While the Lotus 2006 Exige may seem like nothing more than a Lotus Elise with an attached roof, it has a few notable differences. This vehicle is a lightweight sports car with a Toyota engine. It sold in the United States for the first time in 2006. Lotus designed the Exige for driving, not comfort. Exige owners can be proud of the fact that they own a very rare vehicle—the U.S. only imported 300 in 2006. Features keep to a minimum to reduce the weight to a little less than 2000 pounds, which remains about 1000 pounds heavier than the Elise. The two cars differ in appearance and handling.
The Exige has a sculpted engine cover, a fixed roof panel, a front air splitter, and a rear wing, all of which increase downforce at upper speeds. Compared to the Elise, it generates an extra 90 pounds of downforce at 100 mph. The 2006 Lotus Exige is more physical in response and offers more aggression in its ride and steering than does the Elise. For the person who loves the thrill of driving a legal racecar, the 2006 Lotus Exige provides a good choice.
Body styles: coupe
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed manual
Models: Lotus Exige
The Lotus Exige sold for the first time in the United States in 2006. It represents a fixed hardtop version of the Lotus Elise with a few added advantages.
The 2006 Lotus Exige’s hand-layered fiberglass body turns heads. Seventeen-inch alloy performance wheels and a rear spoiler come standard. The body measures 68 inches wide, 45.6 inches high, 149.5 inches long, and sits on a 90.5-inch wheelbase. The 2006 Lotus Exige comes in 20 different exterior colors. Some consumers complain about the time they spend talking to people who approach them about the car.
The two-seat 2006 Lotus Exige comes in only one trim level. The interior’s minimalist design leaves little to discuss, but it keeps the weight under control. The interior doesn’t leave much room for storage and the controls keep it simple. The standard-equipped composite seats provide plenty of support. Additional features include alloy trim on the center console, dash, doors, and shifter; a leather steering wheel; a premium stereo system with four speakers and an in-dash AM/FM, single-CD stereo; remote power door locks; and a 12-volt front power outlet. The trunk offers a dismal four cubic feet of capacity, but people don’t buy this car to go grocery shopping or take long trips. The wide sills and fixed roof make entering and exiting a challenge.
Performance & Handling
The Lotus Exige marks one of the best-handling cars available in 2006, second only to the 2006 Lotus Elite. The sharp steering, corner hugging, and powerful acceleration make this car a dream to drive, especially when the tachometer reaches 6000 rpm. The brakes provide a stellar performance in most situations. The sport-tuned suspension gives a rough ride even on the highway, but who cares? Certainly not the person driving this car.
The Exige leaves little to say about safety features. Due to its low weight, safety equipment keeps to federally mandated standards. Standard equipment includes four-wheel ABS, ventilated disc brakes, electronic brake distribution, an emergency interior trunk release, running lights, an engine immobilizer, foglights, and a remote anti-theft alarm system. Lotus does not offer stability control or side airbags. It does have an optional traction control feature.
EPA Fuel Economy
Lotus Exige: 19/27 mpg city/highway
- Sharp steering
- Racecar design
- Ultra-light chassis
You Won't Like
- Minimal comfort and convenience
- Difficult entry and exit
- Blind spots
- Rough ride
A car that turns heads and drives like a racecar.
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