Tesla owner now wants the real car - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Tesla owner now wants the real car

Hi I just joined this group with having an interest of buying Elise or Exige but I don’t know how to drive manual lol and I don’t have any friends that has manual car either.

What will be the best way for me to get in the Lotus?

I recently got the motorcycle license in NJ but I think it’s still different.



****Thank you so much for the feedback everyone! I can't wait to join you guys for the meetups*****

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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 07:19 AM
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As a motorcyclist you will love the Lotus. It might behoove you to buy an old cheap car like a Civic and learn to drive manual. When you are comfortable, sell the car. You probably won't lose a dime on a Civic.

The Elise is dynamically one of the purist driving cars that you can still buy. We have some very clean cars that we have properly prepped, so call me when you are ready.
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 08:01 AM
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I respectfully disagree with Shinoo; my wife learned largely on my Elise and picked it up much faster than my daily driver at the time. Many economy cars (included most recent years of civics) are so far removed from the driving experience that you cannot feel anything through the controls, and the engine response is very laggy. The directness of the Elise (especially the cable-driven '05) makes it very repeatable. You learn quickly what happens with certain inputs, and that repeatably makes it more friendly to a learner.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 08:17 AM
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While I'm not sure a Civic is the best (I understand Shinoo is trying to provide a cheap solution) I'm also not sure the Elise is best either. I was willing to let my wife learn on it as well though. Most cars are repeatable enough to learn on and I'm not sure you need a "drivers" car to learn on. I learned on beat up old farm trucks and some well used cars that had less than ideal shifters. I think you learn better on something that takes skill to keep the car running, feel the clutch engagement and has some weight to it get moving on hills. This gives you experience on stalls, sounds, pedal feel for engagement and a true appreciation once you move into a newer car. I wouldn't recommend buying an old beater, it will likely have plenty of issues and good luck selling it for what you buy it for, so a cheap eco car might have to do. The Elise is also easy enough to shift you'll be fine. Bottom line, don't worry about learning to drive a manual as you'll pick it up quick enough (you shift your bikes right?).
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 09:43 AM
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You could learn on the Elise directly.

When I learned manual I learned on a Corolla that I bought new. A friend who drove manual picked it up for me and then I just started driving it. I think it took me about a month to feel comfortable driving it. I have kids now and they seemed to have learned much quicker than I did in my day, maybe in just 2 weeks.

If you go this route just plan to drive it for a few weeks in uncrowded streets until you feel confident.

People suggest to learn on car "A" and then move onto car "B" when you are good enough. The reasoning is that you might mess up the clutch in car "A". In my case, I learned on my new Corolla and the clutch lasted the life of the car (21 years). So you don't really need to start on a different car. Starting on a different car might be less stressful though. You'd be less worried about poor gear shifts.

My 2 cents.
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Last edited by David Craig; 08-21-2018 at 09:46 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 01:13 PM
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A stock Elise drivetrain is also a stock 2000-2006 Toyota Celica drivetrain. Because of the lighter weight of the Lotus, it is incredibly forgiving of beginning driver errors. We wannabe-racers may choose to zip around at 6000-8000 RPM, but the engine is perfectly tractable and provides polite (and probably economical) motoring in the 2000-4000 RPM range (I admit to spending a lot of time tooling around at 2000-2500 RPM in town probably because a decade of driving the truck-like ST184 Celica). The clutch is big (plenty of lining, so forgiving of a few mistakes) and has pretty soft engagement (avoids stalls and jerky starts). Gear ratio steps are rational and progressively shorter as you go up in gears, so pretty easy to match shifts with.

I agree with cyow5 and David Craig - I don't think a stock NA Elise would be any harder to learn a manual trans on than anything else, as long as you had an experienced driver (preferably familiar with similar cars so they're not struggling with the sports car nature of the beast while trying to teach) showing you the ropes for the first hour or so. Likewise, it would be a better teacher than some - the fairly light flywheel and light vehicle weight rewards good RPM matching, for instance, unlike a lot of newer manual trans cars I've driven, which have a heavy car with a big flywheel and strong synchros and don't really penalize you for just slapping it down a gear and dumping the clutch.

All of that said, I wouldn't want to teach a driver on something with serious performance tuning like cams or a power adder. The room for error goes down as you get closer to the limits of the hardware.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 03:52 PM
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Look around...it will take a while...find and rent a manual
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 03:52 PM
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One can rent sticks at low-end car rental places.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 04:52 PM
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Most would agree that it's preferable to learn to drive stick on a regular mid-size car of some kind, vs a sports car (but not an under-powered car, as those will stall easily). But learning on an Elise isn't too out of the question. (tho I do tend to stall sometimes going in reverse up my driveway) .

But since we're on the subject, an article just came out featuring a friend of mine who also was in the same predicament - but he bought a Viper and didn't know how to drive stick! ..and R&D just released an article on his story:
https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-cul...a-dodge-viper/

makes learning to drive stick with an Elise sound easy!
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 07:49 PM
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Good reference. Viper owner was sort of not bright.....
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05 elise (BOE Rev300 supercharged, SSRs, shift tower mods, Multivex; HID hi/low beams); 05 Corolla XRS. Past '72 Elan Sprint (I restored), Lotus 7 w/X-flow, TT Supra, Bugeye Sprite, BMW 2002 & 2002tii, '65 GTO.

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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 06:00 AM
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We have a Tesla too. From a reliability standpoint, a British car is an upgrade.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 06:07 AM
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I think if he can ride a motorcycle fine. The general concept and understanding of the clutch is there.

You just don't want to go to look at your first Elise and have that be your first experience with a manual car.

As someone suggested above, rent a car. Even look into a website like Turo...where you can rent cars from other people. You're more likely to find a manual car that way.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 06:13 AM
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tesla roadsters
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 07:16 AM
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Disagree that the Elise Is incredibly forgiving. It is subject to drop throttle oversteer that can get someone new to mid engine cars, let alone new to manually shifting, into BIG trouble.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 09:36 AM
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Yes, indeed. We've seen a lot of that.
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05 elise (BOE Rev300 supercharged, SSRs, shift tower mods, Multivex; HID hi/low beams); 05 Corolla XRS. Past '72 Elan Sprint (I restored), Lotus 7 w/X-flow, TT Supra, Bugeye Sprite, BMW 2002 & 2002tii, '65 GTO.

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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4380r View Post
Disagree that the Elise Is incredibly forgiving. It is subject to drop throttle oversteer that can get someone new to mid engine cars, let alone new to manually shifting, into BIG trouble.
If you are driving on the limit while learning how to shift, what happens next is not going to garner much sympathy from most people.
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 09:58 AM
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My fiancee wanted to learn to drive my Elise, but while the car itself can handle a new driver, all of the car's quirks can make it a more stressful experience for a beginner. We bought her an Abarth 500 to learn on and within a few months she was confident enough to drive the Elise with zero issues. A well-bought Miata/Civic won't lose any money in the short time it takes to become competent.
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by cyow5 View Post
I respectfully disagree with Shinoo; my wife learned largely on my Elise and picked it up much faster than my daily driver at the time.
Cars that you shouldn't learn how to drive a manual on:
- cars with big expensive front and rear bumpers
- cars that have a very low front end that can clip curbs
- cars that are hard to see by the general public
- cars that are difficult or expensive (or both) to replace clutches on
- cars that people often stare at when they see.


Buy a cheap manual car... learn on that. It'll be a far less stressful situation than learning on an Elige.

Start by having someone take you to a big empty parking lot with a very slight incline (ie. when off the brakes, you roll only 5mph, max).
Put the car on the incline so you can learn how to use just the clutch to keep the car from rolling.
The incline will help teach you the engagement point. Then start using the throttle.

Once you get all that down, then worry about shifting.

Civics and Miatas are really good for this, because they have a wide range of engagement points.



OR, go to a dealership and learn on their cars
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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-22-2018, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4380r View Post
Disagree that the Elise Is incredibly forgiving. It is subject to drop throttle oversteer that can get someone new to mid engine cars, let alone new to manually shifting, into BIG trouble.
I agree with this. When I first purchased my Elise I learned this very quickly. Being someone who has operated/owned manuals from their first car, this surprised me.

Week one I was heading on to an onramp, right turn off a 40mph 3 lane road, I slowed, downshifted and applied gas..... unexpected the car did a 180 and I found myself facing the opposite direction next to the barrier wall. Phew! That could have gone bad quick! I wasn't even doing anything crazy but learned to be respectful of a mid engine car very quickly after reading up on what would have caused this behavior.
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobius97 View Post
I agree with this. When I first purchased my Elise I learned this very quickly. Being someone who has operated/owned manuals from their first car, this surprised me.

Week one I was heading on to an onramp, right turn off a 40mph 3 lane road, I slowed, downshifted and applied gas..... unexpected the car did a 180 and I found myself facing the opposite direction next to the barrier wall. Phew! That could have gone bad quick! I wasn't even doing anything crazy but learned to be respectful of a mid engine car very quickly after reading up on what would have caused this behavior.
That's very interesting. I have found the Elise to be very forgiving in good conditions. At high speeds, turns and curves tend to be so easy as long as you continue to apply increasing power. She basically performs the turn all by herself and seems to cradle you in doing so.

At low speeds, hard 90 degrees or hairpins, yes you do need to apply increasing power more carefully. I have had a couple of times where I felt the rear tires 'complain' a bit. It's a subtle feeling and it seems like the car is talking back to you. Not a reason to let off but knowledge that you are close to her limit.

It's then easy to remember speed and gear selection prior to turn entry. I tend to accelerate a bit before the apex as the Elise seems to appreciate it. My road home (see below) is 12km of fun with a speed limit of mostly 100kph.

As for learning in an Elise... I have driven stick all my life. The Elise is the least 'squirrely' of any clutch I have ever driven. Yes there is a bit more pressure required to bring up and lower the clutch plate but, like everything else with this car, you really do feel connected. Scary engineering.

I would have loved to learn on this type of car.
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