The Lotus Elise is one of the most underrated sports cars on the used car market. While you won’t find any new models driving around the streets here in the US, they are still some of the most unique and surprisingly affordable options for an exotic sports car. With their small stature and odd body lines, you might be surprised to know what is sitting under the hood — or rather, the trunk — of the Lotus Elise.
A mid-engine surprise
You might think that the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that powers the Lotus Elise is rather underwhelming, and some critics might agree. However, horsepower isn’t the only indicator of a car’s performance, and this lightweight vehicle might surprise you. The car itself doesn’t look all that common, and but the same engine sits under the hood of some of the most popular passenger cars on the road.
A 1.8-liter engine
The mid-engine placement of the engine makes a pretty big difference in handling and performance, but the 1.8-liter engine in the Lotus Elise is a Toyota engine. The same engine is shared with several trim levels of the Toyota Celica, Toyota Corolla, and several other popular cars. This engine is known for being incredibly reliable, which makes buying a used or even branded title a great option.
Changing it up for the Lotus Elise
While the engine itself is shared with these common cars, it isn’t exactly the same. The Elise has a higher rev limit than the same engine does in the Toyota models. It does produce around 190hp, which isn’t far off from the average of 170hp to 189hp in the Celica and Corolla models. The Elise’s mid-engine placement for the same engine makes a significant difference in handling. At the same time, the power-to-weight ratio of the car improves its performance over the Celica and Corolla.
It might be rather underwhelming to realize that such a beautiful, rare car has such a common, unimpressive engine. In a world where large displacement engines reign king, it is easy to see why the Lotus Elise would get left in the dust, but for a track-oriented car, this one handles like no other.