1 2
Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/19/21 8:33 a.m.

First, thank you Karl for the drive!!  I finally got a chance to sit in AND drive one after 5-6 years...

But, I thought after a drive I would be 100% one way or the other.  But I'm still left with doubts after the fun of the drive wore off.  The drive itself was awesome, definitely a street-legal go-kart feel.  Running through the gears, downshifting in the curves, I loved it.

What I didn't love:

Ingress and egress.  I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I'm concerned if I have the top up it will be 10000% worse.
Narrow pedals.  I had to roll my foot slightly to not drag the brake.
Every tiny imperfection in the road.  Not just stiff, but I felt every pebble.  A drive to the Dragon after 6-7hrs, oof.
Hood view.  It really drops off out of sight, and there's no forgiveness in parking mistakes.  The fenders helped.

I'm left wondering if the bad outweighs the good, at least over time?  And at almost 54 I don't see it getting better.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/19/21 8:39 a.m.

Also the seats... I have sat in more comfortable hotel conference room chairs. SWMBO would not be happy, and over time my back might not either.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 8:47 a.m.

wow, love that color. 

But also, yes. I got to drive an Elise when I was 25 or so and I thought the ingress and egress was bad then. If you're at all worried about getting dirt on your pants, forget about it. You're either rubbing your legs on the rocker panels which will have dirt from the roads, or you're stepping in the seat before you sit down which will get shoe dirt on your butt (and on your driver's seat).

To me, the Elise has the use case of a motorcycle. You're not using it to commute, you're not using it to take the wife on dates, you're not using it to go to ikea (or even the grocery store). 

You're driving it ONLY when you plan to take if for a drive. Is that the car you want and will use?

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
4/19/21 8:49 a.m.

What year is it? The 06+ seats have Probax padding, ever so SLIGHTLY more comfortable. There's a small list of aftermarket seats that fit, but they're out there. Corbeau LE Pro being popular. 

Ingress and egress is a bit tricky with the top on. It's definitely one leg in, lead with your butt, and fold and drop yourself in. Top off, I would drop in like a formula car. One hand on the sill, other on the seat edge. I got used to the pedals, and I'm a size 11. Makes for easy heel and toe. Mine was an 05 with the mechanical throttle body, it's my understanding the drive by wire pedals have a little bit of a different spacing. I have a Birkin Seven now, and THAT'S a narrow pedal box. 

You get used used the end of the front, you can see the headlight peaks and will get a feel for how much more is in front of that.

Do you know what suspension is on it? Both of the factory options ("normal" and LSS) are known for being a bit undersprung and overdamped. It gives the car more roll then you'd expect, while also being a spikier and harsher on impacts. Aftermarket coils get you better body control AND comfort typically. 

Lastly, I'm of the opinion of, go for it, if it's too much after a year, you won't lose money. If you get something less focused, you might have that lingering, what if ?

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
4/19/21 8:52 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I've actually commuted (only half an hour), done 3 hour road trips with the lady, and even gotten like 4-5 bags of groceries into mine. Ikea, not quite. YMMV. The Seven I have now, roofless, doorless, heatless, wiperless, that has defintely become a motorcycle usage case. Makes me actually miss the relative utility of the Elise. I  might be the only person to have ever said that LOL.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
4/19/21 9:00 a.m.

Do it now.  You're not getting married to it.  Think of it as a torrid, short term love affair with a shapely, adventurous young woman.  Or who knows?  The wife may end up liking Elise, and you can have a three-way.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/19/21 9:07 a.m.

Love the color, wish I had a friend in the area that can do me that favor to offer my opinion.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
4/19/21 9:13 a.m.

I used to want an Elise in the worst way, until I sat in one.  No dice.

The caged Exige next to it - I couldn't even physically get in to try the seating.

 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/19/21 9:17 a.m.

In reply to Duke :

Same, I wanted one so bad till I drove on. Its a tight space for me. 

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
4/19/21 9:21 a.m.

Honestly given what the car is I feel like if it's not a 100% yes then it's a no. Unless you're willing/able to give it a "long term test drive" - that is, buy one and sell it in a year or two if it doesn't grow on you.

mfennell
mfennell Reader
4/19/21 9:26 a.m.

An old friend of mine got the second one in NJ.  HUGE fan of the cars.  He had been waiting for years.  He was an accomplished BMWCCA racer, lots of laps on the 'ring, etc.  Crazy enthusiast.

He kept it a year.  It was just too much.  Impossible to get in/out of, crashing over bumps, loud, etc.

OTOH, my friend Tom has had his '05 since new.   He put a supercharger on it in '06.  At some point he ditched the Touring suspension and we put the Sport dampers and springs on it to make it even less livable.  The damn thing would hang with my 996 GT3 up to you-probably-shouldn't-be-doing-this-but-won't-go-to-jail speeds.  He just got it back from getting the heater core replaced and is so psyched.  

I think the difference might be that Tom doesn't use the car to actually go anywhere.  The hour drive to get the S/C installed is probably the farthest it's been from home.  It's his early-morning, rip around, pick up the bagels car.  Tom's also smaller, lighter, and more flexible than the other friend.

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/19/21 9:44 a.m.

If the opportunity presented itself, I'd get one.  For one, values are pretty stable so you can likely buy one, enjoy it for a few years, and move it on when the luster fades.  You might even make money on it.

While I'm closing in on 51, I'm still fairly fit and flexible, so while ingress and egress isn't pretty with an Elise (I have sat in a few over the years, but have not had the opportunity to drive one), my Spitfire isn't great either - especially with the hardtop that is usually installed on it.  Nor my GT6.  Nor the Europa I long for.  I like small, cramped little cars and have done multi-day trips in them. 

Honestly, one car that is worse than an Elise: Ferrari 308.  Holy crap those are cramped little cars.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
4/19/21 10:20 a.m.
Jerry said:

Also the seats... I have sat in more comfortable hotel conference room chairs. SWMBO would not be happy, and over time my back might not either.

Owned mine since new . Wife won't let me sell it 

love my Probax 

wife picks it usually for our la to Montana trips 

did 3 cross country in it 

 

love it 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/19/21 10:49 a.m.
dps214 said:

Honestly given what the car is I feel like if it's not a 100% yes then it's a no.

Talking to SWMBO on the phone this morning, she said "that's a lot of $ for a car you don't 'love'".

It's a 2005, he said he had actually added cushioning to the seats when they were redone.  Ooof.  I'm looking for something I can commute to work ~3 days a week, 1/2hr each way, and the Miata/Crosstrek the rest.  Weekends could be anything.

Honestly the narrow pedals bug me the most, followed by the seats, followed by the ingress/egress.  I'm leaning towards "no".

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/19/21 10:55 a.m.
Jerry said:
dps214 said:

Honestly given what the car is I feel like if it's not a 100% yes then it's a no.

Talking to SWMBO on the phone this morning, she said "that's a lot of $ for a car you don't 'love'".

It's a 2005, he said he had actually added cushioning to the seats when they were redone.  Ooof.  I'm looking for something I can commute to work ~3 days a week, 1/2hr each way, and the Miata/Crosstrek the rest.  Weekends could be anything.

Honestly the narrow pedals bug me the most, followed by the seats, followed by the ingress/egress.  I'm leaning towards "no".

If the job description includes "commute", then an Elise is probably not the right tool.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/19/21 10:56 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

 

To me, the Elise has the use case of a motorcycle. You're not using it to commute, you're not using it to take the wife on dates, you're not using it to go to ikea (or even the grocery store). 

 

I do all those on the bike (granted - it was knives and cutting boards I was getting at Ikea)

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/19/21 11:12 a.m.
m4ff3w said:
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

 

To me, the Elise has the use case of a motorcycle. You're not using it to commute, you're not using it to take the wife on dates, you're not using it to go to ikea (or even the grocery store). 

 

I do all those on the bike (granted - it was knives and cutting boards I was getting at Ikea)

Yeah I knew when I wrote it that people would retort. But here are MY reasons: 1. If I'm going to work I'm not showing up dirty/sweaty/in the wrong clothes. My personal rule for wearing gear every time I ride messes with my ability to look presentable in a suit after I get where I'm going. 2. I like to have a glass of wine/beer with dinner when I take my wife out. I also have a personal rule that I never ride after any amount of drink. 3. I've done the backpack as well as hard case thing. OK I guess it works but I'd cringe to put 12 eggs in either. 

Admittedly all of the above can be dealt with. But when I had a bike I found that I just never did. 

calteg
calteg Dork
4/19/21 1:13 p.m.

Feels like I'm living in crazy world.

I was absolutely enamored with my '05 Elise. Wife and I used it as our gym car/date night car. 

I thought the seats were really comfortable and that the suspension wasn't nearly as harsh as I expected it to be. 

The ingress/egress was a real issue, there's no way to get out with your dignity intact. I originally purchased it as a track car, but after reading about small offs damaging the clamshell and totalling the car, I decided a Miata was better suited

maisgelb
maisgelb New Reader
4/19/21 4:37 p.m.

In reply to Jerry :

To clarify about the seats... I'm currently in the process of adding padding to make them more tolerable. There was some additional padding when you/Jerry drove the car but they certainly aren't finished. They need quite a bit of work before I'd take a long road trip.

I think you've nailed most of the pros and cons. Just like a go-kart, you won't want to drive it every day but it provides a special experience when you do. I did use it to commute into Dayton (25 minutes one way) occasionally pre-covid, but rarely more than 3-4 times per month. I've also used it to run errands and such but there are a lot of reasons not to. If it means a lot of short trips and getting in and out, then no. If there's an ATM or drive-through, then no. Anything short of a warm sunny day, then probably not.

As a reference point, I had an S2000 that I used as my daily for 2 years. No real complaints and I enjoyed the S2000 but it never felt special.

Buy an Elise because you want something engaging to drive and are willing to make compromises to get a special experience. Good luck with your decision Jerry!

- Karl

 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
4/19/21 4:43 p.m.

I would buy it just to have one that color if nothing else. Talk about unique and stunning. BY FAR the best color'ed Elise I have ever seen. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
4/19/21 4:50 p.m.
maisgelb said:

In reply to Jerry :

To clarify about the seats... I'm currently in the process of adding padding to make them more tolerable. There was some additional padding when you/Jerry drove the car but they certainly aren't finished. They need quite a bit of work before I'd take a long road trip.

I think you've nailed most of the pros and cons. Just like a go-kart, you won't want to drive it every day but it provides a special experience when you do. I did use it to commute into Dayton (25 minutes one way) occasionally pre-covid, but rarely more than 3-4 times per month. I've also used it to run errands and such but there are a lot of reasons not to. If it means a lot of short trips and getting in and out, then no. If there's an ATM or drive-through, then no. Anything short of a warm sunny day, then probably not.

As a reference point, I had an S2000 that I used as my daily for 2 years. No real complaints and I enjoyed the S2000 but it never felt special.

Buy an Elise because you want something engaging to drive and are willing to make compromises to get a special experience. Good luck with your decision Jerry!

- Karl

 

Well said 

 

put 165k miles on my ap1 s2000 

 

replaced with AP2 new  

 

Great quality but no soul - when compared to elise 

 

atom is the next step from elise for me 

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/19/21 5:56 p.m.

Do it and plan for a year. It doesn't have to be a long term thing. I bought Spinout's Boxster. I had my "oh crap my feet are too big for the pedal box" as I was putting it on the trailer. I kept it for 8 months, managed the pedal placement and moved on but glad I did it. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
4/19/21 9:57 p.m.

Not sure if this helps, but any Elise purchased now and taken care of will likely be worth the same or more in a year. You're not going to lose money on it, and that savings can go a long way toward chiropractic services.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/19/21 10:03 p.m.

I did a rear shock trade with a local RX-7 guy (he wanted my KYBs, I wanted his Tokicos) and he was showing me his Elise.

At 2000mi he had to replace the rack and pinion.  It had 9000 miles and he was replacing the rack again.

He was also ripping out the stock brake booster/master cylinder assembly in favor of something he was brewing up himself, because the stock stuff apparently was really flexible and didn't feel very good.

Then he told me that the car was engineered towards English climate, and all the hot air from the radiator blew into the cabin.  You could be driving down the road and stick your arm straight up and have cold air blowing on your hand and hot air on your elbow.

 

I understand that they did get better, his was one of the early models.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/19/21 10:38 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:

Not sure if this helps, but any Elise purchased now and taken care of will likely be worth the same or more in a year. You're not going to lose money on it, and that savings can go a long way toward chiropractic services.

It depends a lot on how much you'll pay to register it.  Some states will charge you sales tax the first time you register a used car, so even if you sell it for the same price you paid a year later you've still paid 5-10% of the value in that tax.

 

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
TGFqqoXNaqpaGKrAsFwF1X9qITFzMkXzkoE2P6POcKlTyTcmCjuzdRQe8T9hxzCn