Review: Lotus Elise (1996 – 2000)


Lightweight roadster with immediate responses and fantastic handling.

Minimal wet-weather protection and the hood leaks. Head gasket failure a possibility. Aluminium chassis corrodes at suspension mountings.

Recently Added To This Review

16 September 2002

On 132 Elises, left and right rear suspension toe links may have female threads that do not meet required quality standard, may become insecure and may affect stability of vehicle. Examine links and... Read more

5 August 2002

Chance that one of more of tapped holes for bolts holding brake callipers together not fully threaded, compromising the structural integrity of the calliper. Check callipers of 99 affected cars and replace... Read more

22 July 2002

On 491 340R and Exige models, severe misfirs could lead cat converters to overheat and cause a fire. ECUs to be reprogrammed to incorporate misfire detection and prevent it continuing. Read more

Lotus Elise (1996 – 2000): At A Glance

What does a Lotus Elise (1996 – 2000) cost?

Contract hire from £569.35 per month
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What have we been asked about the Lotus Elise (1996 – 2000)?

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Lotus oil change

I purchased my 1999 Elise with 3500 miles when it was 10 years old and gave it its first cam belt change and first oil change. I only drive about 200 miles a year in it to keep it rather special and want to stick to that mileage. The "problem" I have is how often to service it - particularly the oil change. At the moment I have had the oil changed using fully synthetic every 2 years and the brake fluid tested for moisture content. I have the cam belt changed every 4-5 years but wondered what owners of cars which do similar mileages do especially those with large collections. I was concerned that the car did not have its first oil change for almost 10 years but it does not appear to have caused any obvious harm. Would you recommend the same 2 yearly oil change or could I leave it longer?
Depends where you keep it. If you keep it in a house subject to a temperature range of 18C-25C, then you won't have any condensation problems. But if you keep it in a garage where the temperature range could be minus 5C to plus 40C you will suffer condensation in everything that contains fluids.
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