1998 Lotus Elise 135 Sport 1.8 from UK and Ireland


Amazing drive, handling and looks


Clutch a little sticky, fixed by dealer for a very small cost.

Floor corrosion fixed by Lotus under warranty.

General Comments:

Before I owned this 135 I owned a very early Elise which had a lot of problems. They seem to have dramatically improved the overall quality of the car by 1999. The 135 is amazing compared to the standard or 111s. I have driven all three and it is definitely top of the pile with a fantastic gear box and power to weight ratio. The upgraded suspension, exhaust and seats add to make this car exactly what you wanted from the standard car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th September, 2005

1998 Lotus Elise from UK and Ireland


Buy one, you won't regret it.


Steering rack was worn, it passed an mot, but only cost 150 pounds to get reconditioned and refitted.

Shock absorbers made a knocking noise, I replaced all four for about £500 with S2 Elise suspension.

Lots of squeaks and rattles, I go round lubricating and sticking down as required about once a month.

Mild steel exhaust rotted, Stainless replacement cost about £400 for the best ones.

General Comments:

The Lotus is fantastic, every drive makes me feel good.

The Elise is more practical than most give it credit for, I can actually fit a guitar in the boot! (a martin backpacker, so its smaller than a normal one) I can fit a full size acoustic in it's case in the passenger seat, a whole weeks shopping for two in the boot and my sunglasses in one of the cubbyholes.

The car is the most comfortable to sit in because there is only one adjustment, back and forth. this means you sit in the best position, decided for you by Lotus people and you don't spend ages trying to get the optimum seating position with up/down left/right tilt up/back etc. etc.

Handling is great.

Looks are crowd pulling.

40 mpg is a realistic combined fuel consumption figure.

The roof doesn't leak if you treat it with waterproofing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2004

10th Jun 2004, 01:00

What happened with your suspension exactly? I've just bought a 99 S1 and there's an odd knocking from the driver's side rear. Like an exhaust knocking, but it's not! It only seems to occur when the car is very hot and at low speeds. When I rock the car on this corner it knocks a bit, but only when it's boiling! Help?!

1998 Lotus Elise 1.8 16v petrol from UK and Ireland


Liked it a lot, but Caterham do it better


Stank of fuel every time the tank was filled more than half way. Didn't seem to be losing any though, and dealer could never find a fault.

Lost a couple of gears suddenly. Linkage replaced which cured the problem.

Leaked like a sieve in anything more than a shower.

General Comments:

Fun little sports car. Very stylish, utterly impractical and huge fun to drive. K series engine from Rover 25 / 45 / 75 delivers excellent initial acceleration, but the likes of Civic Type R's and Clio 172's outpace it beyond 80 mph.

I liked the utterly gorgeous minimalist interior with its neat Stack dials and acres of bare aluminium. Even the Vauxhall indicator stalks and locks didn't spoil the ambiance. It was also surprisingly comfortable with supportive seats, and plenty of room for 6 footers. It was much more comfortable and usable than my previous Caterham.

The car was an absolute nightmare to get in and out of with the roof up. You have to squeeze through an opening about 18 inches high and across a high sill of about 12 inches. Don't get out of it for the first time on a crowded petrol station forecourt like I did. I suspect the CCTV footage was priceless! Gets easier with practice.

Utterly stupid roof. Comes in four parts and by the time you assemble the thing and fart around with the silly little allen key on the C pillars to tension it, you're soaked and so is the interior. Not that it keeps all the rain out anyway, but I can't say that really bothered me to be honest. You can get about two bags of groceries in the "boot" (unless the roof's in there), although the heat from the engine will cook the sausages by the time you get home.

Surprisingly reliable. K-series lump never missed a beat - just lost a gear linkage and obviously had a fuel tank / fuel line fault which the dealer couldn't find or sort. It leaked too, but hey it's a British sports car. Utterly astonishing fuel economy. Don't think I ever got it much below 40 mpg.

Came to this car from a Caterham 7 HPC which was just as impractical. It was however quicker (another 62 bhp), lighter and easier to throw around. The Elise has very high limits, but its mid engine configuration, high grip and low weight means it can be an utter swine to catch when it does let go. The Caterham had lower limits, but could be opposite locked around roundabouts until it ran out of fuel, without even worrying about it biting you.

I really liked the Elise, but another Caterham replaced it. The way I see it, both cars are utterly impractical, so the tiny bit of extra practicality of the Elise was wasted on me. The Caterham was a lot quicker (no pesky hot hatch would get near this below 120) and was much more rewarding when pushed beyond its limits. That said, I will remember the Elise for its cute looks, it's funky interior and its go-kart (if occasionally vicious) handling. Lovely steering too.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th July, 2003