Used 2006 Lotus Exige

2006 Lotus Exige
List price range
2006 Lotus Exige

Pros

  • Ultralightweight chassis, uninhibited steering, racetrack-oriented design, low volume ensures rarity.

Cons

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

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Edmunds' Expert Review

By most measures, the Lotus Exige is a miserable little car. But Lotus didn't build it to be a grocery-getter. As a weekend track-day weapon, the Exige is unsurpassed.

vehicle overview

For such a congested, dreary and drizzly island, the United Kingdom sure does conjure up some pretty amazing sports cars. For 2006, one of its most dramatic products, the Lotus Exige, arrives on American shores. The Exige is based on Lotus' Elise roadster, and has already been on sale in Europe since 2005. (There was also an Exige version of the first-generation Elise. Neither first-gen version was officially imported into the United States.) Like the Elise, the Exige is a small, lightweight sports car packing a manically revving Toyota engine. Aluminum is used for the chassis' construction and features are kept to a minimum. Curb weight is a little more than 2,000 pounds; for reference, a Porsche Cayman S checks in at almost 3,000 pounds.

The main differences between the Exige and Elise are appearance and handling. The Exige's body modifications, including a fixed roof panel, sculpted engine cover, front-air splitter and rear wing, are intended to increase downforce at high speeds. At 100 mph, Lotus says that the Exige generates an additional 90 pounds of downforce (as opposed to the Elise at the same speed). This probably won't be very useful for going to get a pack of cigarettes from the local mini mart, but it extends the car's limits on a racetrack. The Exige also comes standard with the equipment found in the Elise's Sport Pack. This includes wider front tires, lightweight forged alloy wheels, barely legal Yokohama rubber, twin oil coolers and a stiffer sport suspension. For the true enthusiast, there's also a Track Pack that features an adjustable suspension.

Considering the Exige's performance potential, the price of admission is relatively modest. But this is not a mass-market car. The side effects of its focused performance, including a very stiff ride and minimal storage and safety equipment, make it a pretty miserable car for daily use. Most buyers in this market will be happier with the new Corvette Z06 or Cayman S. Wisely, Lotus doesn't plan on importing more than about 200 to 300 Exiges. And for the eventual handful of owners, the street-legal racecar experience won't get any better than this.

2006 Lotus Exige configurations

The Exige is a coupe version of the two-seat, rear-wheel-drive, midengined Elise roadster. A CD player and air conditioning are standard (the A/C can be removed to save weight), but overall the Exige is quite spartan. Several option packages offer a bit of customization. The Touring Pack aims to slightly improve comfort through leather seating, power windows, upgraded audio, a storage net, additional sound-deadening material and full carpeting. The Track Pack sends the Exige in the opposite direction; it comes with adjustable dampers, an adjustable front stabilizer bar, an additional rear suspension brace and interior fittings for a race-oriented harness. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels with 195/50R16 Yokohama Advan A048 tires are found up front; 17s with 225/45R17 rubber are in back. A limited-slip differential, a feature that improves acceleration and power delivery when exiting corners, is optional.

2006 Highlights

The Lotus Exige is a fixed-roof version of the Lotus Elise; it's being imported into the North American market for the first time in 2006.

Performance & mpg

Power for the Exige 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 pound-feet at 6,800 rpm. Lotus claims a 0-to-60 time of just 4.9 seconds and a drag-limited top speed of 147 mph. Fuel economy, at 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway, is quite respectable.

Safety

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

Driving

Because of its 1-ton curb weight, super-sticky tires and unassisted steering, the Exige is pretty much the most precise-handling car available for 2006 (Elise excepted, of course). No other car feels more eager to go where it's pointed. The Exige's body modifications do make a difference, but only at the higher speeds seen at a racetrack. On the move, the engine is tractable enough for low-speed work, but certainly the most grins come when the tach is past 6,000 rpm. Because of its sport-tuned suspension, though, the Exige does ride quite harshly on normal pavement. The brakes are simply phenomenal and provide fade-free performance in nearly every situation.

Interior

The Exige's minimalist design carries into the interior. The controls are simple and there's not much room available for storage. The composite sport seats provide plenty of support, but the car's fixed roof and wide sills make entry and exit particularly challenging for any human more than 3 feet tall. The trunk is rated at 4 cubic feet of capacity, which is enough for a few wedged-in grocery bags and not much else.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Lotus Exige.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

An Amazing Car - But Not For Everyone
XEEEJ,03/22/2006
The Exige is an amazing machine. Steering feel, braking & cornering are all phenomenal. The car is also beautiful to look at while being functional. I love mine, but prospective buyers need to know what they're getting. The car is not for everyone and you have to be willing to deal with its total impracticalities. It's basically a 4 wheel motorcycle. The car is best used on twisty back roads or on track. Commuting or highway cruising is a waste, in my opinion. You have to accept the attention that the car draws. It's a surprisingly comfortable car once inside. Ingress and egress are tricky but get easier with a little practice. Nothing comes close to an Exige for the money.
Exige, Mighty Mini Supercar
Al B Bach,05/21/2006
Exige will take you're breath away. Not a practical utilitarian car by any means. This car car is designed for one purpose: to be driven on back twisty roads where the adrenaline flows through your veins. This is a "me" car that spells out individuality with F1 roots. This car is for serious drivers in a small niche track drivers, car enthusiasts and those that want pure performance without killing the pocket book. From its 150lb chassis to the hand layer fiber body it is definitely worth the wait for an order to be processed for the US market. I waited since 2004 for mine since the first US announcement for ramp up in Nov 2005, delivery was Feb 2006. Only 300 made and I'm glad I got mine.
wow
danny8623,01/23/2006
This has to be the funnest car I have ever had. Maybe not the fastest but I can take any turn at any speed. You have got to have one; it IS the BEST.
You Wear this Car
gtlotus,02/14/2006
The Exige and you become one. You can feel everything that goes on. Every bump, every crack. There are no surprises. This is the best Lotus ever. Colin is smiling!
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Features & Specs

MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 2
6-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 7800 rpm
See all Used 2006 Lotus Exige features & specs
More about the 2006 Lotus Exige
Used 2006 Lotus Exige Overview

The Used 2006 Lotus Exige is offered in the following submodels: Exige Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Lotus Exige?

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Which used 2006 Lotus Exiges are available in my area?

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Find a used Lotus Exige for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $23,454.

Find a used Lotus for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $20,251.

Find a used certified pre-owned Lotus Exige for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,702.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Lotus Exige?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Lotus lease specials
Check out Lotus Exige lease specials