Can you Daily Drive a Lotus Elise

When it comes to driving an exotic car, you might think of weekend outings or driving down the coast somewhere. Very rarely do people consider an exotic car when it comes to their daily vehicle of choice. That’s not always the case for drivers who have a need for speed or just like to make every drive just a little less mundane. While you might find yourself wanting to drive a more suitable – and just as fun – sports car like a Honda S2000, we chose to try daily driving the least practical car in our garage: a Lotus Elise.


The Lotus Elise offers about as little comfort as you can tolerate. The fixed-back seats only adjust to bring you closer or further away from the steering wheel, with no option for changes in seat height or tilt. Not to worry though, a small air bladder attached to the seat allows you to hand-pump a minimal amount of lumbar support, so if you wanted to do this every 5 minutes or so on your drive, you have the option. The leather-covered seats offer absolutely no padding whatsoever, and while the racing seats make an attempt to conform to the normal curvatures of the human body, they are incredibly uncomfortable.

2000 Lotus Elise. Artist: Unknown. (Photo by National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Getting into, and out of, the car is almost sad and comical. Sitting so low to the ground, you practically have to squat down and crawl into the driver’s seat. There is nothing quite as disappointing to pedestrians as seeing this beautiful car drive up only to watch the owner spend an average of 45 seconds struggling to wiggle their way out of the car.

Storage and Space

While the car may have two seats, you would be hard-pressed to fit two grown men in the car comfortably. If you’re over 6 feet tall your chances of even sitting in the passenger side are low, and the 6 or so inches that the driver’s seat has to move back, paired with a foot-well as thin as slim-shady, and there’s not a chance you’re going to be able to put your feet on the clutch and gas at the same time.

If you’re a single male in your early 20s who lives off of small portions of frozen pizza rolls and hot pockets, this car would make for a fun trip to the grocery store. Anything more than a few small bags of groceries and you’re out of luck. Not only does the trunk offer little to no space, but there is also no additional space in the car’s cabin. No hidden compartments behind the seats like in a 3rd generation MR2.

Bruce Cornelius checks out a 2005 Lotus Elise, during media day a the L.A. Auto Show held at the L.A. Convention Center. The car will be available in May of 2004. It weighs less than 2000 pounds, top speed is just under 150 mph, and goes from 0 to 60mph in 4.9 seconds. Digital image taken on 12/29/03 (Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Driving in Traffic

While the clutch of the Elise is light and the handling is fantastic for weaving in and out of traffic, the visibility of the car is minimal. You may struggle to see around major blind spots while an almost completely useless rear-view mirror blocks what is already a small windshield. Match that with the cars toy-like size and not only can you not see other drivers, but chances are they probably don’t see you either.

If you’ve ever driven in an expensive luxury car, you may not have noticed how many potholes there are one your way to work, how much gravel gets blown into the street by the wind or how uneven the pavement is. The Elise is happy to introduce all of these unpleasantries to your daily commute. The tight suspension and seats built-in to the tub mean you feel every nook and cranny of the road, and sometimes even the smallest of debris feels like a speed bump.

The Verdict

It takes a true exotic car enthusiast to drive a car like this every day. While it may not have space or creature comfort, there is nothing quite like zooming to work in our favorite little racecar. If you want to look cool driving up, until you practically need the jaws of life to extract you from the car once you get to the office, the Lotus Elise might be a great daily driver to you. Could you daily drive a go-kart? If the answer is yes, then the Elise might be the car you are looking for.