| Elise (32%)
| Esprit (21%)
| Exige (21%)
| Evora (16%)
Popular body styles: | Coupe (53%) | Convertible (42%)
Transmissions: | Manual (95%)
Fuel types: | Petrol (100%)
Engines: | 1796 (16%) | 2174 (26%) | 3456 (16%) | 3500cc (16%)
Popular colors: | Purple | Grey | Green | Gold | Blue
New Lotus models don't come along particularly often and their capability doesn't come cheap but strong residual values make used examples from this brand about as exciting as sensible investments get. The bedrock of the modern Lotus range is the Elise, a compact and somewhat basic roadster that doesn't come with a huge amount of power in basic form but handles beautifully and boasts otherworldly levels of grip. The Series 1 cars were launched in 1996, with Series 2 taking over in 2002. Various versions of both were offered, as were hardcore fixed roof versions badged Exige. As with any Lotus used car, watch out for Exige examples that have been through heavy track use. With its 1.8-litre engine, the lightweight Elise has the pace and poise to humble sportscars costing three times as much. It's also reasonably user-friendly once you've got the technique for getting in and out mastered. Lotus customers seeking a little more by way of refinement and creature comforts might like to buy a used Lotus Europa. It's roomier, less firmly sprung and better equipped but it never quite caught on with new car buyers. If you can find them, used second hand models might be worth seeking out. At the other extreme is the lunatic Lotus 2-Eleven, a track day car with no roof or windscreen. It's not your typical second hand car but pre-owned examples are around and there isn't much that's faster around a race circuit.
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