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> Test-drove the Lotus Evora
VCR
post Jul 5 2010, 06:13 PM
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Dealer was very gracious and let me have their only demo for the entire afternoon.

Exterior: it's actually well thought-out and nicely designed. A lot of effort had been spent to make the car into an integrated whole rather some afterthoughts so easily associated with earlier Lotus. While unmistakeably Lotus, I find the overall shape a bit bland: a bit of Koenigsegg here, and some McLaren MP4-12c there etc...; but I suppose that's the overall "trend" of the styling on these type of cars. And there's a sense of sophistication in the overall package (unlike the simple form & function on the Elise/Exige). Stock ground clearance looks worrisome low but all is well, no speed bump or driveway issues. The stock wheels look good too. Trunk space is not bad for what the car is.

Interior: Ingress & egress is not much improved from the Elise/Exige, you still need to negotiate over the door sill and "sink" into the seats. Makes getting in & out of a Lambo like a breeze. My demo has a red/black 2-tone interior. While stylish, it makes reading the instrument cluster on both sides a bit difficult as they were in red electro-luminescence display. The speedo & tach are the regular round gauges so no trouble there. It's less spartan than the Elsie/Exige for sure (probably learned a lot from the Europa) but craftsmanship is only slightly above average (way off from the Italians) and the quality of the leather, while not bad, could be better. The steering wheel feels good (just the right size & thickness) but the signal & wiper stalks do not as they are located too far forward away from the steering wheel (you'll need really long fingers to feel comfortable when trying to signal). Shifter & handbrake placement are fine but not so for the window buttons. But that all depends on the sitting position and there is not much room inside so I won't criticize much on that. I will criticize on all the buttons for the lights, locks, cruise control, ESP, fuel door, sport mode etc. 6 buttons per side (totalling 12 on both sides) are located on the lower panel of the instrument cluster --- exactly blocked by the relatively-thick 3 & 9 o'clock spokes of the steering wheel and further impeded by the stalks. One simply cannot see those buttons while driving and activation "by feel" wouldn't work either as they are all look & feel identical and are flush mounted to the panel. The "sport" button is especially a failure; would be much better if it were located in the centre near the shifter. Ahead of the shifter are 3 dials for the air-con controls with more of the flush-mounted buttons for various air flow functions. The is a slight distortion on the bottom of the windshield. The seats feel fine and supportive. As said before, the rear seats are a joke for anyone who's over 5' and next to impossible if the driver is over 5'7". It has a nicer stereo than a Gallardo!

Drive: First thing first, it's not a Lambo nor is it trying to be one. It's not an Elise (supercharged or not) and it's certainly not an Exige either. Let's say the car is adequately powered and feels fine but it's not going to pin you to your seat on acceleration no matter how hard you try. Handling is typical of Lotus (I don't expect any less, to be honest): accurate, well-planted and steers exactly where you wanted it to; but the added weight is noticeable. To be fair, factoring in the extra dimensions & weight, it remains impressive. The suspension is best described as supportive rather than sporty. It feels supple and not too firm; the "Lotus handling" lives on in this car but is noticeably softer than the Elise/Exige; fairly well balanced between comfort and good handling. Brakes are ok but noisy; the last 15% of pedal pressure tends to grab a bit but without surprises. Front vision is find. Mirrors are good but the rear vision is a joke. It is, obviously, better than an Exige but actually worse than a Gallardo as the Evora's rear window is much smaller and the cosmetic engine cover (not the exterior piece) narrows the rear vision even more. I find the shifter not bad at all as it feels quite precise but for some reason, the clutch is quite a bit heavier than the Elise/Exige. Clutch play is fine but, again, clutch effort almost feels like the Italian cars of the 90's! One thing I dislike is the placement of the clutch pedal. The front wheel housing intrudes into the cabin so much that (1) the clutch is forced to be put close to the bake pedal; (2) there is no room for a clutch rest. This won't occur on a RHD car but it would be the first thing you notice as you sit in a LHD car (well, I suppose Lotus is from the UK so perhaps it was a slight oversight). Not much of an exhaust note at all but you do hear the engine as it's not far behind you. Overall, the car feels well made; it's better insulated than the Elise/Exige and feels like a well-balanced car.

Conclusion: Whereas the Elise/Exige is more of a weekend "fun" car, the Evora is more of a DD. The extra room, insulation, creature comfort and packaging justify that but at the expensive of the quick-Go-kart feel. It's less "fun" of a car so to speak but it's more relaxed & comfortable. The Exige/Exige need and beg to be driven hard whereas the Evora is more refined; you can achieve a "spirited" drive and experience from it but it won't get your adrenaline pumping. But do not be mistaken; there's nothing sloppy about the Evora; it's just less hardcore. The car does everything quite well and overall it feels balanced and well-engineered; just that it doesn't seem to excel in any particular area. And it is not a 2+2 even by 911 standard. In fact, the rear of a 911 will feel better. Aside from the clutch & brake pedals being too close to each other and the switches on the instrument panel being totally obscured by the steering wheel, there are no obvious faults to criticize about. But I expected a bit more power and perhaps even a tiny bit more "exotic" factor from this car. I don't know how this car is priced in the US or elsewhere but in Western Canada, a well-equipped one is exactly @$100K (just under USD94k). That makes this car a bit of an oddity. At that price range: there are plenty of 2+2 to choose from, some are more comfortable; some are faster; some are "better"; but all are mainstream cars. A "regular" 911 is undoubtedly a better car than the Evora but just about everybody has one. The Evora would be a good alternative for those who are considering a 911 as a DD but want something less common. It may also be a good choice for Lambo drivers who want a DD. Just don't compare the two as it's unfair to either brand. For the Elise/Exige driver, the Evora offers a much better creature comfort and packaging (except the ingress/egress but that's not news to the Elise-Exige owners) but the added size & weight cannot defy physics so do not expect the same level of performance or fun (not too far off but not the same either). In short, it's not bad at all but it does not merit any "wow factor". To some, it may not be rewarding enough of a drive. It's more of a "different looking" car than a "great" car. Compare the Evora to offers from the mainstream and the former might seem a bit pricey; but do the same to the Italian marques and as a per capita basis on performance/styling, the Evora fairs not bad at all. For someone who wants to be different, turn a few heads, have a bit of fun and not paying plenty for it, the Evora might be your cup of tea.
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Assman
post Jul 5 2010, 06:23 PM
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Excellent writeup.


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Fortis
post Jul 6 2010, 12:04 AM
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Fantastic writeup icon_thumleft.gif
Thank you VCR.
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porter
post Jul 6 2010, 12:28 AM
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Photos?

Sounds like a fun run-around. Knocking on used R8 territory at that price point...

Good write-up dude!
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gtelesto
post Jul 6 2010, 01:57 AM
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Maybe a twin turbo upgrade will give it the greatness that it lacks smile.gif
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57udl3y
post Jul 6 2010, 02:24 AM
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thanks for taking the time for that write up


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djantlive
post Jul 6 2010, 06:27 AM
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nice write up.

i saw the evora in flesh a month ago. pretty nice looking. i think dealers have them now so i will have to get some seat time!

for the money, 911 is a better buy. but if you already had or have a 911, it's a good alternative.
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rhyno
post Jul 6 2010, 09:32 AM
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VCR, thanks for the write up!!


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topcabron
post Jul 6 2010, 09:43 AM
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thank you.

would like to see one in the flesh
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capt_chaos
post Jul 6 2010, 10:14 AM
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Nice write up.

Attached File  IMG_0088.jpg ( 1.03MB ) Number of downloads: 260


I just think it is a lot of money for a Lotus.


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VCR
post Jul 6 2010, 05:34 PM
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Thanks guys; glad that everyone enjoyed the write-up.

Seeing that many photos of the car had already been posted in another section, I didn't take any photos. But here are some from the dealer's site; exact same car that I test-drove.
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TurboGallardo
post Jul 7 2010, 12:08 AM
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Silver is one of the better colors for that car.


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Allan-Herbie
post Jul 7 2010, 04:07 AM
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It just doesnothing for me..


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porter
post Jul 7 2010, 04:14 AM
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Like the front and side, do not like the rear. Like the interior although haven't sat in it firsthand. Like the price point however need another couple cylinders at the least and a bump in power.
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DRS
post Jul 7 2010, 04:23 AM
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Hell of a write up VCR!

I'm in Seattle next week, and I'm trying to find the time to get to whip up to Van to drive it, doesn't look like it's going to happen. So, I really value your write-up, it's odd, CAR, Autocar uk, and EVO, all hail this car as one of the best cars out there and a wonder to drive, same goes for Top Gear etc......yet it comes over here and finished 3rd in car and driver comparo to an end of lifecycle POS and Cayman!

-what gives?

I'm looking for a new more practical car for next spring....and being a current lotus owner the Evora is a serious contender, but I'm having a tough time when I could get a used 997 TT for about the same money....or a used C4S from the US and pocket a bunch for wheels mods etc........but porsches lack the looks and rarity of lotus'/loti/lotuseses?

-I can't wait to drive one myself and see where it really ranks, I love my SC so I have high hopes, I hope I haven't built it up too much.


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VCR
post Jul 7 2010, 05:55 AM
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QUOTE (DRS @ Jul 7 2010, 05:48 AM) *
Hell of a write up VCR!

I'm in Seattle next week, and I'm trying to find the time to get to whip up to Van to drive it, doesn't look like it's going to happen. So, I really value your write-up, it's odd, CAR, Autocar uk, and EVO, all hail this car as one of the best cars out there and a wonder to drive, same goes for Top Gear etc......yet it comes over here and finished 3rd in car and driver comparo to an end of lifecycle POS and Cayman!

-what gives?

I'm looking for a new more practical car for next spring....and being a current lotus owner the Evora is a serious contender, but I'm having a tough time when I could get a used 997 TT for about the same money....or a used C4S from the US and pocket a bunch for wheels mods etc........but porsches lack the looks and rarity of lotus'/loti/lotuseses?

-I can't wait to drive one myself and see where it really ranks, I love my SC so I have high hopes, I hope I haven't built it up too much.


Thanks DRS!

Short answer --- CAR, Autocar UK, EVO --- BRITISH magazines! (Same goes for Top Gear).

In all seriousness, would I buy this car, no, or to be fair --- at least not yet. IMO, it is underpowered. It has the looks and the rarity/exclusivity but lacks the power. It's a nice drive but for what it is, I think it's about 10-15K overpriced. I almost bought an Elise SC because that is a really fun weekend car to play with. But having a G-SL & a E-SC doesn't make sense so I decided not to. But I would take an Elise SC any day over the Evora but the two are quite different. The Elise is a occasional fun car while the Evora can be a DD but I don't think it is more practical. A slightly used 997 would be a much wiser choice assuming one doesn't mind joining the big 911 clan. Since the Evora really isn't a 2+2, for the same $$, I would choose a new Cayman S + PDK. It is a very capable car even for the occasional track day fun and can be used all year round as a DD; just that the lines are a bit feminine. (PDK because of being a practical DD; but manual is equally fine). I am hoping that Lotus will bolt a supercharger onto the Evora in the not-so-distant future to spice things up. It's a brand new 1st year model, give it about 18 months to debug and improve and it should, eventually, be a winner.
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DRS
post Jul 7 2010, 03:48 PM
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QUOTE (VCR @ Jul 7 2010, 08:20 AM) *
Thanks DRS!

Short answer --- CAR, Autocar UK, EVO --- BRITISH magazines! (Same goes for Top Gear).

In all seriousness, would I buy this car, no, or to be fair --- at least not yet. IMO, it is underpowered. It has the looks and the rarity/exclusivity but lacks the power. It's a nice drive but for what it is, I think it's about 10-15K overpriced. I almost bought an Elise SC because that is a really fun weekend car to play with. But having a G-SL & a E-SC doesn't make sense so I decided not to. But I would take an Elise SC any day over the Evora but the two are quite different. The Elise is a occasional fun car while the Evora can be a DD but I don't think it is more practical. A slightly used 997 would be a much wiser choice assuming one doesn't mind joining the big 911 clan. Since the Evora really isn't a 2+2, for the same $$, I would choose a new Cayman S + PDK. It is a very capable car even for the occasional track day fun and can be used all year round as a DD; just that the lines are a bit feminine. (PDK because of being a practical DD; but manual is equally fine). I am hoping that Lotus will bolt a supercharger onto the Evora in the not-so-distant future to spice things up. It's a brand new 1st year model, give it about 18 months to debug and improve and it should, eventually, be a winner.




good point about the brits......I guess I'm drinking the kool-aid too.

...and my Elise SC may be incoming to your town in august.....hey I'm just sayin...you'd look great in it icon_thumleft.gif


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