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Discussion Starter #1
This is only my 2nd post, so forgive me if i've missed something. i have some questions about Lotus cars, and searched but really couldnt find any answers. i am thinking of possibly buying an Elise in the near future. my questions are:

1) Are they reliable? how does Consumer Reports rate them?
2) What is their long term reliability after the warranty expires? do they breakdown alot?
3) Are repair bills typically high? i'm not rich, i couldnt afford a $1,500 repair bill 2-3 times a year.
4) Do they ride smooth, with little to no vibration?

thanks for any help!
Mike
 

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1. Yes. Fair to Poor.
2. Kind of like a Celica. No.
3. Higher than a Ford, lower than a Ferrari. Luckily (most I believe) Elise/Exige don't have that many "repair bills." Do your own service to save a dime or two.
4. As smooth as the road is but as it has been said in the past, you may be able to tell if the bug you just squashed had 6 or 8 legs.
 

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3) Depends on the damage, bad damage = big bill

4) Depends on Suspension and how they are set. I was in a S1 Elise the other week with the suspension set to the stiffest. Very uncomfortable feel every bump in the road. but very fun non the less.

Hope that helps.

Nick
 

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1. It depends on how you drive them. Forget CR for this car.
2. Search for the recent post with the 100K+ mileage car.
3. Body repair, yes, they're quite fragile.
4. It depends. A non track-pack Elise rides smooth enough, but you will get a lot of noises (creeks, rattles, squeaks, clicks, chirps, etc.).

Go drive one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
oops, after i posted i saw the "Elise Reliability" thread down below. sorry if i've cluttered up the forum. if the Mod(s) want to close this thread fine. if they wish to see what is brought up here in this thread, fine too.

regards, and again my apologies.

Mike
 

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3) Depends on the damage, bad damage = big bill
3. Body repair, yes, they're quite fragile.
Ha. I was thinking about mechanical, not body repairs. Yeah, those aren't cheap, even the "small ones." My local body shop repair rate for glass work is a little over double the rate for other body materials.

Get white, then all of the little chips in the paint can't be seen. Or go matte black and fill in the chips with a sharpie.
 

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Consumer reports has a distinct lack of understanding in one basic principle. There are a ton of average cars which are designed and tuned to do a ton of things reasonably well. Cars like the Honda Accord are the poster child for this type of vehicle. This is the type of cars Consumer Reports loves. Great cars are designed to do one or two things very well. The Elise and Exige are built in this mindset. They won't haul logs or take the 5 kids to the movies but they will give you the best pure driving experience of any car in the world. So if you are looking for CRs blessing, this isn't the car for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Forgot another question.

is it common for a Lotus dealer to know $$$ off the sticker? in other other words, can you get a Lotus Elise that says $50,000 on the sticker for around $45,000?

Mike
 

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Dealers set their own selling policies. Some discount, some don't. No dealer should be posting discounted pricing but should provide you numbers in person, over the phone or by email. Flexibility is usually based on demand and MY. Obviously a dealer with a new 2007 should be more agressive with that car versus a 2009 he just got in.
 

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http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f221/elise-reliability-69520/

There's no real way to address the issue of a "Reliable Daily Driver" since there are so many differing opinions and points of view on the subject.

For example, if I am coming from a motorcycle, the Lotus is a Cadillac in comparison. If I am coming from a Cadillac, or a Mercedes, or BMW, or a Lexus, the Lotus may not be "up to snuff" for me. If I am coming from a Miata, or an MR2, the Lotus is just a mega huge improvement in all ways imaginable. If I'm coming from a Toyota Corolla and am expecting that everything is going to be cheap to work on and that parts will be cheap too, then I am going to be sorely mistaken when buying parts for my Lotus.

The Lotus is not just a car, it is an experience. I think it should be a prerequisite to test drive one of these marvelous machines before asking questions... I know that may sound terrible, but I think everyone would agree that the car speaks volumes to a person in the first drive. It did for me. I sold my car immediately and bought an Elise in 2 weeks.

And in all seriousness, you need to sift through this forum because there is so much need-to-know information.

Good luck.
 

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my only comment is that if that is your list... i honestly do not think you will be happy with the car.
i just say that because you should take the approach that those things do not matter much...
 

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I'd agree it's probably not for you if you ask what consumer reports thinks of the car. I mean no offense by that, but it's just not kind of car for that kind of person. Enjoying working on your car, at least the easy stuff, is a prerequisite in my eyes for this sort of vehicle--that is not to say it is unreliable by any means. Things will come loose or start to rattle, and they need to be tightened down or adjusted. In terms of reliability, my 05 had some issues but the 07 Exige has been great so far. I imagine it's pretty comparable to most modern cars. (Over 30k on the elise, 15k on the Exige)
 

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I believe am the most practical person on the planet. It usually takes me 6 months to a year to decide on a major purchase, like a car. I do major research before buying.

With this car, I saw it on the road, driving into the LA Auto Show in 04. I told myself that it's time to do something impractical. All I had to do was drive it and I was sold.

I agree with others here that if you are concerned about Consumer Reports, or how "comfortable" it is, then this car is NOT for you. Consumer Reports is designed for an upper middle-class mother of three children. It is designed for the middle of the bell curve of readers... Lotus owners are on the fringes.
 

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4) Do they ride smooth, with little to no vibration?
Mike - you should think of the Elise and Exige as street-legal race cars. They are meant to be driven fast and hard around corners and the suspension is engineered to do that. They do not have power steering - intentionally - so that the driver has better road feel through the steering wheel. The suspension is designed to provide tremendous handling and responsiveness. Having said that, the Elise and Exige have fairly absorbant suspension systems because they don't have to support very much weight. For sure you should test drive the Elise over some typical roads in your area to see if you like it or not.

"The Lotus Elise is the best handling sports car in the world." - Motor Trend

"There is no Ferrari on sale with steering as fluent and faithful, nor is there a Porsche with a more agile chassis. It is the best-handling car on sale." - The London Times
 

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The Elise/Exige completely fails in all manner of criteria that are a priority to old farts doing evaluations for Consumer Reports.

And that's exactly why I love it so much!
 

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Mike, go rent one for a day and you'll find out whether the Lotus is for you.
If you buy one, drive sane...and the thing will be ultra reliable. I've had mine for 2.5 years/6K miles and all it cost me were 2 oil changes to the tune of $125 each. If you want to stay really low budget, stay away from the ultra sticky tires which will only last 5K to 7K miles depending on how you drive (no track days included).
Yes, they ride really smooth, especially if the track has just been resurfaced.....rotfl
 

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the factory suspension is suprisingly compliant - but the 'race' seats isolate little, and thats a good thing! so you can feel the vibrations and harshness - thats feedback :)
 

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1) Are they reliable? how does Consumer Reports rate them?
I wouldn't recommend CR for ratings, try some of the other car review companies like edmunds, motor trend, etc. Most people seem to have few problems with the Toyota engine.

2) What is their long term reliability after the warranty expires? do they breakdown alot?
They have only been in the US since late 2004, so this question really can't be answered accurately.

3) Are repair bills typically high? i'm not rich, i couldnt afford a $1,500 repair bill 2-3 times a year.
Only major mechanical repairs, or any body work. Expect oil changes to be about $150.

4) Do they ride smooth, with little to no vibration?
Absolutely not. Everyone that rides in my car complains about it. Maybe I could soften my suspension or something, but that would ruin the feel of the car.
 
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