2009 Lotus Elise

  • 2009 Lotus Elise Base Coupe

    Base Coupe

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      1.8L I4
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  • 2009 Lotus Elise SC Coupe

    SC Coupe

    • MAX MPG
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      1.8L I4
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2009 Lotus Elise Review

Excellent handling and good power.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2009 Lotus Elise isn't for everyone, yet driving enthusiasts will swoon at the mere sight of this roadster. The Elise focuses on uniting the car and the driver as one. To reach this goal, Lotus eliminates any feature deemed extraneous. That means consumers won't find cruise control or even a glove box. They will, however, feel the road racing beneath them as they hold onto the wheel.

This is a no nonsense car, if there ever was one. Of course, that didn't stop Lotus from making an incredibly cool body for the Elise. It's available as a convertible or a hardtop. No matter which version you choose, you get to dominate the road with cool looks and plenty of pep.

The 2009 Lotus Elise only seats two people. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is: a stripped down racecar simulation that puts drivers in control by allowing them to feel every groove and bump in the road. It's a driving experience that they will get from few other vehicles.

The Range

Body Styles: Convertible
Engines: 1.8-liter 4-cylnder engine
Transmissions: six-speed manual
Models: Elise, Elise SC, Elise Purist Edition

What's New

The Jim Clark Type 25 SC trim level is added in 2009.


The 2009 Lotus Elise's exterior is designed to stand out. Call it flashy. Call it ostentatious. Just don't call it boring. The targa-style soft top is removable so owners can enjoy sunny days on the road. The front sports-elongated, cat-eye headlights suspended over a smirking grille. The body's sharp definition not only makes it aerodynamic, it makes bystanders do a double-take.

The rear also stands out as one of the sharpest designs on the road. Don't feel guilty trying to pass it off as a legitimate racecar. With its fancy rear and double-exhaust, non-enthusiasts just might believe it.


The 2009 Lotus Elise's interior doesn't match the awesomeness of its exterior. It looks cool, but it doesn't offer the comfort that drivers might want. Lotus might have clung a little too tightly to its roadster ideal by making the cockpit feel almost as tight as a professional racecar. Anyone nearing six feet in height will feel quite cramped. Despite little padding, the seats are surprisingly comfortable, assuming they can fit.

The 2009 Lotus Elise interior is almost boastful of its limited features. Don't forget that this car is about staying light and speedy. Extra features would do nothing except weigh it down. Even if Lotus included a surround-sound stereo, occupants couldn't enjoy it. Even the passenger would have a hard time hearing you over the road noise.

Performance & Handling

The 2009 Lotus Elise Performance is all about handling. The Lotus has a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 189 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. A supercharged version brings the engine's output to 218 hp and 156 lb-ft of torque. That might not sound like much to people used to driving heavy cars, but it is plenty for this lightweight roadster. Expect the 2009 Lotus Elise to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.

The 2009 Lotus Elise doesn't offer a smooth, quiet ride. That might turn some drivers off, but it's exactly what car enthusiasts want. The driver constantly receives feedback from the road. It feels every pebble and imperfection. The 2009 Elise, after all, was designed like a racecar. On its own, this sensitivity would annoy most drivers. Paired with the Lotus's responsive handing, it becomes an extension of the driver's body.


The 2009 Lotus Elise doesn't come with any fancy safety features, which would add weight and affect performance. Anti-lock brakes come standard with the option of adding traction control. Stability control and side bags are not even offered, so don't bother asking.

EPA Fuel Economy

Elise: 21/ 27 mpg city/highway
Elise Purist Edition: 21/ 27 mpg city/highway
Elise SC: 20/26 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Impressive handling
  • Plenty of pep
  • Decent fuel economy
  • Affordable price for such a high-performance vehicle
  • Extremely cool aesthetics

You Won't Like

  • Cramped interior
  • Rough ride
  • Difficult to repair
  • Difficult to enter and exit
  • Few safety features

Sum Up

Excellent handling and good power.

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