Can a Tall Person Drive a Lotus Elise?

The Lotus Elise is one of the smallest, lightest, and most fun sports cars that you can buy. It looks aggressive and has the performance to match. But it’s also really tough to get in and out of thanks to its wide door sills. On top of that, the Elise has a really low roofline, which can make it a bit cramped for some drivers. In that case, can a tall person drive a Lotus Elise?

Can I fit in a Lotus Elise?

A tall driver sits in a Lotus Elise.
A tall driver sits in a Lotus Elise. | Michael Crabtree – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

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According to many forum members and Lotus Elise owners on Lotustalk.com, you can fit in an Elise if you’re under 6 feet, 4 inches. There are plenty of Elise owners that have stated they fit in the car just fine, even with a helmet on. Although, the tight confines of the cabin can lead to issues with the driver hitting his knees on the steering wheel and the shifter.

On the contrary, the automotive reviewers from Edmunds and New Car Test Drive beg to differ. The latter publication noted, “many people over 6 feet simple don’t fit in this car. And some under 6 feet, particular of a broader beam, don’t fit very well.”

Of course, there’s the potential that the person that reviewed the Elise wasn’t over 6 feet tall, hence the comment. That being said, if you’re looking to purchase a Lotus Elise and are vertically gifted, then you may want to make sure to sit it in and drive the car comfortably.

How small is the Lotus Elise?

2002 Lotus Elise
2002 Lotus Elise | Getty Images

The Lotus Elise is only 149 inches long and 67.7 inches wide, so it’s a very small car. To put that in perspective, the 2019 Honda Fit is 161 inches long and 67 inches wide. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the exact interior dimensions of the Elise, but having sat in one before, it’s easy to relay that the cabin is very tight. There’s enough room for adults, but if they are of the wider variety, then they will be touching shoulders the whole time.

Also, if you’re looking to purchase an Elise, then it’s worth it to note that the door sill on each side is wide enough to sit on. We mention this because you will have to sit on it to get into the car. In fact, the trick to getting into an Elise comfortably is to sit on the door sill and then put your right leg in first, followed by your left leg. Yes, you have to get in it like a race car driver.

As far as getting out of it, it’s the same process only reversed. Although, just make sure that no one sees you doing it because there’s really no “cool” way to get out of a Lotus Elise. You’ll always end up looking like you’re trying to awkwardly climb out of a manhole.

Is it worth it to buy a Lotus Elise?

Yes, indeed. If you’re lucky enough to fit in a Lotus Elise, then there’s nothing else like it in the sports car world. The Lotus Elise was produced in the U.S. market from 2005 to 2011 and during that time, the British company stuck to its “light is right” credo. As such, the 2011 Lotus Elise weighed less than 2,000 pounds thanks to composite body panels and paper-thin seats.

But it was also powered by a Toyota-sourced 1.8-liter engine that put out 189 hp. That’s a lot for such a small and lightweight car. However, if you need more power, then look for an Elise SC model, which is equipped with a supercharged engine that generates 217 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. That model will induce an ear-to-ear grin no matter how hard it is to get in and out of it.

Ultimately, the Lotus Elise can fit tall drivers, albeit not with a lot of comfort. But once you’re in the car, you’re in it. And once you drive it, you probably won’t care about how tight it is.

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