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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, I would like to share with future ‘non-track’ Elise buyers my short 18-month experience with my pristine 2007 low-mileage, accident free, mechanical issues-free NA Elise. Unfortunately it has been a huge disappointment. The wrong car for me. And maybe the wrong car for you future buyer. Most of my adult life I’ve driven manual cars as my daily driver (such as Audi, Subaru STI, etc.). In 2005 I fell in love with the Elise S2 shape and lines. Three and a half years ago I decided it’s time to get one as my summer weekend car. As I consider myself still adventurous and already in my early 50’s I said why not? It took me almost two years to find the right Elise for me (John Scotti in Montreal). Don’t get me wrong- the car is great. The problem is ME. Although I find it easy to get in and out of the car, and I’m okay with the seat and the great driving position I just couldn’t really enjoy driving the car. And I know why. Because I don’t track it. In the city and on Ontario roads the car can’t come alive. Too many potholes, too many drivers who can’t see you as the car sits so low. And you can’t trust honking. The honk is a very ‘shy’ one. The police radars don’t help either, so you can’t really drive fast. Almost everyone would agree that the Elise can’t serve us as a daily driver. We all have to admit this. This brings me to the parking dilemma. Parking in the city. Hmmm.... in parallel- risky as someone might back into your fibreglass car and smash the clam as the car sits so low. And when parking in a ‘facing-out’ position you might find it very challenging to get out of the car as you have to open the door ALL the way wide open in order to be able to slide out easily, almost undoable in regular parking spots if someone parks next to you. Well, we all have to enjoy the car. So what about music? The original radio and speakers that I have are basic. No Bluetooth (2007...). Even no descent spot to mount your phone on the dash or anywhere else (I do NOT like mounting my phone on the windshield).
Speaking of ‘cockpit’ features I have to mention that I don’t drive my Elise in the winter. That leaves me mainly the summer months to enjoy the car when
the AC is on. I find the AC to be a little ‘lazy’ and noisy. And if my wife or a friend joins the ride then the AC is really not delivering. And speaking of noise- my Elise has the original exhaust which I find not palatable. The Elise is just a non-pleasantly loud/noisy car in a non-pleasant way (with the hard top on). My daily driver is a baby AMG (CLA 45) which has MUCH more enjoyable sounds, gurgles, grunts, and pops. So bottom line- IMO, an Elise is not the right car for a spoiled enthusiast like me who doesn’t track his/her Elise. In few hours I’m heading to a local dealership hopping to trade-in my pristine Elise for a different preowned (more expensive) British car with a lovely V8 exhaust sound, better seats and much more practicality. You can probably guess. I’ve learned a lot from the Forum and would like to thank the members who replied to my posts/questions with priceless advice. Cheers.
 

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Sage advice. Maybe my adventure will parallel yours, but I doubt it will. I take delivery of my Elise in early March. I've been lusting for Lotii since high school when I first saw the Europa. Trying to park a Lotus in the city is on-its-face a no-go.
 

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Why didn't you change your horn?

Is the exhaust system stock? Mine is pretty quiet.
 

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Well, I would like to share with future ‘non-track’ Elise buyers my short 18-month experience with my pristine 2007 low-mileage, accident free, mechanical issues-free NA Elise. Unfortunately it has been a huge disappointment. The wrong car for me. And maybe the wrong car for you future buyer. Most of my adult life I’ve driven manual cars as my daily driver (such as Audi, Subaru STI, etc.). In 2005 I fell in love with the Elise S2 shape and lines. Three and a half years ago I decided it’s time to get one as my summer weekend car. As I consider myself still adventurous and already in my early 50’s I said why not? It took me almost two years to find the right Elise for me (John Scotti in Montreal). Don’t get me wrong- the car is great. The problem is ME. Although I find it easy to get in and out of the car, and I’m okay with the seat and the great driving position I just couldn’t really enjoy driving the car. And I know why. Because I don’t track it. In the city and on Ontario roads the car can’t come alive. Too many potholes, too many drivers who can’t see you as the car sits so low. And you can’t trust honking. The honk is a very ‘shy’ one. The police radars don’t help either, so you can’t really drive fast. Almost everyone would agree that the Elise can’t serve us as a daily driver. We all have to admit this. This brings me to the parking dilemma. Parking in the city. Hmmm.... in parallel- risky as someone might back into your fibreglass car and smash the clam as the car sits so low. And when parking in a ‘facing-out’ position you might find it very challenging to get out of the car as you have to open the door ALL the way wide open in order to be able to slide out easily, almost undoable in regular parking spots if someone parks next to you. Well, we all have to enjoy the car. So what about music? The original radio and speakers that I have are basic. No Bluetooth (2007...). Even no descent spot to mount your phone on the dash or anywhere else (I do NOT like mounting my phone on the windshield).
Speaking of ‘cockpit’ features I have to mention that I don’t drive my Elise in the winter. That leaves me mainly the summer months to enjoy the car when
the AC is on. I find the AC to be a little ‘lazy’ and noisy. And if my wife or a friend joins the ride then the AC is really not delivering. And speaking of noise- my Elise has the original exhaust which I find not palatable. The Elise is just a non-pleasantly loud/noisy car in a non-pleasant way (with the hard top on). My daily driver is a baby AMG (CLA 45) which has MUCH more enjoyable sounds, gurgles, grunts, and pops. So bottom line- IMO, an Elise is not the right car for a spoiled enthusiast like me who doesn’t track his/her Elise. In few hours I’m heading to a local dealership hopping to trade-in my pristine Elise for a different preowned (more expensive) British car with a lovely V8 exhaust sound, better seats and much more practicality. You can probably guess. I’ve learned a lot from the Forum and would like to thank the members who replied to my posts/questions with priceless advice. Cheers.
Wow really interesting reading, especially as someone that is enthralled with the Elise at the moment, sure that I MUST own one. But I had an incredibly similar feeling about my '16 BMW M3. It got to the point where I rarely even drove the car. It was impossible for me to take it anywhere near its limits. Especially on typical roads. It was not comfortable to drive around town because of the track capable suspension. I'd like to think that the M3 actually could have been a better daily and was not appropriate as a weekend car, and maybe the opposite could be true for the Elise, but who knows. But as amazing at the e92 M3 is, it was not the correct car for me. I turned it in after 3 years with about half of the lease miles put on it. Dealership was happy to see it back, and it spent less than a day on the lot.
 

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USA performance is sort of limited to about 100 mph. So, a stock Elise fits that pretty damn well.
 

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USA performance is sort of limited to about 100 mph. So, a stock Elise fits that pretty damn well.
First gear on all of my bikes.

San
 

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Enjoyed the read, thank you. The Elise is what it is, and what it is is certainly not for everyone. Especially, as you say, if you never plan to track it and have the means to buy/maintain something like an Aston. I love the Elise because it's really one of the only 'exotic' cars that for the most part, does not come with the 'exotic tax'. But they are raw little devils and you really have to be about that pure, unrefined driving experience to love one, long term. I also find that so much of life is learning and then making adjustments based on those lessons. It's great that you got to scratch an Elise off your list in any case. Good luck with you new purchase!
 

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Good read. Always nice to see other perspectives. The Elise is truly not for everyone. Good luck with your next purchase. Share pics!
 

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Helpful post for all considering an Elise. It is always hard to realize when a special car is not for you. I had the opportunity to own an all original 1962 Corvette with a Rochester fuel injection when I was quite a bit younger. It was awesome, but I quickly realized that it was more than I was prepared to deal with. I was constantly worried I would break it, and I hated dealing with older men who constantly gave me crap about owning it. So I let it go, but I have often wished I still owned it.

Anyway, I guess I don't really consider an Elise to be an "exotic" car. It is a race car, pure and simple. Way closer to a racing kart than a Lamborghini. Street legal maybe, but it is a race car. I've always dreamed of driving a Lotus 49. This may be as close as I'll get.

Good luck with your future cars!
 

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Elise is not exotic, but is rare & unusual.

It is not a race car. It was built for street first.

No amount of "crap" would get me to do something not in my best interests.
 

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Elise is not exotic, but is rare & unusual.

It is not a race car. It was built for street first.

No amount of "crap" would get me to do something not in my best interests.
Sure, now. I wasn’t so “smart” 35 years ago.
 

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The roads
Drivers that can't see you
Weak horn
Too much attention so you can't drive it fast on the street
Parking issues
The stereo
The air-conditioning
Noisy

Yup, you bought the wrong car, especially if you were going to leave it stock.
 

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I totally get it. I bought my Elise recently and love it but to be honest I am a bit scared to drive it, especially at night. I worry so much about someone causing damage to it or me hitting the front splitter since it is so low. I end up doing quite a bit of planning before I do take it out for a drive and that certainly makes it a bit less fun.
 

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That was a very honest post. Good luck with the new car.

For me, I've managed to live with all the short comings of the Elise and truly value all its positives. One of the nicest positives is being able to share the ride with my friends. There is always someone ready to join me on day trips and little adventures.
 

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Almost everyone would agree that the Elise can’t serve us as a daily driver.
I didnt buy my Elise to serve as a daily driver. And I agree, the car shines on the track and mountain roads, neither of which are anywhere near any place I will drive my Elise 99% of the time. So it's just a street car for me. I can see and understand most of your reasons and I hope you next car works better for you. One thing I just love about driving an Elise is that virtually no one else has one. You are driving an extremely rare car, one that very few people even know what it is. I enjoy that level of individuality.

A/C? I ride with the top down or with the windows open.
Stereo? I listen to that glorious engine.
Parking? Never. Not a chance. Less than 2 months after I started driving my Elise it was hit in a parking lot to the tune of $7,000 damage. Just a tiny scratch on the car and that is what it cost to fix. I won't ever park it anywhere. Ever. It's a point A to point A car for me.

Again, good luck with your next car.
 

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@Toronto, thanks for sharing your perspective. I don't drive my Elise on the track and likely never will. But I can't imagine what I'd do with it if I didn't have twisty country roads nearby. They are what this car was made for and what it absolutely excels at. I suppose I'd move :) I can completely see your perspective, but for me, there's no way I couldn't have a small, light sports car in my life. I commute in a Miata. It's got a perfect mix of liveliness and compliance while still being able to put the top down when it's not raining. I own and have tried commuting in bigger, faster, more luxurious cars and it's horrible.

What car are you replacing your Elise with, Corvette?
 

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ME73, I would move to where there are good roads (like here) and will not move to where there aren't (FL, e.g.)
 

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I totally get it. I bought my Elise recently and love it but to be honest I am a bit scared to drive it, especially at night. I worry so much about someone causing damage to it or me hitting the front splitter since it is so low. I end up doing quite a bit of planning before I do take it out for a drive and that certainly makes it a bit less fun.
Why have that splitter at all?

Did you upgrade headlights?

Ditto, horn?

C'mon, my friend, it was built to be driven.
 
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