First Test Drive Questions from Newbie - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2006, 02:40 PM
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First Test Drive Questions from Newbie

Hello All

This is my first post, so please be gentle...I guess I have wanted a Lotus ever since watching The Avengers, and I have been following them for years in the US, but never thought about owning one. The Elise might make this possible for me. I have also been avidly following this forum for quite some time, and have read everything I could about the Elise and Lotus in general. I got up the guts to test drive one today. I have not driven a stick in 28 years, but after a few minutes in a parking lot the salesman told me I was good to go. I never went over 4,000 RPM, and never over 50 because after all, it's been 28 years and it's not my car. I am very lucky to currently drive a Cayenne Turbo, and have had an E55, and BMW 540's in recent years.

The '06 car I drove had the stage 2 exhaust, so a little loud, but I did not find the ride at all harsh, about the same as the Cayenne in "sport" mode - let me tell you, 5400 lbs in sport is a pretty firm ride. I believe it had just under 1,000 miles.

The only thing that concerned me was the steering. I felt it was very slightly looser than I would have guessed, just a tiny bit like the go-karts at Disney world, i.e., turn the wheel a little before anything happens. I know it isn't going to steer like a big heavy machine on pumped-up power steering, but I would have imagined it being much tighter. Any comments on this point?

Ingress and egress not too bad, plenty of room in pedal box for size 10 reeboks, shifter motion seemed good, visibility good, didn't use radio or air, had insulated soft top in place (threat of rain).

And yes, I did stall it once, on an incline, but not too shabby for 28 years. Thanks.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2006, 02:45 PM
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My '06 steering has no perceptible play, there may be a problem with the rack in the one you drove. There were quality problems with the racks in '05, but I thought they had that fixed.

2006 Chrome Orange Elise: LSD/TC, Nitron SAs with 425/650 springs, BWR 7/8" ("Hardcore") Front Bar, Eliseparts bumpsteer kit, VF Stage 2, 2bular Header + Sport Cat + 8x24 GT3 Muffler, ECU Tune by Jermaine, Smaay's fuel rail, ACT XT clutch, Saikou Michi dual catch can, Moroso pan, Manly's mount inserts & FF Engine Damper
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2006, 02:46 PM
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Some of the steering may be due to the fact it's not power assist. I think most cars today are power assist steering. Must say I've never really considered the elise steering loose tho.

Just back from a weekend trip to Deals Gap Elise run, I did 1500 miles in it since Thurs. A joy to drive.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2006, 03:36 PM
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Depends on your definition of "loose." Do you mean the number of turns lock-to-lock or play from center?

I had expected the number of turns to be a bit tighter but find it to be spot on for road use - I can't imagine having less advantage on the rack in a parking lot. If you mean tracking, all I can say is that on the highway mine seems to wander a bit as I breathe - it's wicked sensitive and makes my last "driving machine" feel like about as responsive as a boat.

torque (trk) n. - an excuse for the lack of momentum.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2006, 05:20 PM
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On steering: are you responding to the way you get feedback from the wheels to the steering wheel? That was a bit disconcerting to me the first time I drove it. It felt as if the car was wildly going left and right as the road surface shifted. But after a few minutes it started making sense.

My 05 turns the wheels with the slightest movement of the steering wheel, so I can't understand why you might feel there is play in there. Simply not the case, the most responsive steering car I've ever driven.

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 #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-20-2006, 06:15 PM
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Just had mine for a couple weeks but the first thing I noticed driving down the interstate from downtown Minneapolis was the fact there was NO play in the steering. I love the direct steering feel with no power assist, much like my '71 Porsche 914, which I've had since new... there must have been something amiss in the car you drove.

'06 Elise, canyon red, (touring, sport, TC-LSD,HT, SS)
'03 Mini Cooper S
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-21-2006, 07:09 AM
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Steering Play

Thanks to all for posts, and also for not calling me names! Yes, it was the on-center feel more than lock-to-lock issues. It felt the wheel would turn an inch or two before wheels, and I did think it would be almost instantaneous. Now, this is the car the dealer uses for demos, and so it's quite possible it has been "abused." The sales person did mention they usually let more experienced customers run up to 8K rpm to feel the second cam come on, and I may have misread the mileage, because I was not intent on the odometer, but the road and the tach, and wondering what the heck gear I was in!

Still, all-in-all, the posts on this board did an excellent job of preparing me for all the issues I could expect, and I commend all the posters.
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