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Randy,

I just got back from a test drive, at a dealer that is trying to control the madness and meter when customers can come and demo the car, so I'd like to post annonymously. If you think the following stream of consciousness is worthy of sharing, please post this w/o my identification. Thanks! And man, you guys were right!!!

Trest drive route/length: 25 minute test drive, commercial zones, back roads and freeway; moderate surface street traffic, no on/off ramp traffic (!)

Conditions: hot, clear, dry

Cons:
-Shifter throw is fairly long and somewhat vague
-brake pedal feels spongy in first few cms of travel
-rear view mirror is too big (seriously - it impeeds looking through corners at speed)
-center console does move/wobble a bit, but it is not noticable when driving
-lots of attention from other drivers on the road (when they can see you)
-start sequence is a little annoying
-the soft top takes up much of the trunk



PROS:
-I fit with a helment on (6'2"), but there is some interference with the headrest forcing my helmet forward. The seat was not all the way back, I was clear under the soft top by an inch or slightly more, but I'm unsure whether I'd pass the broomstick test.

-The shift lever is canted toward the passenger, with my long legs that's great!

- I'm indifferent about the exhaust; it sounds better than the Rovers I've heard, but it could use some aggression throughout the rev band. It does sound quite good at the upper end (6-8k). I'm still considering the sport exhaust.

-The second cam lobes REALLY WORK. Remember the early turbos with their lag and huge last second rush? They're back, in the head of this motor. Luckily the gears are just about close enough together to keep up on the "high side" of the cams.

-The car can be driven sedately at low revs without issue.

-It was comfortable (no LSS, obviously) over potholes and generally crappy surfaces. But even over the potholes it felt well constructed.

-The StoneGuard stuff was nearly invisible; you really had to look for it.

-Soft top easy to stow/remove (30 seconds off; 90 seconds on - first try)

Conclusion: I've owned or driven heavy, high power cars on the track and street (S4, STi, "vette, 911), light(er) weight race cars (Miata), autocross-prepped MR2s (MkI and MkII) (and other, less notable iron) and that test drive was the most fun I've had in a car - laugh out loud fun - holy crap lets do that again fun - buy stock in Yokohama fun - period. Without pushing, the car will double any posted (suggested) on/off ramp speed. With only the slightest effort - triple. I can't wait to get it on the track. And yet, it was perfectly fine (for me) on the street. A/C works, suspension is compliant, and the car is not a "chore" to drive the way some track-biased street cars can be. Hopping into my "sports" sedan for the trip back to the office, I felt like I was getting in an SUV. My perceptions are warped right now; it's unlike any car I've ever owned. With time, I'm sure certain livability issues will start to present themselves, and the search for more power may seduce me, but out-of-the-box, it's fantastic. I'm selling the motorcycle.
 

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Randy Chase said:
Randy,

I just got back from a test drive, at a dealer that is trying to control the madness and meter when customers can come and demo the car, so I'd like to post annonymously. If you think the following stream of consciousness is worthy of sharing, please post this w/o my identification. Thanks! And man, you guys were right!!!

Trest drive route/length: 25 minute test drive, commercial zones, back roads and freeway; moderate surface street traffic, no on/off ramp traffic (!)

Conditions: hot, clear, dry

Cons:
-Shifter throw is fairly long and somewhat vague
-brake pedal feels spongy in first few cms of travel
-rear view mirror is too big (seriously - it impeeds looking through corners at speed)
-center console does move/wobble a bit, but it is not noticable when driving
-lots of attention from other drivers on the road (when they can see you)
-start sequence is a little annoying
-the soft top takes up much of the trunk



PROS:
-I fit with a helment on (6'2"), but there is some interference with the headrest forcing my helmet forward. The seat was not all the way back, I was clear under the soft top by an inch or slightly more, but I'm unsure whether I'd pass the broomstick test.

-The shift lever is canted toward the passenger, with my long legs that's great!

- I'm indifferent about the exhaust; it sounds better than the Rovers I've heard, but it could use some aggression throughout the rev band. It does sound quite good at the upper end (6-8k). I'm still considering the sport exhaust.

-The second cam lobes REALLY WORK. Remember the early turbos with their lag and huge last second rush? They're back, in the head of this motor. Luckily the gears are just about close enough together to keep up on the "high side" of the cams.

-The car can be driven sedately at low revs without issue.

-It was comfortable (no LSS, obviously) over potholes and generally crappy surfaces. But even over the potholes it felt well constructed.

-The StoneGuard stuff was nearly invisible; you really had to look for it.

-Soft top easy to stow/remove (30 seconds off; 90 seconds on - first try)

Conclusion: I've owned or driven heavy, high power cars on the track and street (S4, STi, "vette, 911), light(er) weight race cars (Miata), autocross-prepped MR2s (MkI and MkII) (and other, less notable iron) and that test drive was the most fun I've had in a car - laugh out loud fun - holy crap lets do that again fun - buy stock in Yokohama fun - period. Without pushing, the car will double any posted (suggested) on/off ramp speed. With only the slightest effort - triple. I can't wait to get it on the track. And yet, it was perfectly fine (for me) on the street. A/C works, suspension is compliant, and the car is not a "chore" to drive the way some track-biased street cars can be. Hopping into my "sports" sedan for the trip back to the office, I felt like I was getting in an SUV. My perceptions are warped right now; it's unlike any car I've ever owned. With time, I'm sure certain livability issues will start to present themselves, and the search for more power may seduce me, but out-of-the-box, it's fantastic. I'm selling the motorcycle.

remind me not to buy the car he just drove...hit the upper cams on demo testdrive??...please replace that ECU unit...:)
 

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In Sigfriend's voice (from "Get Smart"):

Who IS it dat has driven dis Lotus Elise? You must tell us! Vie have vays to make you speak! :p

Great review! It makes me want to drive one even more! I'm glad that some dealerships are allowing "decent" test drives and not just "around the block in bumper-to-bumper traffic" test drives!

Bob
 

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Forgot to ask Chris this question after he got his car. How's the rear visibility when you try to back up or when changing lanes?
 

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Re: Re: Another Test Drive

mact3333 said:
remind me not to buy the car he just drove...hit the upper cams on demo testdrive??...please replace that ECU unit...:)
I'm glad the reviewer had fun, however I agree with mact333, don't think I would want that car if that's how they allow people to test drive it.
 

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Late October arrives. Dealer demos eligible for sale, at least in some cases. Your car isn't due to arrive for several more months.

Brave enough to try to buy a demo?? Would the dealer still expect to fetch a premium for a used (and abused?) car? Would they sell?

Any thoughts?
 

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Not as informed response as Chris is able to give but...
I remember when I tested the Euro Elise, being quite comfortable changing lanes. It could have been, however, my relative speed to the rest of traffic that made it easy. It always does.

On the freeway, I see a lot of people with incorrectly set side mirrors with way too much overlap. For the vast majority if vehicles, you should not be able to see the side of your car. In two of my vehicles at home for instance, the side view mirror is slanted away from the car (not even, not inward) to minimize overlap between the side and rear view mirrors.
 

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Note to anonymous test driver, you're NOT EVEN supposed to go in the 6-8k range until after the first 600 miles. Sorry, but it's a bit criminal to do this, would you do it in your car the first 600 miles?

Don't have a prob with rear visibility, far better than the Esprit ever was. But you really have to get into the habit of using both sideview mirrors as much as rearview mirror, essential with just about any mid engine car.

Except for abusing the engine it was a nice write up.

Chris:)
 

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I just spoke to my dealer (matheny) in FL and they said they would be selling their demo after the required time at a Premium if I wanted.
 

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will they let you test drive the demo car?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Frankly, I have always assumed that dealer cars were commonly abused when tested.

I know I did when I tested MR2s a while ago.

That is why they should sell at a discount.
 

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zvezdah1 said:
Note to anonymous test driver, you're NOT EVEN supposed to go in the 6-8k range until after the first 600 miles. Sorry, but it's a bit criminal to do this, would you do it in your car the first 600 miles?
A bit of a reach, but it's not impossible that the demo could have had several hundred, if not the full 600 miles on it. He didn't give an odometer reading and there were some reports of demos arriving on Saturday... 150 miles a day by the dealership's GM?

As far as it being unethical, it's the dealer's car right now. What he does with it/what he plans to do with it in 90 days is his concern alone.

If he didn't provide a representative to ride along to thump him upside the skull if he went on the cams, (or at least told him not to... it's not like the dealer wouldn't have the means to see exactly how he treated the car) that's the dealer's problem. Any attempt to sell it by the dealer without disclosing that it was an abused demo would be the unethical part. For all we know, he's written the whole cost off as advertising expense (if such a thing is possible...) and plans to keep it as a demo car for the next 2 years until the model changes.

Now if the dealer did tell him not to and didn't provide a ride-along and checked the ECU, I wouldn't want to be in the test driver's shoes come delivery/maintenance time. :D
 

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This thread brings up a very good point. What is the delivery milage on the cars? 14 miles? 4 miles? 100 miles? what does the factory and the shippment pput on the car on average? How do we know the car hasn't been used for a couple of "demo runs"? Chris, can you help here?
 

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My car had 12 miles on it.

Hoopy, that same dealer would be screaming bloody murder when the engine blows prematurely. Don't kid yourself, that demo will be sold eventually. According to break in you're not supposed to run the engine to full potential until after the 1000-1500 mile service. Not making this up folks, the guys at LCU specifically told me to stay away from the cam changeover (6200) until after the first 600 miles.

Chris
 

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zvezdah1 said:
My car had 12 miles on it.

Hoopy, that same dealer would be screaming bloody murder when the engine blows prematurely. Don't kid yourself, that demo will be sold eventually. According to break in you're not supposed to run the engine to full potential until after the 1000-1500 mile service. Not making this up folks, the guys at LCU specifically told me to stay away from the cam changeover (6200) until after the first 600 miles.

Chris
It may blow oil prematurely, but I don't think it will "blow" due to the abuse.
 

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aletes said:
It may blow oil prematurely, but I don't think it will "blow" due to the abuse.
you might be very well right but thats not the point...I think the point is that the ECU records all that info and if you hit the higher cams before 600 miles and IF something happens to your engine, your warranty can be voided.
 

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wallabyguy said:
This thread brings up a very good point. What is the delivery milage on the cars? 14 miles? 4 miles? 100 miles? what does the factory and the shippment pput on the car on average? How do we know the car hasn't been used for a couple of "demo runs"? Chris, can you help here?

very good points...this was thoroughly discussed on M3 boards in the past and on the BMW, the ECU could deternime maximum rpms and length of time but could not time stamp it...bet the Lotus ECU cannot either...so yes, someone could potentially thrash on your Elise before you take delivery and you could get blamed for it...but not a likely scenerio.
 
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