As part of Proton-Lotus knowledge exchange program, I saw this sticker near the soft-top as I test drove the Lotus Elise. It essentially says, the soft-top is to provide “some” protection against the weather, and it WILL leak, and don’t call us when it does. I think Proton’s got the car handling from Lotus , and in return it gives Lotus its Quality Control Department, as well as the thick face of its Public Relation Department. Probably as a result of Proton QC, I once saw a brand new Lotus Europa got towed down from Genting after a Sunday drive. Something leaked, not roof.
So am I going to pay RM200K for a car that openly promises to leak? That’s like going to a expensive fancy restaurant, and the waitress tells you “Our food is first class, but we can’t guarantee rats and cockroaches aren’t visiting our kitchen.” Moreover, I love open-top driving. But the Elise is NOT a convertible. To me, it’s not. By the time you close the roof manually, the rain would’ve stopped and you’d be soaked. If there’s a Transformer Lotus Elise, it’d be blown to pieces by Megahtron amidst folding the soft-top. A true convertible should be fully automatic, and you can transform without getting out of the car and skipping around it.
The Elise is not that fast, too. It has a 1.8 engine. You probably can’t outrun a Civic on the straight. And I will find that embarrassing. If you do outrun the Civic, the Civic will beat you going through the toll booth because you don’t have SmartTag — there’s no proper place to store your SmartTag in the cabin. There’s no glove box. This is not a car I can live with.
But I tell yer, I LOVE it. There’s nothing like it. In fact, I placed my booking once, but changed my mind when I realized eventually that I needed a car that I can comfortably use daily. When I’ve settled my loans and future tuition fees for my children, when I’ve got money to spare, when I’ve got extra garage space, then probably yes, Lotus Elise here I come. For the time being, it remains to be something we admire from afar — oh well not that far, you can tailgate one from any 2.0 liter car.