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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Heyo everyone,

I've tried searching a few times but couldn't find a recent thread that deals with this question:

I'm a 25 year old Australian coming to the USA in May for a couple weeks and am planning on hiring a car from Vegas and driving through Death Valley, up to Yosemite, down to Sequoia and back to Vegas. I would love an Elise because I've always loved Lotus and what they stand for. I currently drive a Renaultsport Clio, a 'hothatch', sort of like a Golf GTI or Mini Cooper S. I find it absurdly easy to drive quickly through the corners on the winding roads in my area.

My question is: I know an Elise is such an entirely different car (RWD vs FWD, mid engine, etc) but if I try to drive up the twisting roads through Yosemite and Sequoia (without being silly, just not being Miss Daisy's chauffeur), am I going to end up off a cliff or in a tree? How hard are they to drive compared to supersimple hothatches? If I drive it into a corner at a similar speed I would my Clio, would it follow the corner in a similar point-and-shoot sort of way? (if I keep the speed constant of course, I assume if you bury your foot half way through a corner the tail will overtake you and you can say bye bye)

Also, is it true that if you hit a pothole in one of these you can stack the car? Surely they cant be that bad otherwise all the rentals would be already crashed by now wouldn't they?

If anyone has any comments about the road trip I'm planning I'd welcome those too, but I have already read through the threads that mention Yosemite and found them most helpful.



tl;dr is a rented Elise going to get me killed because my only driving experience is in FWD hothatches?
 

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Heyo everyone,

I've tried searching a few times but couldn't find a recent thread that deals with this question:

I'm a 25 year old Australian coming to the USA in May for a couple weeks and am planning on hiring a car from Vegas and driving through Death Valley, up to Yosemite, down to Sequoia and back to Vegas. I would love an Elise because I've always loved Lotus and what they stand for. I currently drive a Renaultsport Clio, a 'hothatch', sort of like a Golf GTI or Mini Cooper S. I find it absurdly easy to drive quickly through the corners on the winding roads in my area.

My question is: I know an Elise is such an entirely different car (RWD vs FWD, mid engine, etc) but if I try to drive up the twisting roads through Yosemite and Sequoia (without being silly, just not being Miss Daisy's chauffeur), am I going to end up off a cliff or in a tree? How hard are they to drive compared to supersimple hothatches? If I drive it into a corner at a similar speed I would my Clio, would it follow the corner in a similar point-and-shoot sort of way? (if I keep the speed constant of course, I assume if you bury your foot half way through a corner the tail will overtake you and you can say bye bye)

Also, is it true that if you hit a pothole in one of these you can stack the car? Surely they cant be that bad otherwise all the rentals would be already crashed by now wouldn't they?

If anyone has any comments about the road trip I'm planning I'd welcome those too, but I have already read through the threads that mention Yosemite and found them most helpful.



tl;dr is a rented Elise going to get me killed because my only driving experience is in FWD hothatches?
It's not giving it throttle in corners that will kill you, it's letting off that will kill you.

Edit; Depending on tires, if you go in too fast, you may have oversteer, or understeer...


tl;dr Don't lose grip on the rear tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's not giving it throttle in corners that will kill you, it's letting off the gas that will kill you.

Edit; Depending on tires, if you go in too fast, you may have oversteer, or understeer...
oh cock that doesn't sound encouraging.


tl;dr bugga
 

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Well you've got a couple of months to brush up on your RWD skills - hire a commodore or falcon and give it a boot full on a gravel road :) jk - well a bit anyway

Which end of Australia are you in? Bound to be some local Elise owners or clubman owners nearby who could point you in the right direction for a lesson or two :)

And welcome to LotusTalk :wave:
 

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Welcome. Bought my Elise sight unseen and without any experience at all. Feel in love very quickly.

And on he drive home had a tense moment as I reealized this was a much smaller car than what I was used to. See http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/why-69538/index2.html#post1233529

You can't go wrong to try it first. And if you use common sense, you'll be okay. I would think that a Lotus dealer--and surely they exist Down Under--would let you have a test drive for the potential sale. Good luck.
 

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I wouldn't push a RENTAL Elise too far at all !! :no:
 

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Hi bbb. The biggest danger of driving the Elise on a long road trip through the mountains is that you’ll get used to the road feel, and then be unhappy with any other car. ;)

I think the Elsie is an easy car to drive, but a mid engine car is prone to oversteer at the extremes if you let off the throttle (as Demonized mentioned). I’ve not had a problem with torque educed oversteer over steer in the Elise, the way my brother’s mustang does. Don’t push the car near its limit on a twisty road that you’re unfamiliar with though. Keep in mind that when you enter a corner at speed you’re committed to that speed. Braking, or even just letting up off the throttle will cause weight to shift off the back wheels, and can cause the back end to come around.

As far as pot holes go, I doubt you will have any trouble at all. The body of the Elise is fragile, but the rest of the car is pretty tough (for a low slung sports car at least). I’ve driven mine around the secondary roads of Appalachia without a concern.

Rent the Lotus. You will have tons of fun. .
 

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rent an elise, if the roads are dry and if your not trying to be Michael Schumacher in the corners you should be fine.

just use common sense i guess, and i would not feel safe pushing any type of rental car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I really appreciate the advice mates, thanks alot.

I'm going to find out if there is a Lotus club or interest group near where I live (which is about 2 hours south of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland - hopefully there is a group up there) that I can chase for direct advice or maybe even a ride.

I had not contemplated the weight shift in a lift off half way through a corner - I understand that the idea is to judge speed correctly on approach to the corner and get set on it and then hold that speed through the corner and try to keep the weight across 4 wheels to maximise traction, correct?


I understand there are very good reasons why not to push a rental car, but kestrel74 & serpent, what reasons do you have in mind (in case I have not considered something).

Thanks alot again for the welcome and help.


I think an Elise would be much more fun car to take up Yosemite and down to Kings Canyon than something like a Viper or somesuch.
 

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Rental cars are ( usually ) beat and abused.....not taken care of properly...would not be "tweaked" as well as an owner car or dealer car...and ( may ) be generally not safe to take anywhere at speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rental cars are ( usually ) beat and abused.....not taken care of properly...would not be "tweaked" as well as an owner car or dealer car...and ( may ) be generally not safe to take anywhere at speed.
Oh yeah I imagine that most exotics, once out of earshot of the rent-a-super-car shop, are driven like the driver committed auto-theft, handles so deft you're left bereft of your breath.

So this abuse may make the car less safe? I did not realise that.

But like I said, I'm not a hero or a skilled driver by any means and I'm a bit of a pussy to be honest (compared to some of the suicide jockeys I've gone on drive days with in the past), I'm the kinda guy who, if the corner sign says 'right turn, 50kmph' I'll try it at 65-70kmph, not like 100kmph (thats like taking a 30mile/hr corner at 60).

I hope the AC holds up over Death Valley. The engine act as the heater when I get up into Yosemite.
 

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I'm going to find out if there is a Lotus club or interest group near where I live (which is about 2 hours south of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland - hopefully there is a group up there) that I can chase for direct advice or maybe even a ride.
log on to Aussie Elises to contact the brisvegas crew :)
 

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I'm going to recommend against the Elise. That's a lot of time in the car and almost exactly the kind of drive the Elise is worst at. Rent a decent GT for the drive you're talking about. Anything with comfortable seats, a cup holder, and decent HVAC is likely to be better suited to the purpose.

To put it another way, I own an Elise and it's not the car I'd get into to make that drive.
 

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Not to mention....... you'd have to pack VERY lightly ! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm going to recommend against the Elise. That's a lot of time in the car and almost exactly the kind of drive the Elise is worst at. Rent a decent GT for the drive you're talking about. Anything with comfortable seats, a cup holder, and decent HVAC is likely to be better suited to the purpose.

To put it another way, I own an Elise and it's not the car I'd get into to make that drive.
I can certainly understand that it would be a bit of a dog on those long straight desert freeways but when we get into that climb up to Yosemite and through the twistys south of there, it would be a great car would it not? I appreciate your advice, I do need to give it some serious thought.

And thanks for the tip off Aedo - I was just googling for a group like that but I missed it somehow... the fact its 2.05am isnt helping...

cheers lads,

cb
 

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I can certainly understand that it would be a bit of a dog on those long straight desert freeways but when we get into that climb up to Yosemite and through the twistys south of there, it would be a great car would it not? I appreciate your advice, I do need to give it some serious thought.

And thanks for the tip off Aedo - I was just googling for a group like that but I missed it somehow... the fact its 2.05am isnt helping...

cheers lads,

cb
It should be plenty fast, that's not why I wouldn't drive it. The reasons I'd pick something else would be the poor AC performance for the hot stuff, the relatively uncomfortable seats for all that time in them, the fact that you have to stop every 200-225 miles for fuel in the middle of nowhere, the lack of luggage space, the noise, etc. I'll get a lot of flack for saying it, but it's just not a great highway car. Very fun in the twisties, very wearying on the tedious bits.

Personally, I would enjoy 95-99% of that drive more in something like a Mini Cooper S or GTI or whatever.
 

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If you came to Colorado I could put you into an Elise rental. I own a exotic rental company..

PM me if you want to see what we can do. I could get it to Vegas and fly back..
 

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Well, there ya go... you could rent one for just a couple of days.... Colorado is one state you wouldn't get bored in !
 

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I look it at it this way, drive a Elise/Exige like you would ride a motorcycle. I look ahead, lean and give it gas through the corners then ease off the throttle in the straits. Be careful with cold tires, do a complete inspection yourself. Tire wear/pressure, fluid checks, alignment, etc.
For a long road trip, I'd take an Aston Martin rental over a lotus.
 

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Just be aware that a lot of the places that have been renting Lotuses will have requirements a little different than your standard rental outfit. You may need to bring your own US valid insurance, and the included number of miles may be very low with a high surcharge for going over.
 
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