order of magnitude safer or more dangerous.

How long have you driven the MR2, and for how many miles? Have you ever been in an accident in the MR2? If yes, did that accident involve a large car or truck not seeing you and cutting you off? How accident prone are you?

If you're the type of person that seems to attract accidents, then you shouldn't feel safe in an Elise, especially if you don't feel safe in an MR2. I have never been in a car accident, and I hope that has at least something to do with not being in blind spots, not blindly entering an intersection on a green light, allowing agressive tailgaiters to pass me, and being constantly aware of surroundings and escape paths. I will feel very safe in my Elise.

If you do feel safe in an MR2, why are we even having this discussion?



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I feel OK safe in my MR2 coz it's a pretty strong car but its not feather weight, 2800lb+ without driver but elise you are talking about 1800-1900lb which is almost 1000lb lighter! Average family sedan nowadays weight more than 3000lb+
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-13-2003, 07:28 AM
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I'd recommend a good hands-on defensive driving course, which will either teach you or improve on some good skills for accident avoidance. An excellent one in my area (southern cal) is called Advanced Driving Dynamics. I took this course about two years ago, and I can tell you, there's nothing like actually experiencing and practicing things like maximum emergency braking (with and without ABS), turning while max-braking, spin recovery etc. It really gives you a lot more confidence, having the experience and knowing what a car can and cannot do. I recommend it for everyone, but esp. for those of us future Elise-drivers. Then, after that, a performance-driving class !

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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-14-2003, 09:28 AM
 
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I saw on the tube last night that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is going to start taking a closer look at SUVs and rollover issues. I wish I knew where they got the stats, but it stated that people are actually slightly more likely to be killed in an SUV in an accident. Without rollovers, the SUV is safer. But when you factor in rollovers and their frequency in accidents, the stats they put up clearly showed that you are better off in a car than in an SUV.
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post #16 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-14-2003, 09:40 AM
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That's right, people are finally, finally starting to realize that these monstrosities are not really that safe, after all. In fact, the head of one of the big federal agencies like NHTSA that regulate vehicles said publically that he wouldn't want his family using a big SUV, that he considers them unsafe ! Yippee.

The fact is that americans have been brainwashed into thinking that the bigger and heavier a vehicle is, the safer it is, when this in not entirely true. Safety is not all about passive safety, it is also about active safety, which means being an involved, alert and defensive driver and having a vehicle that can respond to driver input without tipping over !

(Rant over, through preaching to the choir)

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post #17 of 43 (permalink) Old 05-27-2003, 03:55 AM
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meh

Im used to driving tiny lowered miatas. I think I'll be ok. If not, you have to go somehow, least I'll go having fun.




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post #18 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-04-2003, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikester
[B]That's right, people are finally, finally starting to realize that these monstrosities are not really that safe, after all.
Very true. I never considered a vehicle that had a tendency to roll over as "safe".

Another safety factor on the Elise may be the large side sills. This is just my guess but those same high sills which make entry/exit a bit more of a chore, and the same high sills that add to chasis rigidity will help the Elise in a front and side impact.

As for being seen, I think the Elise will attract enough attention due to it's unconventional shape. However, it's size will probably attract a lot of people (especially in pickup truck) who'll try to intimidate. My motto is that if you rear end me, my lawyer will make sure you buy me (or my estate) a brand new car + interest!
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post #19 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-04-2003, 02:16 PM
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Just because a car is light doesn't mean that it can't absorb energy.

An aluminum structure should be capable of absorbing tons of crash energy. As long as the chassis is strong enough to maintain some passenger-area integrity, the low-mass of the car doesn't mean a thing about safety.

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post #20 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-04-2003, 03:58 PM
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Here are some links to elise crash information:

Elise vs. Ford Explorer -
http://www.jinx.de/~jolly/2001.09.EliseAccident/

3 Elises (including Steve Butts' old car) -
http://www.elises.co.uk/miscellaneous/safety/

Elise vs. new owner -
http://www.southrun.co.uk/dbrebuild.asp

Various battered elises -
http://www.wreckedexotics.com/elise/
http://www.mooncricket.com/exoticcra...dex_elise.html


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