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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I have been considering purchasing an '05 or '06 Lotus Elise, but have had a terrible time trying to test drive one.
We started by going to Unique Motors in Escondido, where they would not let us test drive their 05 Elise.
I then found the Lotus forums and we met with PECivil and another Lotus Elise owner (orange one) at the Qualcomm SCCA event. My wife and I spoke with them at the track and were hoping to get a chance to drive one, but the event was very fast paced and we didnt want to be too invasive.
After leaving Qualcomm we drove to Symbolic Motorsports. They had just sold their last 06 Elise and all that was left was a $50k supercharged Elise. The dealer knew this was out of our budget, plus the car was buried behind a bunch of Lamborghini's so we couldnt test drive one there.
We also went to Babelli Motors who have 3 Elises' none of which were available for test drives until you have pretty much bought the car already.
How are we supposed to buy a car we can't even test drive. My major concern is that my 5'3" wife is going to have a hard time with the non-adjustable seats/column. If she can't drive the car we may end up getting a 370Z.
Do I have to wear a suit and wave around money before I can test drive one of these cars? My truck cost about the same as an Elise but dealers treat them like $200k Ferraris.
Sorry to rant, we are just frustrated.
 

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My major concern is that my 5'3" wife is going to have a hard time with the non-adjustable seats/column.
Sorry you're having such trouble. I test drove 2 cars at the same dealership on two consecutive days after showing up in old jeans and a ratty T-shirt. Keep trying.

The driver's seat is fore/aft adjustable.
 

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Lots of lotus owners in CA, maybe one of them would give you a ride or let you drive one.
 

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Have you not considered buying a private party used vehicle? It shouldn't be a big deal to test drive the individuals car... I for one had a pretty crappy experience buying from a dealer in the first place so i wouldn't recommend it anyway... By the way if a car has been on their lot for more than 4 or 6 months, the warrantee has started!!!! If the car has more than 50 miles on it the warrantte may very well have also been started... and they wont tell you. I recently had a bit of falling out with lotus and their crappy warranttee policies and lack of good faith. I've got 3 more pages of frustration to write her about the lameness of our warranttee, and their lameness to fix something on good faith that your car has had problems with the whole time you owned it... you just didn't figure it all out till just after warranttee expired...

Also, if the warranttee is all that important to you... contact lotus directly to see when it ACTUALLY started, becuase the owner could think it started when he bought it, or the dealer might tell you it starts when you buy it, but you might actually be buying a car with 9 months less warranttee (or more) than you thought it had... welcome to my world.

anyway, i say go with a private party and buy a car out of warranttee. Then you know what you're buying and you know who's fixing any problems... instead of buying with the perceived value of them fixing problem, only to find out it's BS and they aren't going to support you. I bought my europa mercedes g500 out of warranttee and i must say that i think warranttees are a net negative experience on reasonably reliable cars. the few dollars i've saved on having a warranttee on the lotus has definitely not been worth the frustrating, lame, unacceptable warranttee service i've received in a few specific instances.

to your specific issue with your wife, any issue should be solvable with a little pillow on the seat. The reality is that the view over the front of the car is quite nice becuase it's a rear engine car. The view out the back is pretty bad, but it's a better forward view than most cars in my opinion.

Thank goodness it's a riotously fun car to drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the quick replies

Yeah, I know the seats slide back and forth. I was thinking I could make some brackets to make the seats adjust up and down as well if thats the only problem.
We have always owned muscle cars though, 3000lb, 300+hp Fords (Fairlanes, Mustangs, Dart's etc) so this is a bit of a divergence and we may love it or hate it.
 

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Dude, if they won't let you drive it, F THEM! It's just a car. I went to Lotus of Scottsdale in sweat pants, and a f*cking dirtbag t-shirt the 1st time to see how they would treat me. They were awesome.

Lotus of Scottsdale is worth the trip, since those bastards out there can't treat you with decency, I can promise you Chad and Andy will give you a FIRST CLASS TREATMENT throughout your entire purchase experience.

Wish I was closer - you could drive mine.

Good luck and don't get the Z until you drive the Buzzbomb.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ewalberg,
We were probably going to buyt hird party anyways due to less inflated prices. When i want to test drive a Nissan or a Ford, I would just go to a dealership to test drive one and they let me right away.
It was just a different experience today and I was/am venting.
 

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never judge a book by its cover, Me and the gf just happened to stop at a lotus dealer the other day looking frumpy,Top notch service and your wife and my gf are the same height,No worries itll work for her.And shell get in and out faster than you can even think of getting in.Must ae nice being short in a lotus hahaha
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ha!, Yeah she will definitely be able to climb in and out faster than me. And if she drives this like our other cars she will be able to drive circles around me too!
Yeah, most of my other dealer experiences have been quite good.
 

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Go to Newport European they used to almost force you to test drive one. Don’t know if they are still that way or not but give them a try.
 

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Were these walkin visits?

If you called ahead and spoke with a salesperson, showing legitamate interest in buying the car, then arrange a time to go down to the dealership and test drive it, might be a different matter.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but if what you've been trying hasn't been working...
 

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Try Silverstar in Thousand Oaks if your in the area. It took some convincing for them to let me drive it.

I told them I love the car, i know what it is and can do. But i was concerned about one thing its road manners while cruising around town.

They asked if the one I test drove is the one i would buy. I told them ofcourse i just need to know how it feels when driving it as a daily basically.
 

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Were these walkin visits?

If you called ahead and spoke with a salesperson, showing legitamate interest in buying the car, then arrange a time to go down to the dealership and test drive it, might be a different matter.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but if what you've been trying hasn't been working...
I'm going to agree here...depending on the dealership, they may be more inclined to give test drives if you make an appointment. Also, you have to be aware of what you are saying in front of a salesman. You said they knew the Elise SC was out of your price range...that means you are talking too much...:D
 

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Wow what a difference in experiences!! I was able to go on test drives at both Symbolic Motorsports and Babelli Motors. I certainly didn’t dress up as I rolled in wearing an A-tank and jeans and threw on a regular old T-shirt just before walking in the door. Furthermore I showed up in a totally murdered out (black everything) Yaris :D I did call both places ahead of time and informed them I was on the way to test drive their cars. Maybe I got lucky, or you just didn't. :shrug:

Lots of lotus owners in CA, maybe one of them would give you a ride or let you drive one.
I have an odd work schedule....but shoot me a PM and we can see about working something out.

I wound up buying from Alex near LA. Here is his website Adrenaline Motor Sports I'm pleased with the experience, and mine is the sexy ST in the "memories" section. :nanner:

~Brian
 

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try renting one from rent a vette in san diego, that is what I did over a weekend to see if the car was going to be usable for me around town. Keep in mind it will not give you a good gauge of the true performance because more than likely the car will be pretty trashed, mine was, but I still had fun and learned that I could live with the car .....
 

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Also, you have to be aware of what you are saying in front of a salesman. You said they knew the Elise SC was out of your price range...that means you are talking too much...:D

EXACTLY. In the future, shut up :p It's none of their business what your price range is. Find the car you want and negotiate price you want.
 

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Go to Newport European they used to almost force you to test drive one. Don’t know if they are still that way or not but give them a try.
What he said. Go see Kevin. I walked in with Dickies and a t-shirt, said I am just looking and he tossed me the keys.:bow::bow::bow:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I did call both Symbolic and Babelli before going over there. I think it's because my wife and I both look young.
What a great idea to rent one, but I just called Rent-A-Vette in San Diego. They are out of business. Their new number says to "press 1 to get connected to beautiful ladies in your area". Pretty funny.
I just called European Motors (Lotus of Newport) and spoke with Joseph. They were very nice there and almost immediately volunteered "come on up and drive one."
Looks like we are going to orange county today.
Thanks everyone!
 

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Joseph is vary nice and helpful, got me to take a test drive I and didn’t want a test drive. Now I have one.

Say Hi from Kevin aka green ghost he will know who I am. Let him know I suggested you go there.
 

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I might be the exception, but I bought mine from texasdirect who's an e-bay seller out of Texas. Bought the car sight-unseen except for numerous pictures, and without ever driving an Elise. That being said, the vehicle was well represented in the listing, and about a week of watching youtube videos of various Elises sold me on the performance.

I figured I would either love the ride....or hate it. If I hated it, I would have to find reasons to love it. Thankfully, I fell in love with how it drives the first time I took it out on the road. But then again....I used to take my Jeep Wrangler on interstate road trips.....
 
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