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Okay, most of us here have either purchased an Elise or intend to. And none of us kid ourselves that the car is without faults. Various complaints have surfaced in other threads, but I'd like a one-stop thread for the negative things that we will either have to put up with or figure out how to fix.

I drove demos in Austin and in San Antonio, and this is my take:

The demo in Austin had a really bad squeak in it. Neil said the problem had appeared in other cars and that Lotus was looking into it.

The car has plenty of leg room but you better be on good terms with your passenger because riding in the Elise is a contact sport.

The "upgraded" stereo in this touring pack car was the worst car stereo I've heard in any modern vehicle. It may have just needed equalizer adjustment--has anyone been able to get decent sound from this system? Also, it has fussy little buttons that are hard to use in a car that requires so much attention to driving.

The car I drove in San Antonio was LSS--and the ride did not seem that much different from the non-LSS. So I thought I might go ahead and upgrade to LSS. Then I read Randy's post about how loud, "really loud", the tire whine is on his car. It might be the noise--not the ride--that makes an LSS car impractical as a daily driver.

The damage already documented on steep driveways already shows that it's a dangerous world for this car.

The shifter being canted away from the driver and having relatively long throws is just weird. Come on Lotus, I thought this was supposed to be a driver's car. Do the shifts become quick and smooth when you get used to it?

The shifter boot may have improved since the car shows, but it still looks & feels cheap.

Is anyone working on a cupholder for this machine?

Finally, and lets get real here--a lot of us like driving a car that is different--a head turner. When I did my test drives it didn't exactly stop traffic: what kind or reactions are you getting from people not familiar with the car? Does this look like a 45k car?

Don't get me wrong. I have my deposit up and have not changed my mind (yet), but it seems to me that the car could be/should be better. On the one hand it costs a fraction of exotics cars that barely out-perform it. On the other hand I keep thinking how much more I would like the car if it didn't cost as much as a Corvette C-6.

I just cannot imagine buying this car unless you are going to race it. And even on the track where it will really shine I wonder how much pride one can take in beating competitor's cars that cost 10k to 15k less.

I'd like to hear what those of you that have lived with the car for a while think: are these true shortcomings or am I expecting too much? What do you like most about your Elise? What do you like least?
 

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Take pride?

I think you mean take pride in beating cars on the track that are $10K-$15K more expensive. I don't think you will find a less expensive car that will beat the Elise on a tight track. Ones with long straights could pose a challenge with the big US HP machines but they are boring to me.

I think you hit the nail on the head though in regards to the Elise being a track car and not a cruiser. It has all the makings for a track car and very little for a cruiser unless you are a hardcore enthusiast. I am on the fence at this point between:

2003 Porsche Boxster S (approx. $42K)
2005 Honda S2000 (approx. $30K)
2004 BMW Z4 3.0 (approx. $38K)
2004 Lotus Elise (approx. $43K)

I go back and forth every day on which to buy. I am just thankful that I have so many choices. I lean more towards the '03 Boxster S lately. Nice torque, handling and steering. Can't beat the S2000 on price/performance though. If I go Lotus, I dread dealing with the Lotus service technicians as they charge CRAZY amounts of money per hour. I can see the 30K & 60K checks in the $1,200-$1,500 range at an authorized Lotus service dealer. Porsche isn't that much off but should be less. Honda = nothing & BMW = little with included maintenance. Now I am just rambling on...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
While I'm complaining, how about those stick-on letters that spell Lotus on the rear of the car. They look like they will start peeling in the first car wash. How much trouble would it have been for Lotus to mold them in?
 

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you're right

You're correct about all those things, and only you can decide how they fit into your buying decision.

The guys with the car report reactions from other people as being outright crazy. Your experience may be different.

Me? I've been a Lotus fan for 40 years, 4 time owner, have # 5 on order, and I personally think the Elise is the LEAST attractive lotus since the last iteration of the Elite and the Eclat. The car does nothing for me in the looks dept.

But, if those things on your list are truly of concern, please drop off the list immediately, especially if you're between # 1 and 61 at Rothrock.
 

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235Home:

I don't have an Elise yet some I can't give you firsthand knowledge, then again only Chris has had his for over a month yet, so I don't think any of the owners have had their car for "a while". So I'll throw in some thoughts.

First I'd say that I think you lost much of your audience on this board when you asked about a cupholder! :) If you are looking for characteristics that make the Elise a good "cruising" vehicle, you aren't going to find many. That is because the car was not built with the intention of it being a cruiser. It is all about the pleasure of the driving experience, either on a twisty road or the track. In these pursuits the competition with other drivers or with the road itself is the focus, rather than listening to the stereo, sipping beverages, or having a pleasant low-decibel conversation with your passenger. The car just isn't designed with this in mind.

Don't take any of this as a flame, it is just an alert that there are compromises one makes when selecting this car, especially as a daily driver. They have to be factored into a decision on whether to buy this car or another one.

So there are usability issues like some of the ones you mention, and which each of us must answer for himself/herself based on what you really want from a car, and there are also reliability issues. Unfortunately, reliability has never been known as a strong suit with British cars. The Elise is a handbuilt car by a small company trying to produce, for Lotus, a relatively large number of cars. So problems can be expected.

All cars have design flaws built into them, and some individual cars aren't put together as well as they should be at the factory. I haven't got my Elise yet, so I can't give you firsthand experience. The demo I drove a couple weeks ago, with less than 500 miles on the odo, had a broken driver's sun visor. Not a big deal, just annoying. Randy was reported to have a malfunctiong air conditioner, and rain leaking into the passenger compartment on his drive home. Someone else had a car that wouldn't start due to loose wiring. It is going to take some more months, and more owners, to see any trends developing.

For me, if the car's mechanicals remain sound -- and with the Toyota engine and transmission, together with the lack of complicated gear, it has a chance -- and the driving performance is near what I expect it to be, then I can live with those shortcomings you mention. Sure, for $45k it could be better in different ways, but probably not in any ways that would interest me. Not if it meant making it less of a performer in the areas I'm mainly interested.

Probably not the kind of post you were looking for, but I think your questions raise some larger ones that need to be considered to decide if you really want this car.
 

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Is anyone working on a cupholder for this machine?

Cupholders??? Isn't that what your passengers are for?:confused:

I think you must go for that Mazda Miata instead dude...

You have way too many problems on your new car that you don't own yet.

Remember, that car was concived from the 7.
 

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The Elise is designed for driving. It's hard core. It's like that old expression goes....95% of all drivers think they're in the top 5% in driving skill. Most aren't! Many folks are not sure where they fit in this scenario. Many Elise listers are already doing track and autocross events...many already own other very hard core cars...many have done well in motorsports endeavors.

If you're truly worried about the stuff you mentioned then a basic, elemental car like this one may not be for you. That is fine and does not make someone a bad person. It just means their needs and desires are different.
 

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After a couple of test drives and riding in Randy's yellow beast, I have only two complaints with the Elise:

1. Getting in
2. Getting out
 

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My biggest complaint is that I've had my deposit down for nearly a year and I've never seen one. I really need to take one for a spin to bolster my enthusiasm a bit.
I'm also really worried by the fact that my dealership hasn't gotten any cars yet. When I put my deposit down I was told that #36 would likely mean Sept. for the car. I always told myself that the new year would be more realistic. Now I'm losing sleep hoping that I'll have a car by May or June and that they won't raise MSRP and price me out! I'll feel better when they've delivered more than just a few token cars and some sort of flow is established.

~Paul
 

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This is an important thread, in my opinion, because Lotus needs to be held to the standards of other "quality" cars. In this regard, several of the gripes and complaints listed thusfar are quite valid.

I agree that the Elise is basic and hardcore -- and beautiful as a result. I also agree with people who love the car as it is now -- in the sense that it should not be "softened" any more for us.

Complaints like many of those listed in this thread, though, might help to actually improve the quality of parts or assembly in the Elise. Even though the build quality of the new Elise is great, it could always be improved. Any constructive customer feedback is good. :)
 

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MickOpalak said:
After a couple of test drives and riding in Randy's yellow beast, I have only two complaints with the Elise:

1. Getting in
2. Getting out
you should only have 1 complaint getting in. you dont have to actually gat back out:D thats why they have drive thrus just drill a hole in the floor for basic bodily functions. my only complaint is that I STILL DONT HAVE MINE.
 

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you should only have 1 complaint getting in.

"you should only have 1 complaint getting in. you dont have to actually gat back out thats why they have drive thrus just drill a hole in the floor for basic bodily functions."


How True!!!
 

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The biggest issue I am having with the car is that it draws too much attention, it is fragile in terms of parking and I don't feel like I can really take it anywhere and leave it. I know the newness jitters will eventually go away but the $$ to fix small parking bumps has me very gun shy. One other thing that a real pain... It would be great to have a clove box of some kind. Im running out of creative places to store rather essential driving items.
 

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I've had my Elise for about 2 1/2 weeks now and have about 1300 miles on it. After driving it gently until it's first service and then almost immedietely going to the dragon's tail to learn it's balance I have no complaints. The elise, to me, oozes character. Anything with character has to have some character flaws for each individual. I can't find anything to actually complain about because I think Lotus is being quite open about the cars nature. I've owned a lot of different cars and I've always read reviews about them where the writer had some picky complaint about something and when I drove the car I watched for this issue. So many times I disagreed with the complaint and just enjoyed the hell out of the car. I've heard the elise is a car you wear, not sit in and if it has a few wrinkles I am not about to try to iron them out.
 

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Most of the things I consider gripes in my car, are also things I don't care that much about. I can live with them. ALL cars are compromises.

1. Squeaks. I have a wierd "squeeze toy" squeak from the front end when I go over curbs. Hard to hear with the top off though, and I can turn the stereo up.

2. Rattle. A small rattle at certain rpms. Hard to hear with the top off though, and I can turn the stereo up.

3. Not sure if I fixed my roof leak yet.. but if I have not, that would certainly be a gripe.

4. The AC not working is a problem.

5. The radio's default equalizer setting is HORRIBLE. But easy to fix. Don't judge it from the test drive.

6. I am a little tired of some of the attention. I really appreciate it much more when a car person gives me a thumbs up because I know he understands what I am driving.

7. The tire whine on the LSS car is only on certain types of roads. I can turn the stereo up.

8. Glare at certain angles driving towards the sun from the front fenders.

9. Ants. It would be nice to have a finer mesh screen to collect the bugs on the front.

10. For long road trips, you can certainly use some more ways to hold things. I am going to work on a combination unit that clamps to the aluminum tray and has detachable things you can use, such as a cup holder, cell phone holder, etc. It would also be easy to make this unit expandable sideways for a locking cmopartment for the radio's faceplate and a wallet.


Stuff I don't agree with-
Letters on the back? I don't care about them. Worst case they eventually peal off with some help. So what?

Shifter boot looking cheap. I have not noticed. The new housing is a huge improvement and I like it okay enough.

Shifter being canted. I like it.

Being low. That is the idea! I might even like it lower.

Being close to the passenger. Yes you are. I guess this depends on who you are carrying.



Last point, the attention and response from others. I have a lot I could say about this now.... but hardly anyone that talks to me thinks the car costs under $100k. As was told to me by a truck driver on interstate 40-

"What do you do for a living to be able to afford a car like this?"

Says the man driving a semi worth a lot more than my car. :)

I told him what I did... which is not a lot of anything. He said "You are the talk of I-40. Up and down the interstate all the truckers are talking about the shiny yellow quarter-million-dollar car."
 

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Randy Chase said:
I told him what I did... which is not a lot of anything. He said "You are the talk of I-40. Up and down the interstate all the truckers are talking about the shiny yellow quarter-million-dollar car."
Randy always dreamed of being the talk of I-40. Didn't you Randy? And you achieved it WITHOUT wearing fish net pantyhose! My hats off to you! :p
 

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1FASTMX5 said:
The biggest issue I am having with the car is that it draws too much attention, it is fragile in terms of parking and I don't feel like I can really take it anywhere and leave it. I know the newness jitters will eventually go away but the $$ to fix small parking bumps has me very gun shy. One other thing that a real pain... It would be great to have a clove box of some kind. Im running out of creative places to store rather essential driving items.
May I suggest a backpack. This is what I do in my car. Everything in the back pack and when I get to where i need to go I ust stick the back pack in the trunk. Pretty easy.

Regarding not liking to leave the car parked unnattended I have the same problem. For that someone suggested boat fenders but I don't really think that its feasible.
:D
 

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NtflBlueLiz said:
May I suggest a backpack. This is what I do in my car. Everything in the back pack and when I get to where i need to go I ust stick the back pack in the trunk. Pretty easy.

Regarding not liking to leave the car parked unnattended I have the same problem. For that someone suggested boat fenders but I don't really think that its feasible.
:D
LOL, NftlBlueLiz that is exactly what I ended up buying yesterday, it's funny you should mention it. It is working out better.

I also have had rattles to which I hunted down to the undertray screws. This would be the first place I would look for the rattles. My car is rattle free now :cool:
 

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Re: Take pride?

heatmiser said:


I am on the fence at this point between:

2003 Porsche Boxster S (approx. $42K)
2005 Honda S2000 (approx. $30K)
2004 BMW Z4 3.0 (approx. $38K)
2004 Lotus Elise (approx. $43K)

The other cars are not comparible to the Elise. If you are even temped to get these cars, the Elise is not for you.



Can't beat the S2000 on price/performance though.
Excuse me, have you ever heard of the EVO or STi?
 
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