The Lotus Elise is utterly brilliant to drive if you’re in the mood. It has one of the world’s best-handling chassis and exquisite steering. Use the gearbox and - in the Elise Sport and Elise Sport 220 - you’ll enjoy an eager, unburstable engine in a car whose size renders these assets fantastically usable.
But this Lotus is old and could be seen as expensive if you like to judge your cars objectively. For instance, an equivalent BMW Z4 may cost a few grand more, but you also get a lot more – certainly in terms of finish and equipment, even if the highs aren’t as high.
Relative to those rivals, the Elise is also poorly equipped, with a standard of finish that now looks like a history lesson, and suffers from huge wind noise with the roof up. At least it has proved reliable over the years and now comes with a three-year warranty for added peace-of-mind.
You do get exceptional economy though – better than you have a right to expect from a car with this level of performance.