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The Affordable Practical Lotus

     Car ownership is a variable much like shoe ownership. If you only have one pair of shoes, that one pair has to be quite versatile, good in the rain, comfortable, goes with most of your clothes.  In contrast, if you own many pairs of shoes, each pair of shoes can serve only one or two functions. As the number of pairs of shoes you own increases, the more specific use each pair can be. When you reach 30 pairs you can have beach sandals, shower shoes, rain boots, and snow boots not needing any one pair to do two tasks. With vehicles it works the same way. If you own one car, it has to be able to haul all the people and things you need to move around each week. Once you get to two or three cars then you can put a vehicle in your garage that doesn’t have to do it all. It is only at this point does the new lotus Elise enter the picture. Although there are many small cars, like the Mini and the VW Golf, which are compact and can reasonably serve as practical transportation the Elise is not one of them. This is because unlike the Elise the Golf and the Mini can seat 4 passengers or a driver and a weeks worth of groceries. With the Golf and the Mini you might still have to rent a car a couple of times a year to move something, or to take a week long vacation. The Lotus Elise does not have this level of practicality. To understand this car you need to imagine that you are an expert car model builder and you have decided to build a Ferrari 2/3 scale.

    To fully understand how diminutive a scale this car really is you have to imagine you’re at an amusement park and you decide to get into one of those go carts that they let little kids drive as long as you control the pedals. When you drive most small cars you sit next to the front seat passenger without actually touching them. In the Lotus Elise both your arms and your legs tend to rub up against the passenger. When steering the car it becomes noticeable that your passenger is right next to you. The seats themselves are comfortable but you don’t get into an Elise as much as you slip it on like a glove. This car is so small that some people will not be physically able to get into it. When driving small cars like the VW Golf there is this feeling that you get that you could drive under a Semi, with the Elise a professional stuntman actually could. To fully enjoy this car you need to be less than 180 pounds, partly because navigating the entry and exit almost requires it.  Once you are in this car you will feel like you are at the wheel of an Indy racecar, and for only $40,000 nothing else comes close. You can pay more then twice as much for the other Lotus the Espirt, but its look is starting to seem dated and it doesn’t get the needed Toyota technology that makes the Elise the more practical super car that it is. 

   The reason the Lotus Elise has such impressive performance numbers is its weight to power ratio. With a 1.8 liter engine that produces 190 horsepower that can have this car doing 60 in well under 5 seconds. This is made possible by a vehicular weight of less then 2000 pounds. On the street the Elise handles like a powerful go kart, able to do      U-turns on a two lane road. This car is sure to get lots of attention from onlookers and is great for short trips on flat roads. However, it is essential that you visit a dealer and try one on before you decided to buy one. The Honda 2000 is also a small car but without that one size too small jeans feel.

   If you already own a large vehicle that can handle all of your chores and chauffer assignments and want to own a car that will set you apart from your peers then the Elise could be your perfect second car. In fact when it comes to “fun to drive quotient” the Elise may be the best bargain out there. Although the Elise does cost more then many of the pocket rockets that are currently available the Elise is a Lotus. This means that like cars from Ferrari, Aston-Martin, and Lamborghini this car is a full blown exotic and at around $ 40,000 it is about one half the price of the next cheapest exotic. The best feature that the Elise comes with is that because it has a Toyota engine it will cost less to maintain then even some cars that are not exotics. Some friends may comment that the Elise has a toy like quantity the first time they see it, you can then point out to them that so does the 1981 DeLorean.

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