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Discussion Starter #1
Test drove the Elsie yesterday and here are my thoughts.
First the positives. The handling is just like a very large go kart, steering percise and very flat cornering, little body roll if any. the brakes are fantastic-pop your eyes out great. The car looks very unique and exotic-got a lot of looks from other drivers. The sound of the engine was sweet, not too loud just right. The stereo was all right, obviously lacking in base but adequate-who cares with the nice engine sound. The gear shift was average, easy, fairly short throws, not as good as the S2000, but that car is what all other transmissions are judged by. The fit and finish was also just average, it is such a minimal vehicle there is not much inside to fit and finish if you get my drift-very bare interior. Acceleration is pretty quick, however it is quite difficult to get the car off the line quickly without bogging it down. That requires revving the car to around 7000rpm and then dumping the clutch-which is not very healthy for the clutch, I smelled a little burning when I tried this. The ride is actually not as harsh as my Subaru WRX STI, which I found surprising-I thought it would be a harder ride. My winter beater is a 1988 Honda civic hatchback, base model and it feels almost luxerious compared to the Elise. The interior is just an aluminum shell with an upper dash board added and the piece around the gearshift which I thought was aluminum and part of the chasis is a cheap piece of plastic. I am only 5'8' tall and have a size 9 shoe size and when operating the gas pedal my shoe touched the brake pedal on several occasions. If I get this car I would have to get narrower shoes for sure. They should have seperated the pedals just a little more. For those of you with big, wide feet, all I can say is good luck.
2)now for the problems. Getting into the car and out is not easy, you have to be flexible enough and I am, however I don't know if I could go through that on a daily basis. My biggest concern is the comfort of the seat. It was one of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in. This point will be the one that determines if I purchase the car or not.
Does anyone know if you can change the seats to more comfortable aftermarket seats?????? I know that I could not live with the ones that come with the car. Also, the lumbar support on the seat was not located in the lumbar area but in the middle of the back, someone should let Lotus know this so they can fix this problem. The lumbar area is your lower back and not close to the middle. So my question is can you get aftermarket seats for the Elise????
I am also interested in a car called the "Radical". It is a track day car that in Britin, can be driven on the street. I would choose the radical if I could licence it for the road. This car is the fastest production car around a race circuit in the world. It even bests the exotics Ferrari Enzo and Pigani Zonda-both cars that cost around $600,000. Check out this site http://topgear.breedbandportal.kpn.com/Library.aspx# and goto the radical video and check it out.
I need to confirm if I can change the Elises drivers seat to something more comfortable. If I can then I will probably go with it, if not then I have to find something else-comfort is very important. So if any of you know if it is possible to change the seat please let me know.
 

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1) if you are in the US you cannot drive a Radical on the street. In the UK you can. I don't know why anyone would want to for more than a couple miles though...you'll know what i mean if you have been in one.

2) yes you can change the seats in the Elise just like in any other car. Whether you will find any seats that you feel are better is a different question entirely. Most of the replacement seats i have seen aim to drop weight and become MORE hardcore.
 

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Maybe you're not used to the concept of the Elise - few are. STIs have large, squishy seats suited for people "of size". Soft, vague steering. Not to mention four doors, a back seat and a large trunk! I found the Elise seats to be just fine, same with the pedal position. The pedal issues I'd either adjust or get used to are:

1) The clutch take up is off the floor quite a bit. I like a clutch that starts to engage as soon as your foot starts to come up. Before you get used to it you'll stall the motor a few times. After you get used to it it feels better and allows quicker shifting due to a reduction in wasted motion.

2) In gentle driving the first portion of the brake pedal travel seems soft/vague. This goes away when you drive harder. This may be adjustable to some degree. You can cut this way down on BMWs for example via the adjustable pushrod between the brake pedal lever and the input to the hydraulics.

On the ingress/egress. If you are hard-core it's not bad after you get used to it in a week or two. Once you get a routine down it stays harder than most cars but that is offset by the grins once you're in place.

On the launch stuff - this is not a car for drag racing. Yes you can get decent times for a NA 4 popper but that is mostly magazine and pub talk stuff. This is a car for driving challenging roads where you are already on the go. It's probably not a good idea to do 7000 RPM launches in a new Elise during a test drive - or any other car. Maybe that is part of what you like about the STI but it's not what the Elise is all about. Remember that for many it's not just the split second times that can be achieved it's the feel and nature of how those experiences are achieved.

Seat wise I betcha the lumbar thing can be repositioned to suit your preferences somehow. There are seat options - check out some of the Exige/340R seats as well as the aftermarket carbon seats. I have no idea what those feel like but they are likely very similar in character. These seats are all basically shells with foam and a cover - they can be tweaked if you'd like.

Most likely typical aftermarket seats such as Recaros or Sparcos won't fit into the Elise. And those that do might be thicker front to back which may complicate ingress / egress. BTW many suggest that you get in the habit of sliding the seat all the way back when you exit. This give a bit more clearance and eases ingress the next go around.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks all

Thanks Stan, I was hoping that I could get an aftermarket sparco or racaro seat to fit. One with a little more lumbar support. The problem is that I have a little bit of a back problem and it gets very sore if it is not supported properly. I hope I can find a seat that fits my back. Other than that I really like the drive and feel and handling of the car.
 

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>>Thanks Stan, I was hoping that I could get an aftermarket sparco or racaro seat to fit. One with a little more lumbar support. The problem is that I have a little bit of a back problem and it gets very sore if it is not supported properly. I hope I can find a seat that fits my back. Other than that I really like the drive and feel and handling of the car.<<<

If that is your main concern - back issues - I'd be much more concerned with ingress/egress since you have to twist yourself a bit in the process, especially if the top is in place.

I have Recaro SPG shells in my E30 M3. I changed the lumbar by just moving the foam until I was happy. If I ever get the chance I'd like to put in some of that heat sensitive foam that they make pillows and beds out of - they sell that stuff at Brookstone.

Somehow you can change the lumbar situation in the stock seats. They might have to be removed and the cover loosened or dissassembled though. No big deal - any auto upholstery place can do this in their sleep. Many also have commented that they thought the seats would get uncomfortable on a longer ride but later found this was not the case.

If you do look at other seats make sure you compare the actual seal dimensions so that you can assess fit issues. Other small cars such as Miatas and S2000s may have proven market seat options that work for you. Aftermarket seats MUST be personally tried out in my view. Just like helmets or shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am not a big person

I am 5'8 and weigh only 170-not big by any means, plus I am in shape, like to work out. I have read that some of the aftermarket seat manufactures use the memory foam that are used on some of the high end beds that mold to your body by your body heat. I will check out these manufactures and see if they have one to fit the elise.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
driving position

I found the driving position to be almost perfect, with the steering wheel placed perfectly for me. The only thing was the seat was not comfortable and I prefer a seat that you can adjust the recline. I like to drive in a more reclined position than what the Elises seat offers. It would be possible for me to recline the seat more since I am only 5'8" and thus do not have the seat in the fully back position. I just have to go out and inquire if any company makes a seat for the elise. You guys don't know just how frustrating it is finally getting the elise in North America only finding out that the seats are terrible. Comfort should be important to everyone. If I do find a good seat I will be sure to let everyone know who also have back issues.
Doug
 

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Re: driving position

Maverick1 said:
I found the driving position to be almost perfect, with the steering wheel placed perfectly for me. The only thing was the seat was not comfortable and I prefer a seat that you can adjust the recline. I like to drive in a more reclined position than what the Elises seat offers. It would be possible for me to recline the seat more since I am only 5'8" and thus do not have the seat in the fully back position. I just have to go out and inquire if any company makes a seat for the elise. You guys don't know just how frustrating it is finally getting the elise in North America only finding out that the seats are terrible. Comfort should be important to everyone. If I do find a good seat I will be sure to let everyone know who also have back issues.
Doug
it's one thing to say you don't find the seats to be comfortable. It's completely different to call them "terrible". IMHO they are some of the best seats that come in any sports car. I have a feeling that with this attitude, even if you put in new seats you will soon find there are many other things that bother you about the car.

btw, it makes no sense to say that the driving position was perfect but you prefer to recline. I have never seen an Elise/Exige seat that does not have a fixed back.
 

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>>>it's one thing to say you don't find the seats to be comfortable. It's completely different to call them "terrible". IMHO they are some of the best seats that come in any sports car. I have a feeling that with this attitude, even if you put in new seats you will soon find there are many other things that bother you about the car.<<<

Yeah...it doesn't make someone a bad person if the Elise is not for them. It's just not a broad market, committee derived, focus group enhanced, survey of features winning machine. The kind that tends to suit everyone to some extent while not displeasing anyone. Bland that is. Cookie cutter. It can be hard to tell the brand of such vehicles. And they tend to be sold later on without much regret or fond memories. You simply move into the next hot ride.

Elise is the sort of car that can make certain types of people super happy, ecstatic. As opposed to inducing generally positive feelings from everyone.

Not sure if I'm clear here or not. My Elise would be my third Lotus - they can be finnicky and have a lot of true character but are definitely hard core.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
seats not terrible, just not as comfortable as I would like

I am used to very comfortable seats, even the seats in my 16 year old honda civic are very comfortable. and yes you can have a great driving position and still have an uncomfortable seat. a great driving position has to do with the position of the steering wheel, the pedals, as well as the seat.
 

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Exactly Stan. It's not a bad thing for people to admit that the Elise isn't for them. There are a lot of compromises that have to be made.

It is important that people keep this is mind tough. If the seats bother you this much in a short test drive, there are 100 other things that are made in the same spirit of the seats that will start bothering you after 50/100/1000/5000/10000 miles.

Basically what i'm saying is that everything in this car is focused on one thing. You either get it or you don't.
 

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>>>If the seats bother you this much in a short test drive, there are 100 other things that are made in the same spirit of the seats that will start bothering you after 0/100/1000/5000/10000 miles. <<<

Right!

Now, about that trunk liftover...what were they thinking!?!? And maybe they could fit some nice 580 treadwear all season tires to this car....
 

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Maverick 1,
I suggest less working out and more carbs, beer, etc., this will enable your body to form a heat sensitive fat layer or two. The fat layers will then conform to the seat thereby solving the back pain issue... I say this from experience! rotfl rotfl
I work across the street from the Oakland YMCA and at least twice a week they haul somebody away with a heart attack, etc.. Excercise is way overrated!:D
 

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If you use the car as a daily driver, getting in and out should be an adequate workout. :p

That's my plan anyway, combined with the odd tennis match. Wondering how the seats will like my sweaty body after I've played tennis for a couple of hours.
 

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With all of the complaints you have about the Elise, why would you ever consider getting a Radical???
 

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Dan said:
With all of the complaints you have about the Elise, why would you ever consider getting a Radical???
lol i didn't even think of that. The radical barely even HAS a seat, let alone a comfortable one.
 

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In formula 1 even the Minardi drivers have their custom made seats. Those drivers do not have back problems but they need these seats to get better feedback from their car.

I made my own seats, too. They look uncomfortable but for me they are not . Never had better seats before.

Therefore:
Since the backsides of people are as different as their faces you should try to find a shop where they have some experience in taking an imprint of your backside in racing position behind the steering wheel of your car.

Tout compris ?

Ruediger
 

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Stan said:
[B.

Somehow you can change the lumbar situation in the stock seats. [/B]
You can increase lumbar support in the seats with the small blood pressure pump-style bulb located at the base of the seat (on the left as your seated in the drivers seat).
 
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