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This as an older review of the Euro Elise. It's from Autoweek Magazine in April, 2002. Some of the details have changed, but I wonder if the last part of this review bothers anyone. It bothers me. While I am on "the list" for this car, I certainly don't want it to be breaking apart as I drive. Any idea if Lotus will up their build quality for the less tolerant and overly litigious U.S. market?

Here's the review:

http://www.autoweek.com/search/search_display.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_code=reviews&content_code=08403923&Search_Type=STD&Search_ID=1652190&record=7


and the relevant text:

"It may be the perfect car in which to learn to race, but in everyday use it can be a pain in the butt. The seating position is so low that you’re looking up at scooters, for Pete’s sake. The immediacy of the suspension—so revered on the track— becomes busy and jolting on the commute. Inserting oneself into the Elise requires an inelegant torsion of the torso that would do a praying mantis proud. In our test vehicle, the rear window rattled and buzzed. A defective Clarion audio deck would illuminate but not function, then later went full-blast and could not be turned off. The luggage space is enough for a day-pack, but forget the quick run to the airport or grocery store. The pedals are tiny and wedged into a footwell better measured for the aforementioned third-grader.

As appropriate for a British roadster—even one built by a company owned by Malaysian interests—the roof leaked. At speed, a trickle would drop straight down from the A-pillar onto the driver’s knee. Worse was the pond in the driver’s seat after the Elise was parked in a rainstorm.

First gear was recalcitrant at a stoplight. For those with a freeway commute, the Elise gets squirrelly above 80 mph with any sort of side wind. Other notes: The mid- engined Elise suffers poor cooling in slow traffic, prompting a toasty interior. The noise level is nearly intolerable, requiring shouting to converse with a passenger. Though giving a digital readout, the fuel gauge was erratic, insisting we had used more than 1.5 gallons of gas in 10 easy miles. The headlamps gave meager support at night. And the Lotus emblem peeled off the gearshift onto my hand. "
 

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Nope.
 

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"It may be the perfect car in which to learn to race, but in everyday use it can be a pain in the butt.
Subjective. And nobody is thinking it's a luxo cruiser.

The seating position is so low that you’re looking up at scooters, for Pete’s sake.
Sounds here like he has an axe to grind. The lowness is a major plus point. If someone does not like that, they could buy an SUV.

The immediacy of the suspension—so revered on the track— becomes busy and jolting on the commute.
I disagree from my experience, but any sportscar is a stiffer ride than many other cars. Did the reviewer normally drive a Buick or an SUV? That which he calls "busy and jolting" I call "Connected so I can feel the road."

Inserting oneself into the Elise requires an inelegant torsion of the torso that would do a praying mantis proud.
Yes.

In our test vehicle, the rear window rattled and buzzed. A defective Clarion audio deck would illuminate but not function, then later went full-blast and could not be turned off.
Here are real quality issues and less subjective. The Clarion unit is not on the USA cars and does not reflect on Lotus' quality. The rear window does, but I have read that Lotus has improved a lot on body fitment. Secondly, how old was the car they test drove?

The luggage space is enough for a day-pack, but forget the quick run to the airport or grocery store. The pedals are tiny and wedged into a footwell better measured for the aforementioned third-grader.
Two subjective points that are not unknown by those buying it. Pedals are small for easy heal/toe use and why would we need bigger pedals? Of course hauling ability is limited. What was the litmus test this was measured against? It sounds again like an SUV. This is a street legal racing car. Not a grocery hauler or airport cab. Is the writer striving for cuteness in his writing?

As appropriate for a British roadster—even one built by a company owned by Malaysian interests—the roof leaked. At speed, a trickle would drop straight down from the A-pillar onto the driver’s knee. Worse was the pond in the driver’s seat after the Elise was parked in a rainstorm.
Much has been written about the improvements in the top. This complaint is valid based on other reports of the same leaking. But we have read that the new cars have solved this.

First gear was recalcitrant at a stoplight.
I did not experience this, though I thought the gear shift was rubbery. But since we get a new gearbox, it is not relevant.

For those with a freeway commute, the Elise gets squirrelly above 80 mph with any sort of side wind.
IT IS A SPORTS CAR!!! Wow. Not a Hummer.


Other notes: The mid- engined Elise suffers poor cooling in slow traffic, prompting a toasty interior.
Cooling will be different in the Toyota powered Elise. So that is not relevant.

The noise level is nearly intolerable, requiring shouting to converse with a passenger.
It is a convertible. A midengined one at that. Where you can hear the engine. For some, not conversing is not a bad thing. :) However, from my test drive, I don't agree with this at all.

Though giving a digital readout, the fuel gauge was erratic, insisting we had used more than 1.5 gallons of gas in 10 easy miles. The headlamps gave meager support at night. And the Lotus emblem peeled off the gearshift onto my hand. "
Ahhh... more quality issues. Not sure about the headlamps. Sounds subjective and the writer seems to have an agenda. The erratic fuel gauge (like my present Mercedes) and the emblem coming off are less subjective and speaks to general quality issues.


In regards to general quality, I have read that Lotus has improved from certain factors including the knowledge that they had to for the USA market. However, do I expect a car that is not a little quirky? No.

In general... is this a car that is noted for a smooth ride? For a lot of inertia on the road because of it's weight? For having spacious footwells and large cushy footpedals? Is this a car noted for being quiet at speed? Is this a car known for it's excellent climate control? A car noted for it's height and ability to see over cars? A car noted for how well it can haul groceries and passengers and luggage?

NO

The reviewer missed the point. I have owned that perfect car that was all of the above, my Lexus. And I sold it because I hated it. :)

P.S. Welcome to the forum. It's a good article for discussion, I just don't agree with the points for the most part.
 

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Honestly a lot of those comments that seem to be "complaints" are just the style of the author. Probably partly trying to get across the point that its a no-nonsense, purist's car.

We all know its low and small, and subsequently has small luggage capacity and is tricky to get in. It is a sportscar after all. The car is a roadster at that, yes... it will be hard to talk. They probably meant with the top on, but I don't believe its very well insulated anyway. Blown around at 80mph? A 2 ton SUV gets blown around at speeds lower than that.

The actual "defects" that are mentioned (radio, Lotus emblem, guage, window, etc.) may probably be attributable to their sample being a factory test car. The Hethel test track was mentioned in the article, so this car is probably beat on, on a regular basis. When was the last time you heard a radio malfunctioning like that?

I've heard of door window rattles in Euro production cars. (Which are supposed to be solved with the US powered ones). But I haven't heard of the rear window rattling.

The US spec. twin oil-coolers will reduce engine/bay temp, and depending on where they are located, may reduce the cabin temp. a little. Although, I've never heard of someone complaining of the cabin temp.

The 1st gear comment doesn't apply since US gets the 6-speed Toyota gearbox.
 

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It sound like he’s better suited to a GT car not a Sports Car. I think most of us know what the Elise is. Some can deal with it as an everyday driver... Good. Some can't, that's cool to. I can but won't, I have another car for that. But after work I know which car I'll be driving:D
 

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He certainly has an axe to grind! To be fair though this car is not a new "people's car",it is a road legal race car. Certainly not a car for the masses.
However, if I could afford it, I would have 2 on order!
 

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Wow, harsh review. I wonder what they thought they were reviewing? The author obviously wasn't evaluating the Elise's characteristics and strengths as a sports car. But then, when there are so few true sports cars on the market these days, perhaps it's understandable...how do you review something for which there is truly no competition for comparison?
 

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I don't know if it's editorial or what, but it seems like many of the reviews on Lotus are unusually harsh. Maybe because years ago one of th autoweek writers wrecked a press car demo esprit before he even got out of the building!
Chris
 

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Hans Stuck said:
the Elise gets squirrelly above 80 mph with any sort of side wind.
Irrelevant! Our speed limit is 70mph. None of us will drive over the limit let alone (god forbid) 80mph!

Where's that thread locker guy when you need him. :p

On a serious note the car reviewer for the Wall Street Journal is even worse. This guy complained that getting his dry cleaning and groceries with the new Lambo was just not practical. And he was serious. :rolleyes:
 

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I never did like that review much, but at the time it was nearly the only attention paid by the U.S. automotive press (followed later that year by the R&T handling shootout, in which the Elise won overall but was then relegated to second place because it was deemed to not be "practical" enough). I think some people will just never "get it", with the Elise, and some "get it" immediately.

I have heard from folks who claim to be in the know that Lotus has recognized that the U.S. market will demand a higher level of build quality, so I'm not worried. Besides I've always known and expected that purchasing a Lotus would be something like an adventure - if I wanted to be entirely gauranteed of wonderful reliability, I'd have to buy a Lexus or something !
 

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Silly review. The windows in the doors indeed rattle (until tightened up), and the Lotus logo on the gear stick, well... very true... lot's of us loose it :) Mine came of after just a couple of months. Stuck it back on with some sick power glue stuff and it have never ever .... ever... moved again :D
 
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