Lotus Excel Reviews from UK and Ireland

1992 Lotus Excel SE Celebration 2.2 twin cam

Year of manufacture1992
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission 2.2 twin cam Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired80000 miles
Most recent distance83000 miles
Previous carSAAB 9-3

Summary:

Best car I have ever owned, by far

Faults:

Burst one radiator hose.

Dip light relay sticky.

General Comments:

This car is fantastic, it drives like it's on rails (really it does).

Very comfortable for the driver and passenger.

Enough room in the back for kids, and adults on a short run.

Great on a long motorway run, even better on "B" roads.

I find myself taking the longer route now, so I can drive it more.

Buy the best example you can afford; cheaper models are false economy, you'll end up spending twice as much getting it up to scratch.

A replacement clutch is an engine out job. £1200!! So you need to be a good mechanic or have deep pockets.

It's not a cliche, you smile when you drive it. The looks are retro but slick.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2013

1987 Lotus Excel SA 2.2

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 2.2 Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Previous carLotus Excel

Summary:

A modern classic British GT sports car

Faults:

Last owner blew the head gasket at 43,000 miles. Total engine re build.

Cambelt & kit fitted at 63,000 miles.

New front brakes fitted for MOT.

New battery at 64,000 miles, old one wrong size.

4 wheel tracking 64,000 miles & 205/50x15 tyres fitted.

Restoration of leather seats & trim badly worn.

I have a massive history file from the car been new, every bill of work & parts, all the MOT Certs,& road fund discs, Lotus service book fully stamped by dealers from new.

General Comments:

What a car!

The Lotus Excel SA is a real drivers car, now a modern classic sports car now 22 years old.

It is as quick still today on a par with modern sports cars; 0-60 in 7 seconds, 130 mph plus, restricted to 6,000 rpm, the same engine in the Lotus Esprit unlimited. It goes around corners like it's on rails on country roads in dry conditions, but watch the back end in wet weather.

It out performs many modern cars with turbos. It shocks many drivers who do not realise how fast these GT sports car are!

I use it as a every day car, it never fails to put a smile on my face.

It is a reliable car with the 1980's partnership with Toyota many parts from the Supra turbos.

These hand built cars have become very rare now, making them more collectable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th December, 2009

1987 Lotus Excel S.A. 2.2 petrol

Year of manufacture1987
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 2.2 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Previous carLotus Excel

Summary:

Makes an Audi TT cry with shame

Faults:

Electrical gremlin in the rear lights.

Some leather wear on the drivers seat.

Head liner sagging.

Rear tires have little traction.

General Comments:

This car is amazing.

My dad purchased this car last year. We owned a Lotus Excel S.E. in 2000 but we had to sell it, it was a bit impractical with 2 kids, but now I am older he wanted to buy another sports car. We looked at everything from a Mitsubishi Legnum to a Ferrari Mondial, but nothing could get close to this.

One gripe with owning this car though, is the amount of people that cut in front of us while my dad is driving. The amount of Audi TT owners that have driven away with their tails between their legs is crazy. Just because it's a classic, people think it's slow. In many cases yes, but not this car. My dad's Lotus has about 200bhp and will take 90 degree corners better than a engineer's square.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th March, 2007

1987 Lotus Excel SE 2.2 DOHC

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.2 DOHC Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.2 / 10
Distance when acquired54300 miles
Most recent distance56570 miles
Previous carPeugeot 205

Summary:

Thirsty, unreliable and fantastic!!!

Faults:

The car had been largely unused for five years or so until I took delivery of it, however I am using it as everyday transport. This has unearthed a large array of problems with the car. Two days after I bought it the diff started to leak from the pinion seal and the drive shaft seals. Parts were difficult to find and the repair was expensive. A week later the headlining fell out and a week after that the exhaust front pipe cracked at the manifold end. I had this repaired, but two days later it cracked at the opposite end. The throttle jammed open, nearly killing me and the resulting heavy braking to stop the runaway car warped both front discs. The front off side wheel bearing has just gone and under braking every light except the headlights goes out (including dash lights)!

General Comments:

All these problems are insignificant when the car is on form. It has brisk though not shattering performance and handling that would shame many far more expensive 'supercars'. It sounds and looks amazing and turns heads everywhere it goes. It also looks like it cost a great deal more than it actually did which is no bad thing. In short it is a fantastic car that is sadly spoiled by atrocious build quality. However on a sunny Sunday morning on an empty B road there is nothing to touch it and I defy anyone who drives it to get out without a huge smile on their face!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st October, 2003

29th Oct 2009, 09:44

I own a 1986 Excel. Properly organised owners check out their cars in a systematic way BEFORE taking to the road for fast driving. This may take days/weeks, but is the only way to expose any weaknesses or technical problems that may present themselves during use of the car. After correcting any problems, only then can you expect to have a reliable car. Anything less than this will lead to breakdowns and disappointment.

1985 Lotus Excel 2.2

Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership1989
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.2 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired24000 miles
Most recent distance107000 miles
Previous carOpel Manta

Summary:

A fast car that is easy to live with, but still turns heads

Faults:

A new clutch was fitted and the top end of the engine overhauled at 33,000 miles, the cost of which was largely covered under warranty.

Routine servicing, which is expensive, and replacement of parts like tyres and brake pads was all that was then required for many years and miles.

At around 100,000 miles, the engine started to burn oil, following an overheating problem. It has now been rebuilt with a second replacement clutch fitted.

General Comments:

If you want a good handling sports car that is now cheap to buy, can seat four, and is relatively practical, the Excel is well worth considering.

You need to either be well qualified to work on the car yourself, unlike me, or prepared to pay for the above average cost of main dealer or specialist maintenance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th May, 2003

1985 Lotus Excel 2.2

Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.2 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired100000 miles
Most recent distance104000 miles
Previous carCitroen BX

Summary:

Drive a Lotus! You will be forever smitten!

Faults:

I have replaced the windscreen, as it was cracked when I bought the car.

I have replaced the window runners on both sides as they were rotten.

The water pump failed recently, it's £200 for a replacement from Lotus.

The brake master cylinder has failed.

The power steering master cylinder failed. The car had been left standing for over a year before I got her.

The exhaust manifold had cracked - £330 for a replacement. The stainless steel exhaust is blowing and is in need of attention.

General Comments:

The car is a real head turner, it sounds, looks, feels and performs like a sports car should.

It's not expensive to buy but it can be costly to maintain.

The car is a 2+2, so there is some room in the back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2002

Average review marks: 6.6 / 10, based on 6 reviews