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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #1
Been lurking for a while, reading and getting educated, before I created an account and embarrassed myself too badly. {grin} Now it's time to ask a few questions.

First, a little about me. As my username suggests, I'm an Engineer (primarily electronic hardware/software/firmware, with a bit of mechanical and production engineering tossed in). You'd have to work hard to find anyone more integrated and involved in technology than me, but I've also learned to apply technology where it's appropriate and - perhaps more importantly - NOT mindlessly use it where it's not.

That's why the Lotus mindset has appealed to the Engineer in me for decades. For example, I don't think touchscreens belong in an automobile. "Old-school" rotary knobs are the correct choice for things that are inherently analog like cabin temperature. Analog gauges are often faster for the human optical path to acquire and interpret in real time. I like traditional car keys rather than RF-based fobs. The electronics industry has been very good to me throughout my career, but that does not mean that more is always better.

I got a chance to test drive a Lotus when I was 18YO and have never forgotten the experience. In the meantime life has never been arranged such that owning one was even a remote possibility. But now our son is off to college, my career is reasonably well established, and my finances make it just possible to consider ownership.

After tons of reading I've settled on an Evora. I love the inherent reliability of the Toyota-Edelbrock-Aisen drivetrain (more on that below). My wife has had some spinal issues that make it less comfortable for her to contort into and out of something like an Elise or Exige, so the relative "creature comforts" of the Evora help in that department. This would likely be my daily driver (to the extent that I drive much, I work from home so there are often days that I don't leave the house) and it seems the Evora is the better choice for that use case. And it's often both me and my wife, with her driving ~50% of the time, so a bit more capacity (rear seat + boot) is helpful for weekend trips.

Manual transmission. Period. My personal car has never not been a manual and I'm sure as heck not buying a true sports car with an automatic. (No offense if yours is a different preference, I'm just trying to introduce myself here.) I'm interested in as much of a fully-engaged driving experience as possible. Fortunately, my wife agrees and has openly stated she is tired of automatics in her vehicles. (Her dream car is a manual roadster of some type but I'm hoping the Lotus driving experience will fulfill that for her.)

I am by no means a "car mechanic" but I do my own general maintenance on the seemingly countless engines we have in our cars, diesel truck, diesel backhoe, V8 wakeboat, 2-cycle jetskis, ATV's, generators, HPU's, and the like. If it involves dropping or opening the engine, transmission, etc. it goes to the shop, but changing fluids and normal component replacement/alignment is well within my abilities and tools. I've watched various videos on regular Evora maintenance and nothing I've seen scares me, but I'm also honest about my limitations.

My biggest hesitation is that we live in North Idaho. The nearest Lotus dealership is 350+ miles away. Casually dropping by to handle warranty details is not realistic. I understand that Lotus cars are hand-assembled, almost one-offs, and often have early-life issues that require warranty attention. My thought is to pick up a used Evora that has some mileage on it so that most of those issues will have been addressed. To be candid, I'm also interested in someone else taking the initial depreciation hit.

Based on all the above, I'm limiting my search to 2017+ model years due to various model improvements included before that. My top end model year is limited by my wallet, and by the warranty considerations mentioned above. I've found a few 2017's that have some warranty left, which would be nice in case something horrible came up, but I figure a few thousand miles and a few dealer visits under the belt will hopefully have sorted out any horrible infant mortality issues. I also have a very close friend who owns a full service, multi-brand car shop ~90 miles away so while he's not a Lotus dealer, I would trust him to work on a Toyota V6 (not sure how many superchargers he's worked on, though!).

With that introduction... I do have a couple of specific used Evoras that I'd appreciate some feedback on. But first, here are some questions as a sanity check.

1) Is it reasonable to own a Lotus 350+ miles away from a dealer? If I find one that has a few thousand miles on it, it seems most of the factory details have been sorted, and I can do my own basic maintenance, is it practical to be this far away? Or should I be honest with myself and stop being impatient and just wait for if/when I live nearer to an actual Lotus dealer?

2) Is 2017 a good bottom cutoff year for Evoras? I do want a supercharger so going back to NA models isn't interesting to me.

3) I've found three used Evoras I'm considering, one each in red, white, and blue. Any paint color problems that I've missed? I've run into certain car colors in the past that were worse for oxidation, or bubbling, or whatever. I haven't seen anything about specific colors being a problem but I'd sure hate to learn about it after the fact.

4) I've seen a couple of ads for single-digit-mileage 2018's at CA dealers, which suggests they are leftovers that didn't sell. Are leftovers common with Lotus cars, or is this a scam to lure in customers?

5) This would be a cash purchase for me. No banks, no financing, just a nice clean sale. Is it fair/polite to ask for a discount off the asking price for such a clean transaction? Or is the general rule that the asking price IS the price and it's considered offensive to haggle? One of the Evoras, in particular, is right at max NADA price so it "feels" like the seller has left himself some bargaining room, but I don't want to be a jerk about it.

I have lots more questions, but let's get started with these. Please feel free to ask questions back, I understand that newbies on sites like this are often unknowns and I'll answer anything I can.

Thank you!
 

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2011 Lotus Evora
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I bought a 2011 Evora 6 months back. I’d say it is possible to own one far away from a dealer once all the issues are sorted out but could be a hassle if you have a specific issue come up.

The person I bought my car from wasn’t near a Lotus dealer and couldn’t fix the problem of the traction control light coming on inappropriately in the car. He had replaced and adjusted the brake light sensor as described in this forum twice but that didn’t fix it. I tried the same when I first got the car for several frustrating days. The lotus dealer was able to diagnose the problem as a miscalibrated steering wheel sensor and fix it for relatively cheap (about $300 but took 2 visits so would have been annoying if I had a drive 300 to the dealer twice)

Lotus doesn’t sell their scan tool except to Lotus dealers so there is no way to get certain things done without it. There are some workarounds (the other problem with my car was the airbag light was inappropriately illuminated and I fixed that using a trick found in this forum of using a scan tool for Korean car).

I’d say if you were going to pay extra for a car still in warranty I’d want a local dealer close by to fix any issues so may not be worth paying extra for one that still has a warranty if you can’t use it easily. I think it’s okay not to have a local dealer as long as you realize there may be a small chance you’d have a make the trip for an unsolvable issue.

As to pricing you can go the the historical data on bringatrailer to get an idea of what the cars actually sell for. I also looked on the online sites like autotrader and autotempest for months to get an idea of the market and saw some of the same cara listed for months. I didn’t have as much money to spend so wasn’t looking at a 400 so don’t know that pricing as well. My local dealership had listed a 4,000 mile NA for 50k that I made a low ball offer of initially 39k that the salesman refused to take to his boss and then after offering 41k was told they had 45k in the car so at least at this dealership should have been able to get 5-10% off. I ended up buying private party from here (8000 miles) for 42k (listed at 44k). I didn’t negotiate that hard as I was picky on the color and had only see 1 similar color in 6 months. I probably paid too much but am very happy with my car.

If you aren’t picky up the color and have 3 cars you are interested I’d offer 10-20% below the asking price. There aren’t many cars available but there aren’t that many buyers either for Lotus so it isn’t easy to sell one. Looking at bring a trailer sales makes me realize this isn’t an easy car to sell compared to something that a Ferrari or mclaren. Fortunately I bought mine to keep for awhile otherwise I would be worried about finding a future buyer. With a major recession so you should be able to get a good deal.

Hope this info is helpful — I learned a lot from the website when I was shopping around.
 

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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #3
If you aren’t picky up the color and have 3 cars you are interested I’d offer 10-20% below the asking price... With a major recession so you should be able to get a good deal.
OK, so it's not totally rude to negotiate a bit. That's good to hear. I agree, given the economic situation right now a cash buyer should have an advantage. At least I hope so! I'm a polite, pleasant guy but I'm not made of money and there's no reason to overpay.

I'm in no hurry. Like I said, I'm watching three cars right now. I've had detailed discussions with one of the owners, he makes all the right noises but he's all the way across the country so I'd have to factor in a trailering arrangement. Last time I did that it was ~$3K coast to coast on an open trailer. That was for a wakeboat that was worth well more than any Evora I'd consider, but the boat was on its own trailer so an enclosed trailer wasn't really an option unless I wanted to go for one of those enormous units (with their enormous price tags). Maybe I'll look into getting a car shrink wrapped for transport.

Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate them!
 

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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #4
If you aren’t picky up the color and have 3 cars you are interested...
Speaking of color... like I said there's a red one, white one, and blue one. Red is a classic color, so that would be OK. White on a sports car has never thrilled me - not a deal killer but definitely a second choice. The blue is interesting, I can't tell from the photos exactly what shade it is. Almost appears pearlescent, one of those colors that changes depending upon the viewing angle. My wife's Honda Pilot is "Sapphire Blue" and depending upon the incident light angle and your viewing angle it appears anything from green to dark blue. It's a VERY cool effect and if the Lotus blue works like that I'd favor it by a lot.
 

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IDE,

I recently bought a 2017 Evora 400 and am happy with it. I paid cash, but a hint I got from a local non-Lotus dealership was NOT to let them know that I was a cash buyer as they often make significant money on financing.

So, walk in and say “I’m a cash buyer” and they immediately know they’re only making money on the original sale and not “the back end” so they’re less flexible.

Suggested approach is to discuss only price, and when asked how you’re paying to politely reply, “I discuss price first and financing last”, then get back to vehicle price.

FYI, I negotiated and got mine for about 5% below the advertised price (which was already a little below the NADA estimate).

Kevin
 

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IDE,

I recently bought a 2017 Evora 400 and am happy with it. I paid cash, but a hint I got from a local non-Lotus dealership was NOT to let them know that I was a cash buyer as they often make significant money on financing.

So, walk in and say “I’m a cash buyer” and they immediately know they’re only making money on the original sale and not “the back end” so they’re less flexible.

Suggested approach is to discuss only price, and when asked how you’re paying to politely reply, “I discuss price first and financing last”, then get back to vehicle price.

FYI, I negotiated and got mine for about 5% below the advertised price (which was already a little below the NADA estimate).

Kevin
Could you have the best of both worlds and finance the Lotus purchase, allowing the dealer to make some profit on the side, and then just pay it off instantly on the first payment?
 

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In many cases a loan must be held by the borrower for a given period of time for the seller to receive a commission but details are specific to each lender. If you're working so closely with the dealer that you are planning to accommodate them on this issue, the last question you might ask before signing is if the loan has any penalties (for you OR the reseller) if you pay it off early. I suspect any (smart) dealer with so thoughtful a prospective buyer would be happy to work with the purchaser in that event. But in the end, you have to do what's best for you as a buyer, including holding your cards a bit closer to your vest to protect your own best interests. There's nothing wrong with that and I would think any honest effort to make a situation win-win all around would be viewed very positively by the dealer regardless of the eventual outcome.
 

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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #8
In many cases a loan must be held by the borrower for a given period of time for the seller to receive a commission but details are specific to each lender.
Good points, everyone. When we bought our Dodge 3500 we were going to pay cash but the dealer gave us a further discount if we financed AND didn't pay it off until after the sixth payment so they'd get their cut of the action. We agreed to the terms and did precisely that so everybody was happy.
 

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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #9
I've found three Evora 400's to consider (still open to others if any show up). Here they are in no particular order, I'd love some comments.

1) 2017 in Metallic White with ~10K miles for $70K (2017 White Lotus Evora 400 For Sale). Significant details include the longest remaining factory warranty (12 months) and 100% 3M protective film. This one was purchased and serviced by our nearest Lotus dealer and is a day trip away for inspection and test drive. Concerns here are that we live at the end of about one mile of gravel road, so even if we drive ultra slow off-pavement I worry what that will do to a WHITE Evora.

2) 2017 in Solid Red with ~4K miles for for $75K (Autotrader - page unavailable). Significant details include the lowest miles of the three, Alcantara Pack, front 1/3rd protective film, and ~5 months warranty. Love the color but it's geographically inconvenient at 2/3rds the way across the continent. Concerns are it is literally at the top of NADA for 2017's, plus additional costs for inspection, test drive, and transportation from TN to ID.

3) 2017 in Metallic Blue with ~12K miles for $67.5K (For Sale - 2017 Evora 400 (Blue) - $67,500.00). Significant details include the lowest price and highest mileage of the three, shortest remaining warranty at ~4 months, Alcantara headliner, paint correction, and 100% protective film. Biggest concern is distance - it's literally on the other side of the continent.

The White looks super clean and would be an easy choice - but what about White as a color in general, and especially given a gravel road? We would absolutely CRAWL along the gravel until we reach pavement, but still. I will admit to mixed emotions about white cars. It's the most common car color in the USA. Fleet vehicles default to white. Rental vehicles default to white. Service trucks default to white. Yet it looks super sharp in the photos - maybe because it's an Evora! Is Metallic White a good choice on vehicles of this class? Or do most people just think "Ugh, another plain old white car" and shy away from white, turning white Evoras into white elephants?

The Red looks classic, and I generally like red vehicles. But red has almost been overdone in sports cars (thanks, Ferrari) so it just sort of blends in these days. OTOH, it starts as the most expensive to which we'd have to add a round trip for inspection/test drive and then a few thousand for safe transport across the country so we're talking close to $80K before it's over.

The Blue is both uniquely and attractively colored, and has the lowest asking price. But again there is the "remote purchase" overhead which would likely make it more expensive than the White which we can literally pick up the same day.

We would of course do a very detailed personal inspection (and I can be exceedingly detail oriented and fanatically picky), followed by a Lotus dealer PPI at our expense and control. So that is a constant across all of them.

Sorry for the rambling. It's just a big decision and we're "cursed" with several good options to choose from. Comments and guidance would be greatly appreciated. Which one(s) would you seriously consider? Any red flags that disqualify one or more? Is the choice much more obvious that I realize?

Thanks!
 

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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #10

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Discussion Starter #11
Oops, sorry, I didn't realize the site is auto-translating the link into its title text. It appears the text is clickable.
 

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Could you have the best of both worlds and finance the Lotus purchase, allowing the dealer to make some profit on the side, and then just pay it off instantly on the first payment?
Dealers do receive an incentive (finder's fee) from banks for selling leases/loans. So, walking in and declaring you're a "cash buyer" isn't a great negotiation tactic.

The first question a dealer asks is "how much a month can you pay?". It's a qualifying question, if you answer with $500/month, then the conversation will be about $500/month and NOT about the selling price.

I've used the strategy of telling the dealer I can pay cash or finance, I just want the best deal. Focus on the selling price, negotiating the payment terms comes AFTER you've agreed on a price.

After the price is settled, I'll say to the dealer, "I can pay cash, but I'm willing to finance if you can knock off a bit more. I just need to know what the bank terms are for early payoff." Typically, the bank will need 90-180 days of financing. If you pay off the loan sooner the dealer doesn't get their incentive fee. So you need to calculate what you'll pay in interest during before the bank payoff and weigh that against any savings the dealer will give you.

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

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Discussion Starter #14
khamai, I agree with your comments. However, it's looking like most of the Evoras out there are private sales so we probably won't be arguing, er, "negotiating" with a dealer.

Separately: Found a fourth Evora on this site (Awesome 2018 Lotus Evora 400, Metallic Blue, 6 spd...). It's another Metallic Blue, one year newer, with a substantially higher price tag. Are there significant differences between model years 2017 and 2018 that would make the latter a lot more desireable? I know Lotus doesn't necessarily revise their models every single year, but every few years there can be a big step (like original Evora, to S, to 400, to 410...). Just wondering if 2018 introduced anything important enough to justify the much higher price tag.
 

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As the owner of the 2018 Blue Evora ( Awesome 2018 Lotus Evora 400, Metallic Blue, 6 spd...) I'll add my 2 cents worth. My asking price is not substantially higher based on the $18,000 worth of options, low mileage of 1300, purchased new 04/10/19 with 22 months of warranty left. I'm not dissing the other cars and have not reviewed them other than the description above. Any well kept Evora that has not been abused should give you years of great driving and trouble free service. Although best to have as much warranty as possible to be safe. As you are an engineer you will go to great lengths and detail and ultimately bring home the perfect Evora.
 

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I’d suggest whatever color you and your wife like best since the percentage difference among them isn’t that much.

Personally I like blue with an interior other than black (I bought a blue one with an oyster interior) so I like the colors of the 2018 best. However easy to spend someone else’s money. :)

If you aren’t picky about color and want the lowest price then negotiate with all of them. You should have some protection with a few months warranty to get anything fixed If anything comes up. I’d just want sure you have enough time off work in the next few months to drive it a lot and have a few days blocked off to take it to the dealer to fix things while still in warranty (keeping in mind their could be a delay of a couple weeks waiting for parts). even drive the distance back to your house if your schedule allows so you could put a few thousands miles on it early on to see if any problems come up.
 

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2020 Evora GT in Formula Red, coordinated black+red interior, windowed engine hatch
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Discussion Starter #17

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Discussion Starter #18
I’d just want sure you have enough time off work in the next few months to drive it a lot and have a few days blocked off to take it to the dealer to fix things while still in warranty (keeping in mind their could be a delay of a couple weeks waiting for parts). even drive the distance back to your house if your schedule allows so you could put a few thousands miles on it early on to see if any problems come up.
As noted earlier in this thread, our nearest Lotus dealer is ~350 miles away so finding and fixing any factory issues early is very important. It's not realistic to make that 700 mile round trip too frequently for minor problems.

Oddly enough, that kind of argues for one of the other Evoras with more mileage on them. Presumably they've had more miles and time to reveal any factory issues, and their owners have had them resolved already.

Decisions, decisions....
 

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@IDEngineer kudos on being set on the manual transmission, but I'm surprised nobody has said this word yet: clutch. I see you've noticed a few little oddities of the car's design, but I wanted to make sure you are aware of clutch replacement costs if you haven't seen them already. Are you sitting down?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I've read some clutch replacement threads but thought by the time we got to the 2017+ model years that issue had been resolved. Not so?
 
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