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Avg. Price Paid:$33,896 - $35,952
Original MSRP: $51,845 - $54,990
MPG: 21 City / 27 Hwy
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2011 Lotus Elise Interior

This interior review was written when the 2011 Lotus Elise was new.

The 2011 Lotus Elise prioritizes performance. As a result, the Elise strays from other luxury sports cars, offering far fewer comfort and convenience features, virtually no space for cargo and seats that won’t fit taller drivers. However, the sparse interior helps the Elise maintain its low weight, giving it a performance edge over rival sports cars.

  • "Unlike grown-up celebrity children, the Elise does not come fully loaded. Quite the opposite, really, as the spartan interior is little more than two chairs bolted into an aluminum tub with some trim pieces tacked on for effect." -- Edmunds

Seating

The Elise can seat two, and most reviewers agree that the seats are comfortable and supportive. However, tall drivers beware. Not everyone will fit comfortably in this car’s cabin. Additionally, some test drivers comment that the car’s low, performance-oriented design can make it very difficult to get into and out of.

If the Elise is just too cramped, rival luxury sports cars like the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster provide more comfortable accommodations.

  • "The driving position, from the perfectly positioned pedals and steering wheel to the comfortable and supportive seats with ProBax technology, means that, like all Lotus cars, the driver becomes part of the car rather than being just a passenger." -- Autoblog
  • "Getting into and out of the diminutive Elise can be an adventure, particularly if you're taller than the average bear. The wide door sills, low steering wheel and butt-on-the-floor sport seats require some contortionist movement -- which is made worse if the top is in place. Tall drivers also might find their knees heavily interfering with the shifter -- they can add this to their "sucks to be tall list," along with airplane coach seats and helicopter rotors." -- Edmunds
  • "Many people over 6 feet simply don't fit in this car. And some under 6 feet, particularly those of broader beam, don't fit very well. The ProBax seats are tight and confining; thinly padded and light weight to the core. They're ideal for track and aggressive street use where you really want to be held in place. They can be accommodating and supportive if you're the right size to start with. If you're outside the envelope, they're tight and unyielding." -- New Car Test Drive

Interior Features

Among luxury sports cars, the Elise is the most bare-bones. It prioritizes performance over luxury, and as a result, the Elise doesn’t offer nearly the amount of comfort and convenience equipment seen in its rivals. The short list of interior features includes power windows and locks, push-button start and a CD player. The options list is also small, but includes items like air conditioning and a connection for your iPod.

  • "Creature comforts are kept to an absolute minimum, with accommodations being little more than two sport seats bolted into an aluminum cockpit. Secondary controls are few and far between." -- Edmunds
  • "Minor controls are few, but somewhat randomly placed and in every case cryptically marked if marked at all. This is not a car you can get into late at night for the first time and instinctively know how to operate. Horn buttons are in the two steering wheel spokes and are hard to find in an emergency. There is even a regimen for disarming the alarm and immobilizer that requires explanation in advance; and we've found it can go off on its own accord. The standard Alpine audio is fair at best. Worse, its 1-DIN layout, microscopic controls and low placement in the dash make it difficult to operate and adjust while underway; then there's the annoying, flashy LED." -- New Car Test Drive 

Cargo

Cargo space is not one of the Elise’s strong suits, but since it’s marketed toward enthusiasts, most reviewers don’t seem to mind. If you’re looking for a luxury sports car that can accommodate some luggage, consider the Chevy Corvette. It has the largest cargo hold in the class at 22.4 cubic feet. Similar roadsters such as the BMW Z4 and the Porsche Boxster offer 12 and 9.9 cubic feet of cargo space, respectively.

  • “This is a weekend toy, and even then, the distance traveled on any given weekend will be limited by the Elise's miniscule interior and cargo space." -- Edmunds"
  • “Aside from the small trunk behind the engine, the only storage space is behind the passenger seat, and this is not enclosed. Groceries? On the passenger seat or footwell. With no luggage space, the Elise is not an airport car." -- New Car Test Drive
Review Last Updated: 5/11/11

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