Lotus Exige (2004–)

What's good

Ideally suited to those who find the Elise a bit soft and wimpy.

What to watch out for

Don't use in winter road salt. The Elise and subsequent Exige and Europa were all designed on a non repairable aluminium chassis. But this has steel suspension wishbones and steel washers that act as the spacers to adjust the castor and camber of the suspension. They form an electrolytic corrosion battery with the aluminium suspension mounting points. Lotus insists all dealers use a coating compound where steel is in contact with aluminium. The problem is when wet, especially when there is salt on the road, the steel washers corrode and then the form a battery with aluminium chassis, corroding the chassis where exposed, which is the edge of the suspension mounting bush. The suspension mounting points are particularly susceptible to this as not only are they exposed, but are the first place to get wet and the last place to dry out and even in the summer will suffer from condensation

The fact that the chassis is non repairable means that when this happens the car is dead as it costs several times the cars value to replace the chassis and rebuild the car. So inspect these areas carefully when buying/maintaining one of these cars.

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