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My two cents would be, do you like driving a race car on the weekend or a performance car? Elise is pretty much a race car on the road, it's cramps, hard to get in/out, uncouch, uncomfortable, loud, ride really low, I can barely see into the window of the adjacent sedan. Evora is going to perform quite similar, but will be on the other end of the spectrum with everything else. It's much more comfortable, real audio, real AC, actual supportive seats, decent ride height, and your passenger would likely enjoy the ride.

With all that said, I would pick the Elise over the Evora just because I enjoy the rawness of the drive in the Elise. It's pretty much you and the car. There's almost nothing else in between.

I pretty much agree with this. I prefer the Elise/Exige over the Evora just cause I appreciated how simple and raw it was. It was different from your every day car on the road. Not to be mistaken that the Elise is better than the Evora. Totally different beasts. If I had to drive it 3-4 times a week, it would be Evora no question. With the Elise, I have my other vehicles if I need something more comfortable. Really comes down to preference. Sit/drive in both.
 

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Been living with an Elise for about 1.5 years. I don't plan on getting rid of it for many years because, as the Lotus sales associate at Galpin told me, there just isn't anything like it today... short of a Caterham or a Gokart. And due to modern safety regulations, there may never be anything like it ever again. So from an ownership perspective, you truly do have something unique and special.

The Evora is absolutely gorgeous and is definitely more livable. If I'm ever unable to drive an Elise anymore, I may consider switching for an Evora 400 or 410 Sport... the engine noise they make sounds awesome as well. What I love about Lotus the company is that both of these cars are offered predominantly in manual transmissions, bless 'em.

That said, you'll get lots of attention in both cars.

I'll echo what other posters have said... drive both and decide then. No wrong choice here.
 

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I own both Exige NA and Evora S; I also owned 06 Elise before. Best if you test drive both and experience them to see which one better suit your lifestyle. Below is my feedback:

Exige NA:
1) Raw go-cart like handling
2) Removable top
3) Cornering is better than my Evora S
4) Rattles and not as comfortable as my Evora S
5) Much slower than my Evora S and it’s harder to drive fast, especially over 80mph

Evora S:
1) Much easier to drive fast; 2nd gear can pull to 80mph quickly and can feel your body kick back in the seat.
2) Comfortable, great for long road trip and can carry lot of luggage space.
3) Easier to get in/out; most of my passengers prefer my Evora S if they need a ride.
4) 2 small kids can sit in the back seats. I have driven 3 of my kids to school many times.

If I can only get one car, I would get the Evora S.
 

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-Oldish
-Tallish
-Fat-ish
If any two of the three above describes you, you're gonna hate climbing in and out of an Elige

I own an Evora S but would recommend you buy the Elise. Every gearhead should own one once in their lifetime and when you sell it you'll probably get your money back so what's to lose.
 

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Thanks! I think I’ll like the Elise/Exige because its so raw. The Evora looks really nice too though, but can it handle corners for spirited driving and be just as fun? It seems like it can but I haven’t heard much about the Evora.
This might be relevant.
 

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AKA “Prolene”.
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I plan to bequeath Lotus Elise, as has been said, nothing like it, nothing will be similar to it. For more “refined” “sporty” car, I personally would try a “P” car. To each their own....
 

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All 3!
 

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They Evora is simply a spectacular automobile and looks to be a comfort to drive. It will be in my garage when I can't get in and out of the Elise anymore. My Elise is an open top, leather glove comfortable, raucous, floating cheetah for twisty country roads. A driver's car. Every sense is bombarded when driving her in a 'spirited' fashion. You learn a lot about how to drive well as she is forgiving and allows you to push the boundaries as you learn more and more. The smile never leaves your face.

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2005 Elise 111R Owner
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As far as I'm concerned, the entrance/egress thing is an argument in favor of the Elise over the Exige (unless you soft-top the Exige, of course). Getting in and out of the Elise with the top off is pretty straightforward. There are several ways to do it, just remember to put your weight on the door sill and seat back instead of the windshield header. It can be done looking almost graceful once you figure out how.



With the top on is another matter - there is no graceful way to duck your head down that far while also putting your butt in the seat. That said, it does get a lot easier with practice.



If you do find yourself operating the Elise without a roof most of the time, you'll be wanting a cap to keep the sun out of your eyes during much of the day (I store a ball cap under the passenger seat for this purpose). The windshield header is quite far forward and doesn't block the sun at all.
Yep. Baseball caps and sunscreen are always in the boot here in NZ. Burn time is about 10 minutes during the summer here.

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We bought an Evora because I have a 10 year old daughter who sits in the back seats. With my short wife in the passenger seat pulled all the way up, they both fit reasonably comfortably. Can't do that in an Elise/Exige.

We went with an N/A because like said above, it was much easier to locate one. The S was more expensive and harder to find...plus almost all of them have an IPS (automatic transmission), and I prefer the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Thanks guys! Now I’ve got to find some locally to test drive. Thats going to be the hard part! But I’m leaning towards the Elise/Exige since I can see those two being timeless car because of nothing like them being made anymore. Im just worried about the comfort thing when going on 2 hour drives. I really do like the styling and the v6 sound the Evora makes, but the Elise/Exige seems like a more special car.
 

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We bought an Evora because I have a 10 year old daughter who sits in the back seats. With my short wife in the passenger seat pulled all the way up, they both fit reasonably comfortably. Can't do that in an Elise/Exige.
Yeah, this is why I ended up with a Celica convertible when I really wanted an S2000 back in 2005 or so. The Elise is a great choice if you have a more practical car in rotation; not so much as your only DD, but then you probably knew that.

The Evora has an actual bambino shelf back there and is adequate for transporting munchkins short distances. You get a nicer ride with that chassis length, but it does cost some nimbleness as it always does.

Re the video: Clarkson liked all of the extruded monocoque Lotuses he drove. His point about the Evora is that it's bigger and more grown up, and a decent street car. His preference for the Elise was the nimbleness and communication it offered. It's all about the level of compromise you need, IMO. I don't think an Evora is an adequte substitute for an Elise or vice versa. They're really very different cars for all they're technically quite similar.
 

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After watching this, it kind of makes me want an Evora. Dang...
ha ha ha... I know, right? Evora is a great car, but to me Elise/Exige is still the one. I'm also lucky enough to have a partner that is willing to suffer with me for my passion. :grin2:
 

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Thanks guys! Now I’ve got to find some locally to test drive. Thats going to be the hard part! But I’m leaning towards the Elise/Exige since I can see those two being timeless car because of nothing like them being made anymore. Im just worried about the comfort thing when going on 2 hour drives. I really do like the styling and the v6 sound the Evora makes, but the Elise/Exige seems like a more special car.
It is really easy driving an Elise for 2 hours. I did 8 hours and that ride was still one of the most fun in my life. And I have an 05, which has the hardest, least comfortable seats.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
ha ha ha... I know, right? Evora is a great car, but to me Elise/Exige is still the one. I'm also lucky enough to have a partner that is willing to suffer with me for my passion. :grin2:
Haha, mine doesn't mind my passion either...she thinks its cool that I like cars and motorcycles, so that definitely helps!

It is really easy driving an Elise for 2 hours. I did 8 hours and that ride was still one of the most fun in my life. And I have an 05, which has the hardest, least comfortable seats.
Awesome thanks! I notice that when I go out for spirited drives they usually last around 2 hours or less, so if its fine for that, I'd totally want to go for an Elise or Exige.
 

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I was deciding between the two cars, and rented both (well, an Exige was the closest I could find to an Elise for rent) to live with them for a few days. They're both great, but very different. I got an Elise.

Like others have said, you should drive them both, but I'll add that you should drive both a lot, at least a full day, and maybe a few examples of them. Each car might have bothersome quirks, but they could be specific to one example (my Elise has no rattles, though the Exige rental did). I noticed things after a while that didn't catch my attention on the first drive. You might change you mind after driving for a full day or more.

A few details I observed that you might think about when you're test driving:

- Visibility: poor visibility bugs me and I found the Elise better for me. The Exige had none out the back, the Evora had a little bit, and the Elise had a bit more.

- Sensation of speed: wind in my face makes me feel like I'm going faster, and I wasn't getting enough to suit my taste in the Evora, even with the windows down. Roof-off Elise was the winner.

- Knick knacks: where to put our drinks, phones, etc. This stuff can be changed with aftermarket accessories, but in stock form, neither were great for me. Bring your knick knacks along for the test drives, the two cars have different layouts and possibilities. I also measured for my large gear/luggage and was satisfied with both, but...

- Your other cars: I can fit my skiis, and maybe even a passenger into an Evora. I can only get my shorter snowboard into the Elise. That means solo trips for late spring ski days. But we've got a practical 2nd car for winter and trips together, so the Evora's functionality was redundant for me. What else is in your garage makes a difference.

- Ergonomics: the 2 Evoras I drove were ok for me, but the Elise fit my body better somehow, even with its lack of adjustments. Time in the seat showed these ergonomic issues. Bring your usual passenger for test drives too. Mine could not attend with me, and doesn't like the seat as much as the Evora's now.

- Heat: cabin warmth didn't bother me in the Exige and Elise, but the Evora rear window was radiating heat after a long drive and competing with the AC. Might have been a broken window seal though.

- Footwell: I think there is a tiny dead pedal you can add on to the series 1 Evora, but otherwise I found my left foot sitting oddly on the floor. The footwell felt more comfortable in the Elise for me, and had a dead pedal already. But on track the Exige side sill dug into my leg a bit. I heard the series 2 Evora footwell is improved.

- Punishment for driver errors: the Evora gave me the impression that it would forgive lousy driver inputs more than the Elise. Probably the stability control, or lack thereof on the Elise. This didn't bother me, but something to think about.

- QC: I noticed little fit and finish issues after spending more time with the cars. This bothers some people who are accustomed to paying a luxury car price and getting a luxury car in exchange. This didn't bother me, but my wife thinks my priorities are odd sometimes. The newer cars generally sound like they've had incremental improvements.
 

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Past results are not guarantee of future results, but historically depreciation on the Evora has been like that of a normal car, whereas the Elige has hardly depreciated as all from new. I don't know if that's a factor for you but I thought I'd bring that up because I don't remember seeing anybody else mentioning depreciation.
 

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I didn’t bring this up because it can be good or bad for the buyer depending on buyer’s priority. The Elige has bottom out and has been appreciating since 2012. Where as the Evora is still trying to find its bottom. Therefore, buyer can get great deal on an Evora, but not so with an Elige. I own both cars, drive them several years now, do my own maintenance on them. So, I know both cars very well and its compositions/parts. At the current market, I feel the Elige is overly price and the Evora is a more value buy. However, Elige only owners can say get the Elige as its value is appreciating.

Past results are not guarantee of future results, but historically depreciation on the Evora has been like that of a normal car, whereas the Elige has hardly depreciated as all from new. I don't know if that's a factor for you but I thought I'd bring that up because I don't remember seeing anybody else mentioning depreciation.
 

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I agree that the Elige is overpriced in the market right now. It also really has no competition, as there's nothing else in the 2000 lb/200 hp bracket. Indeed, other contemporary production cars under 2000 lbs are things like the original Honda Insight and the Smart Fortwo, which definitely aren't known for their performance. I'm honestly wondering when someone is going to ask me what kind of kit car it is, because it certainly doesn't look like what people expect 2005+ production cars to be. Sure you can get quite a few cars in the 4000 lb/400+ hp bracket, but that doesn't get you what an Elige does, except in the math.

It's that uniqueness that is driving the Elige price bubble. Will it stay that way? Nobody ever knows. That said, the fundamentals driving the bubble aren't going to change: It's the lightest, smallest high performance car you can buy with airbags for all occupants, rollover protection, and a modern, (reasonably) reliable drivetrain with good support. They aren't available in the US new, which is also bound to help the prices stay elevated, as is the fact that S1 (Rover) cars are not yet legally importable under the 25 year rule. If fuel prices go up, I expect Eliges to hold their value better than a lot of cars just because feeding a 1.8L Toyota engine isn't much of a burden.

The Evora, by comparison, is visually comparable to a Cayman among other things, doesn't have a removable top, and is still made and available new from the dealer in the US. That's going to depress the used market somewhat by comparison.
 
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