Lotus Elise Review from Australia and New Zealand

2002 Lotus Elise S2 1.8 K-Series

Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.8 K-Series Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired1 kilometres
Most recent distance1200 kilometres
Previous carBMW Z3 Roadster

Summary:

Better than you could imagine!

Faults:

Irregular idle to the point of stalling (at idle) when the air con was on. Fixed by dealer.

General Comments:

You are likely to have heard the pluses and minuses of the Elise from one source or another. Pluses can be summarised: superb handling with incredible 'feel', head turning looks (you have no idea!), fantastic power to weight and enormous FUN!

Negatives include: hard bumpy ride, impossible to get in and out of, no frills at all, leaks, noisy and totally impractical.

I deliberated for a long time before buying my Elise. I didn't know if I could live with the compromises.

The clincher was the realisation that nothing is really an 'alternative' to an Elise. The negatives and compromises are exactly what make it so uncompromised. It can't be done any other way. So in the end it was a choice between an Elise or a life of wondering 'what if...?'.

So I went for the Elise and I couldnt be happier! The pluses continue exceeded my expectations. The negatives are so petty and pathetic when you have come to terms with what you are buying as to seem ludicrous!

The ride is firm and you feel everything, but, quite honestly, the seats are more comfortable than any car I have had previously and the chassis feedback is why you drive the car! You don't get hurt; you don't get tired; boy, do you get into the driving though!

It rattles and the engine is noisy. Once again this can be great or awful. When throwing it around tight back streets, roundabouts, mountain twists etc. the rort of the engine and the sound of the road is half the buzz. Driving 3hrs down a freeway would be better in big Merc, but is not unlivable. See how well you can throw the big Merc around a tight back street roundabout?

It WAS difficult to get in and out of initially. Now it is fine; natural even. No, it isn't a BMW sedan, but that is fairly obvious. If you are going to sit on the ground you are going to have to bend down.

In the end though, driving the Elise renders all other vehicles undrivable. Once you have adjusted to the unservoed brakes (about 1 minute) you can't go back. Stopping on a dime in this car is one of the most incredible feelings on the planet. Skydiving is boring by comparison. Likewise taking 90degree turns at 80-100kph. I can only liken it to watching a high action car chase movie in fast forward! When the Elise hits a bump it pulls back into the road faster than gravity could possibly do it. It is surreal. Every drive you take in this car is fun and I cannot overemphasise that point. You cannot compare plush comfort or electric windowed convenience to the buzz you feel from every drive you take in an Elise.

This is my everyday commuter and honestly, even if I had another car I couldnt leave the Elise in the garage. Even a trip to the supermarket is fun. And yes you can fit your groceries.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th December, 2002

31st Dec 2002, 10:02

Good review and nice to see an Elise in Australia being commented on. There is nothing like an Elise for the money.

22nd Feb 2003, 08:03

A great review! I learned a lot about the Elise from this, thanks!

23rd Mar 2004, 20:07

Good review. It would carry more weight, however, if you had driven a bit further in your Elise. 1100 ks is a good distance I guess, but I hope you would still have the same views at 5000 ks. I'm a Lotus fan too!

Average review marks: 8.6 / 10, based on 1 review