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This guy must know Anita....obviously doesn't get it... feel free to respond to his e-mail address at the bottom.....Maybe he is a pissed off Yankee fan....



ROAD TEST
Tom Incantalupo

A delightful and expensive weekend toy (with constraints)
Oct 22, 2004


Depending upon their build and their agility, people develop their own styles of climbing behind the wheels of their cars. A popular one is the "butt first" method, in which one backs into the seat, then makes a graceful swing of the feet into the foot well.

Also popular is the "one leg first method," in which one leads straight-legged with the right foot, sits down, then bends the left knee and brings the other foot aboard.

There's the "Dukes of Hazzard" method - you don't see this one much - of entering both feet first through an open window.

A method for dashing, adventurous types is the "Hertz" technique - named after a TV commercial decades ago in which a driver sailed feet first into the seat of a convertible from above but this one's tough to do if you don't have access to a crane. Much safer is to crawl head first into the front seat, then carefully twist, sliding feet onto pedals and butt onto seat.

Whichever style you prefer, this is to formally advise you that it won't work on this week's test car - the Lotus Elise, an exotically beautiful, composite-bodied roadster that, unfortunately, has been produced for those willing to put up with vexing and even ludicrous inconveniences in a $41,000 car, along with some sloppy assembly and the nearest dealer not near at all.

The new Elise is, at its heart, a delightful weekend toy whose four-cylinder, 190-hp. Toyota engine produces an exhaust tone that's almost as pleasant to hear as the words "no charge for this" from a mechanic.

The Elise is very fast, with an under-5-second zero to 60 mph time and a 13.6-second quarter mile time. Its near- race-ready suspension connects the driver to the road as in a go-kart; its good looks, I can testify to, will collect enough neighbors for a block party the first time you bring it home.

The Elise's structural design, guaranteed to please your chiropractor, forces driver and passenger to step over huge side frame rails to enter. The seats are virtually on the floor and are thinly padded - certainly unsuitable for the hard landings of the Hertz entry method.

Once inside the Elise, driver and passenger also will find that, even for a base price of $41,000:

There are no side air bags to help protect them from the 99.9 percent of vehicles whose bumpers are higher than those frame rails.

That foot room is severely limited by the inward tapering of those frame rails toward the front of the car.

That the loose-fitting plastic center console looks like a cheap afterthought purchased from auto parts discount store.

That the driver's seat has just two adjustments: fore and aft and lumbar support. There is no height adjustment or even one for the backrest angle. Nor does the steering wheel adjust. Either you like the driving position or you lump it. And the passenger's seat has no adjustments at all - not even fore and aft.

That the stereo has tiny controls best suited for the deft fingers of a neurosurgeon.

That the accelerator pedal's narrowness and location very close to the brake pedal is an open invitation to unintended acceleration and also renders driving this car with your Timberlands on quite impossible. The pedals' proximity to each other is to facilitate "heel and toeing," a technique in high performance driving in which the driver works the accelerator and brake pedal simultaneously with the right foot.

That installing the soft top is a multistep process that takes pages to explain in the owner's manual. A hardtop is available for $1,475.

That there's no glove box, no coin holder, no cup holder and no trunk to speak of; the last is behind the midmounted engine, which is behind the cockpit. There's no storage compartment up front, either, as one would find in a Porsche 911, because the Elise's radiator eats up most of that space.

But, numerous as they are, those flaws tend to shrink into near-insignificance when the day is sunny, the road is clear and the Elise's tachometer needle reaches about 6,000 rpms - at which point the Toyota variable valve timing system delivers a surge of power almost like that of a turbocharger.

The engine's rumble becomes thunderous, driver and passenger are pushed backward into the seats, and all is right with the world.

Peak horsepower is reached at a high 7,800 rpms. This engine needs premium gas, which is stored in a 10.5-gallon tank.

The Elise's steering isn't power assisted and requires considerable effort at parking speeds but feels just right on the road, although the tiny steering wheel kicks a bit at high speeds. The Toyota-sourced six-speed stick shifter snicks precisely through the gears, the clutch is easy to modulate, there is no body lean in corners, and the powerful brakes and huge tires inspire confidence.

On sale since July, the Elise has been the only Lotus offered here since production of the $95,000 Esprit was discontinued late last year.

As noted in the data box, the test car stickered at more than $47,000, with options that included $590 metallic paint, a $1,350 "touring" pack, a $2,480 "sport" pack and a clear protectant, for $995. The touring pack includes a double insulated soft top, additional carpeting and sound deadening, a storage net behind the two seats and power windows. The sport pack includes a firmer and lowered suspension, larger and lighter wheels and larger tires.

At less than 2,000 pounds and 149 inches bumper to bumper, the Elise is one of the smallest cars in America, sized between the smaller BMW Mini Cooper and the larger Mazda Miata.

Lotus' owner's manual for the Elise seems to present the high frame rails as a safety feature, saying that driver and passenger ride in "a cockpit tub surrounded by substantial chassis side frames." But the company does not claim they're a substitute for side air bags.

There is no federal government crash test data on this car - and probably won't ever be because of its low sales volumes. Ditto the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Neither organization's Web site even recognizes the existence of Lotus.

It's the same story for reliability info: nothing available on Lotus or its cars from Consumer Reports or J.D. Power and Associates. Caveat emptor.

Lotus says it expects to sell about 2,300 Elises a year in the United States and an equal number elsewhere.

The nearest Lotus dealerships for Long Islanders and Queens residents are in Manhattan and the Eastchester section of the Bronx - hardly convenient, except perhaps for folks who have other business in those areas.

Fans of these cars might say that such concerns are quite beside the point - that a pure performance machine should never be expected to have the practicalities of a family sedan and should never be measured by the same yardstick.

There's some truth to that, but cars like the Honda S200, Toyota MR2 and the most recent iterations of Chevrolet's Corvette are proof that a sports car buyer nowadays can almost have it all - terrific performance and the practicalities that add to the experience: modern ergonomics and conveniences, a choice of dealerships, and a record of safety and customer satisfaction a prospective buyer can check.

Even for $40,000 plus, this Lotus gives us one without the other.

2005 Lotus Elise

Engine: 190-hp., 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder.

Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive.

Safety: Dual air bags, four-wheel disc brakes with antilock, rear fog lamps.

Place of assembly: Hethel,

Norfolk, England.

Weight: 1,975 pounds.

Trunk: 4 cubic feet.

EPA fuel economy rating: 26.1 mpg city, 37.5 highway.

Price as driven: $47,140, including destination charge.

Email: [email protected]

http://www.newsday.com/business/columnists/ny-whtomxx4014272oct22,0,3787559.column?coll=ny-business-columnists
 

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Maybe I don't get it too.

I'm not finding much to disagree with in Tom's article. We don't reach the same conclusion, but I can't fault his analysis.

Fans of these cars might say that such concerns are quite beside the point - that a pure performance machine should never be expected to have the practicalities of a family sedan and should never be measured by the same yardstick.
I know which yardstick I'm using, but I'm okay with his choice of another. And yes, another sportscar can "have it all" with compromises in each.

I think he gave the car a fair description, if somewhat partial. It's not for him. Hopefully it steers other people like him away from the car, but a liar he isn't.

I also want to point out that this is the first time I've seen the correct pricing in press.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ground Loop said:
Maybe I don't get it too.

I'm not finding much to disagree with in Tom's article. We don't reach the same conclusion, but I can't fault his analysis.

I am not faulting his analysis. Just his conclusion. These were not factors that would stop me from getting the elise

"there's no glove box, no coin holder, no cup holder and no trunk

The nearest Lotus dealerships for Long Islanders and Queens residents are in Manhattan"

If those are more important than the driving experience, then I reiterate that he doesn't get it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ground Loop said:
but a liar he isn't.
where did I claim or imply he was?????
 

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"The nearest Lotus dealerships for Long Islanders and Queens residents are in Manhattan and the Eastchester section of the Bronx - hardly convenient, except perhaps for folks who have other business in those areas. "

The horror :eek:
 

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I was in the minority when I said similar things about the infamous Anita review, but I really don't see anything wrong with these kinds of articles. This is exactly how an average car buyer would react to an Elise. And the review is written for the general public, not car enthusiasts. I think the writer did a fine job informing people. This is a niche car, and we shouldn't expect everybody to love it. An S2000 or Corvette is a better choice for most car buyers.

I did find it funny how he talks about the tires, that's the first time I heard somebody call 195's "huge". :p
 

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ivan1 said:
If those are more important than the driving experience, then I reiterate that he doesn't get it.
Alright. I think he did get it, just isn't interested. I thought you were offering up his email address so we could try to correct him or something. To him, the lushy comforts of an Amerkin Car are more important the driving experience. There's probably more of his kind out there than ours. :)
 

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>>>There are no side air bags to help protect them from the 99.9 percent of vehicles whose bumpers are higher than those frame rails. <<<

Is that what this guy thinks side air bags do? (They don't do this)

I hope someone gave him a proper ride so that he could better appreciate those things the Elise was designed to do well.

The top is actually quite simple to install and remove. It's just unfamiliar the first few times.

Here's how I do it.

1) Approaching the car I hit the alarm button to turn it off and then raise the engine cover.

2) Walking over to the passenger side I open the door and release the side rail and roll it most of the way towards the driver's side, just past the furthest of the two plastic strips. Then I remove that strip as my hands are nearest it, followed by the nearer one. The strips are springey and they are not hard to remove at all.

3) Closing the passenger door I place the two strips into the trunk with my right hand as I walk around the back of the car toward the driver's side. You don't even break a stride.

4) Opening the driver's door I release the remaining side rail and lift the already rolled-up top off the car and walk to the trunk where I load it in. Close the trunk. I close the trunk by dropping it from about 10 inches up. Sounds like a car door closing.

5) Walk back to the still open driver's door and get in.

By the way the top is easy to clean if you bring it in the house. I use Porsche or BMW top cleaner followed by a rinse. Don't let bird droppings stay on the fabric as they can stain due to the acid. It's a good idea to retreat the top with a canvas treatment periodically. That way water beads.
 

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I've yet to see anyone who finished a
drive in an 'amusement park' go-cart
have anything other than a big smile on his face and yearn for another 'go' at it.
Keep in mind, even at dawdling speed
you get a 'rush'. Now multiply that feeling
50 to 100 fold with no time or 'twistie'
restraints and you have experienced a
true 'E' xilerating experience that few
mortal men ever get a chance to experience.
 

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I think he got it right. He obviously prefers a GT. No harm done...as a matter of fact maybe this will keep all of the "gotta have it 'cause its cool" crowd from purchasing the car before someone who really wants/deserves it! Some people want expensive European cars while others realize a chevy will get them from a-b just as easily. Some people want an undiluted true sports driving experiance such as the Elise while others need to feel protected by a cars traction, anti roll, anti slip, anti everything control! If you need that, buy the Honda or Vette! Just an opinion. All of my friends who have gotten into my Elise have LOVED it because it is different from all other cars.
 

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I've said it before, I'll say it again:

Lotus Elise: A pure sport car. A true enthusiasts car. It's no muscle car nor grand tourer. Purely a featherweight with no unnecessary driver aids that take away from the driving experience. No dynamic stability management. No active yaw control. No magnetic self adjusting dampers. No electronic brake distribution. No traction control. No throttle by wire. No all wheel drive. No sequential paddle shifters. No power steering. No power mirrors. No heated 8-way power seats. No sound deadening materials. No cruise control. No cup holders. Sure, it's small, loud and impractical. If you want quiet, buy a Lexus. If you need to haul a lot of stuff, get a minivan. If you need to stretch out, rent a limo. But if you want to go fast, seriously fast, sit down, strap in, shut up and hang on.
 

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I think he did his home work rather well. Obviously, most of us have a bias toward the Elise, which is why we'd put up with the Elise's short comings.

But to a sports car person who's NOT interested, why would you have to up with difficult ingress/egress, closely spaced pedals, questionable saftey, and minimal storage space ESPECIALLY if you are going to use this car in the real world. Light-weight is an issue on the track but it isn't really much of an issue when you use the car to drive to work and back.

In short, I think he points out the negative aspects of owning an Elise pretty well. Obviously, the car is not for everyone and if it drives people away from buying an Elise, I really couldn't care less - and I have a feeling Lotus won't care because, even with people dropping off, I believe Lotus would be able to sell most of the current Elise until a new model comes out in 2007.
 

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MickOpalak said:
I've said it before, I'll say it again:

Lotus Elise: A pure sport car. A true enthusiasts car. It's no muscle car nor grand tourer. Purely a featherweight with no unnecessary driver aids that take away from the driving experience. No dynamic stability management. No active yaw control. No magnetic self adjusting dampers. No electronic brake distribution. No traction control. No throttle by wire. No all wheel drive. No sequential paddle shifters. No power steering. No power mirrors. No heated 8-way power seats. No sound deadening materials. No cruise control. No cup holders. Sure, it's small, loud and impractical. If you want quiet, buy a Lexus. If you need to haul a lot of stuff, get a minivan. If you need to stretch out, rent a limo. But if you want to go fast, seriously fast, sit down, strap in, shut up and hang on.
I like this quote.

However, some of the regular guys that I go to the track with have indicated to wouldbe passengers in the Exige that they should take Dramamine (SP?) before riding with me. Lots of G-forces going on in the cornering and braking areas......:D:D:D

So, you might want to add that into the last sentence before sitting down......
 

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I think his review is pretty accurate for most motorists. But if you're a hard-core enthusiast, it's pretty off-base.

You don't see a motorcycle with a coin holder and cup holder do you? The reason: If you start to concentrate on where you just put the latte and how to empty your pockets, then you're having an accident on a motorcycle. It requires 100% concentration all of the time... and that's what makes it (IMHO) so engaging and thrilling to ride. I forget about the bad things that happen during the day because, quite frankly, I don't have time to be thinking about it. It's just such a release that I can't describe it.

I expect the Elise to be virtually the same. You'll be enjoying the car, but also looking-out for other careless drivers and focusing on what the Elise does best: Carving corners. Thinking about the aforementioned latte or coins rattling around the interior might be prescription for driving off the side of the mountain...

Bob
 

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though i may not agree with all his words, by the following quote it seems he gets it a hell of a lot more than other less understanding reviewers


"But, numerous as they are, those flaws tend to shrink into near-insignificance when the day is sunny, the road is clear and the Elise's tachometer needle reaches about 6,000 rpms "
 

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Stan said:


I close the trunk by dropping it from about 10 inches up. Sounds like a car door closing.
:no: :no:

lower it carefully down and press down firmly just beyond the silver keyhole
 

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I too don't see much wrong with his assesment, aside from the cup holder comment. It's a simple statement of fact that would have been placed in perspective by adding "cupholders......; but they are not missed." Or something like that. Bottom line is that, compared to 'normal' sport cars we are giving up quite a bit, gladly in my case, for the driving experience. From a non elise junkie view point, it was an OK article.
 
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