2005 Lotus Elise

  • 2005 Lotus Elise Base Convertible

    Base Convertible

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      1.8L I4
    • MSRP
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2005 Lotus Elise Review

Performance in its purest form.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2005 Lotus Elise is a lightweight, high-powered sports car that has been available everywhere but the United States since 1996. It finally arrived on American shores in 2005, and it was definitely worth the wait. Even though it is very small and weighs just 1979 pounds, this car is one powerful little machine. It can go from zero to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Its secret is the light weight body built of space-age, high-tech materials. This enables it to turn a quarter mile in just 13.5 seconds. Like other classic English sports cars, the Elise is all about performance. Thus, it is a great looking little car. Its body style causes the buyer to recall the classic Ferraris of the 1970s and 1980s. Inside, it is a little Spartan for American tastes. The only concessions to comfort are an air-conditioning system and a four-speaker stereo system.

The 2005 Lotus Elise certainly delivers the kind of performance and appearance that a driver would expect from a Lotus. It is also a bargain when it is compared to other European sports cars such as the Porsche Carrera GT. Sports car fans will love this car because it gets back to the basics and concentrates on what is important: speed and handling. If a driver is looking for a fun weekend driving machine, this car certainly fits the bill. Unfortunately, its small size makes it a poor road trip car. Yes, it will take the curves at very high speeds, but the passengers will not be able to bring any luggage.

The Range

Body Styles: convertible sports car
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed manual
Models: Lotus Elise, Lotus Elise Touring Version

What's New

Even though the 2005 Lotus Elise has been on the market for almost 10 years, every feature on this car will be new to Americans buyers. The lightweight body and lightweight Toyota-built engine will be different for American drivers. This car was designed to produce a lot of power for its size. Many drivers will not be used to such a small car with so much power. Having a car built mainly for driving and speed will take some getting used to for casual drivers.


The 2005 Lotus Elise might just be the best looking car on the road these days. It has a classic look that is more reminiscent of the glory days of Ferrari than historic British sports. Its high-tech expensive look will definitely have everybody turning their heads when it goes down the road. This car’s British roots are certainly on display in its manual convertible top. Drivers will have to get out and put it up the old-fashioned way with a hand crank.


The Lotus Elise was built for speed and performance, not luxury. It has a minimal two seat interior with basic cloth seats. Alloy trim makes it look more like a fighter plane than a car. A Blaupunkt premium stereo system is an option; otherwise, it has a basic AM/FM radio and CD player. There is a slightly more expensive touring version available that offers a few extras such as nicer cloth seats and carpeting. Even though it looks luxurious, the Lotus Elise is definitely not a luxury car.

Performance & Handling

Reviewers have compared the 2005 Lotus Elise's performance to a super car. Unlike some super car imitators, this car certainly lives up to the promise with its performance. Even though it is small, the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 190 horsepower and up to 7800 rpm. People who love to drive will appreciate the very responsive handling. It handles like a racecar and responds almost immediately. Despite the similarity to a supercar, the Elise provides a stable and comfortable ride even at high speeds. It is surprisingly civilized for such a small car.


Like much else on the 2005 Lotus Elise, the safety features are basic and very functional. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes, an electronic brake-force distribution system, engine immobilizer, fog and driving lights, and a remote antitheft system are standard. Although, it does not have airbags.

EPA Fuel Economy

Lotus Elise: 20/25 mph city/highway

You'll Like

  • Low price for a high-performance European sports-car
  • High-powered lightweight engine
  • Superior performance
  • Superbly styled body
  • Handling

You Won't Like

  • Lack of standard features
  • Manual convertible top
  • Lack of space
  • Small size for such a powerful car
  • Low height

Sum Up

Performance in its purest form.

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