2006 Lotus Elise Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Lotus Elise Convertible


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Lotus Elise Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 190 hp @ 7800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Lotus Elise

  • For those willing to put up with its heavily compromised utility and comfort, the 2006 Lotus Elise provides the most unfiltered driving experience of any roadster sold today.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Ultralightweight chassis, uninhibited steering, supercar performance without the supercar price, low volume ensures rarity.

  • Cons

    Spartan interior, difficult entry and exit, peaky power delivery, ride quality more Formula One than grand touring, limited dealer network.

  • What's New for 2006

    Changes for 2006 include an available traction control system, an optional limited-slip differential, lightweight forged alloy wheels, a…

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (27 total reviews)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

This car is sick.

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Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

Instant celebrity status, whether you want it or not. You will begin getting gas at night just to avoid all the questions and strangers chatting you up for 20 minutes. I have learned more about the car from others than I knew before I purchased it. It is alarmingly quick to 100 mph and I have not had one problem with it. Not one, ever, an extraordinary feat for a hand-built vehicle. The interior is simple and clean, with only the essentials. The high RPM power is addictive. I would equate driving this vehicle with how a great white shark must feel swimming along out there, knowing there is nothing out there that can touch him. Lotus is ahead of its time with 30 MPG and iPod hook-up!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best attention getter

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

If you choose to buy a lotus Elise you are also making a commitment to people wanting to know what it is. I have seen more Ferraries and Lamborghinis than lotuses. That truly makes this an exotic car. It sounds like a formula one car under an over pass! This truly is the best bang for your buck you can get. Touring and sport packs are great! Worth the money.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Very fun car with some

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

This car was built for the track. If you buy this car expecting anything more than a driving machine, you are looking at it for the wrong reason. The combination of aluminum and fiberglass that make up the Elise provide a very high power to weight ratio, even with the very small 1.8L Toyota engine. After pushing the car past 6200 rpm you feel a boost in power as the car switches to the second cam. As you redline in second at 8500 rpm, the shift into third pushes your head back into the seat. At this point you realize that you're on the freeway inching toward 100 and need to slow down. What a killjoy. Amazing handling and road hugging tires make freeway on ramps the best part of your day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Pound for pound, $ for

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

I have owned a number of other so called sports cars over the years. I went through a Corvette stage, a Viper stage and a Porsche stage. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar no car can touch the Lotus Elise for pure fun, driveability and performance. Yes it doesn't have a 600 hsp engine and yes it doesn't have a 6 figure price tag but take the Elise out on twisty winding roads and watch the power cars eat your dust.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Don't judge. it's better than

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

This car is amazing. It is like a street-legal road rocket. A race car. A go-kart. It's so fun to drive. I have driven faster cars, but none more gratifying than this. And it's no slouch either! Once you're inside, it's pretty cozy and roomy. Easy to get comfy in. I have never been in a car that garnered so much attention. Every day I get compliments, questions, comments, and non-stop looks. I don't imagine that Ferrari owners get nearly this much attention. Take this car to some twisty back roads and the magic will come to life. That is where this car belongs and that is where you will have the most fun with it. It's no dragster and if that's what you want, move on, this car isn't for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl 6M)

It's nearly impossible to get into with the top on, almost as bad with the top off. But once you're in it getting out doesn't matter, you just want to stay in it forever. No better bang for the buck, most attention getting car ever owned, and I've pretty much had them all. A street legal race car that makes you SMILE SMILE SMILE. There's no better handling, braking or accelerating car on the market, sure some go faster in a straight line, and some may brake a little better, but nothing else has the package the way this car does. God bless Colin Chapman, may he rest in peace, his legacy lives on and on and on.

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2006 Lotus Elise Review

What's New for 2006

Changes for 2006 include an available traction control system, an optional limited-slip differential, lightweight forged alloy wheels, a matte black appearance package and an air conditioning-delete option. Daytime running lights are now standard, along with LED taillights with integrated reflectors. The ProBax seat padding from NuBax has been upgraded for increased comfort and last year's aluminum pedal set has been replaced by a lighter (though now steel) pedal set.


One reality, and enemy, of sports car design over the last 30 years has been the inescapable escalation of vehicle weight. While two-seat performance cars have become more comfortable, more reliable and safer in recent decades, they have also become rather portly, at least by sports car standards.

Sadly, if you've wanted both performance and light weight in one machine, you've pretty much had to give up the new-car smell (not to mention modern technology, reliability and safety features) and start shopping the classifieds. But all that ended with the introduction of the Lotus Elise to the U.S. market for 2005. The Elise has been on sale in Europe since 1996, but European demand for the vehicle, along with stringent U.S. crash standards, kept it from leaping the pond -- except for a limited race-only version that wasn't legal to operate on public roads.

The second-generation release of the Elise in 2000 finally gave Lotus the opportunity to plan for a U.S.-certified version. It's true that meeting U.S. crash standards has required the addition of airbags and other safety features that add weight. And Lotus knew that even sports car fans in this country have trouble sacrificing amenities for the sake of performance, so the U.S. Elise comes standard with air conditioning, antilock brakes and an AM/FM/CD audio system. But don't look for stability control or power steering on this sports car. Lotus was willing to bend the Elise's original "weight is the enemy" philosophy for American tastes, but the company refused to break it. The carmaker managed to keep the U.S. Elise's curb weight under the 1-ton mark. At 1,975 pounds, the Elise is easily the lightest performance car sold in this country.

With so little weight to push around, there's not a huge need for power. Therefore, the Lotus Elise has a Yamaha-built, Toyota-badged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine. This is the same engine found in the Toyota Corolla XRS, but it's been tuned by Lotus to broaden the power band and bump peak horsepower to 190. That's more than enough power to manage the Elise's increased weight, and Lotus says the car will sprint from zero to 60 mph in under 5 seconds. There's no doubt that the 2006 Lotus Elise is a special car. For the money, you're not going to find a more thrilling driving experience out of a new production car. Just be aware that this is a no-frills, race-oriented machine. Even the Honda S2000, a car we've previously said as being quite minimalist, seems rather posh in comparison. Those wanting a roadster that can provide more day-to-day functionality than the Elise while still providing plenty of driving excitement will want to check out Porsche's Boxster or the aforementioned S2000.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Lotus Elise is a two-seat, rear-wheel-drive, midengined roadster available in one trim level. The interior is understandably spartan, but must-haves like air conditioning and a CD player are standard (an A/C-delete option is available to save weight). Several option packages offer a bit of customization: The Touring Pack includes leather seating, power windows, an upgraded stereo with MP3 capability, a stowage net, a double-insulated soft top, additional sound-deadening material and full carpeting. The Elise's standard wheel/tire arrangement specifies 16-inch alloys with 175/55R16 Yokohama Advan Neova AD07 tires in front and 17s with 225/45R17 rubber in back. The optional Sport Pack features enhance the car's performance capabilities by swapping out the standard wheels for lightweight alloys, while fitting Yokohama A048 LTS tires (with wider 195/50R16 rubber in front) and a track-tuned suspension. A hardtop is available as a stand-alone option.

Powertrains and Performance

Power for the Lotus Elise comes from a Toyota-sourced 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Lotus fitted unique intake and exhaust components, as well as a reworked engine controller, to broaden the engine's power band and push peak horsepower to 190 at 7,800 rpm. Torque peaks at 138 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm. The four-wheel independent suspension system features Eibach springs and Bilstein monotube shocks. Lotus claims a 0-to-60 time of just 4.9 seconds. A limited-slip differential is optional.


Don't expect much more than federally mandated safety equipment on the Lotus Elise. A four-wheel antilock brake system is included, but neither stability control nor side airbags are available. A traction control system is optional.

Interior Design and Special Features

Interior accommodations relay a clear sports car theme. Composite sport seats provide plenty of support, and controls are simple enough to keep your attention on the road. The wide door sills and low steering wheel require some fancy footwork when entering or exiting the vehicle. Needless to say, the Elise's cockpit emphasizes driving above all else, as there are minimal comfort and storage features for long road trips.

Driving Impressions

The non-power steering feels as natural as anything we've ever driven, and the 1.8-liter Toyota engine is indeed more user-friendly (with a far more usable torque curve) than what you'll find in the Corolla XRS or Matrix XRS. Braking is handled by AP Racing two-piston calipers up front and Brembo single-piston calipers in back (11.5-inch rotors all around). This all adds up to a car that feels as race-oriented and capable as a Ferrari 430. When you consider the 2006 Lotus Elise costs roughly one-fourth as much, its true value becomes apparent.

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