Here's Why We're Still Bummed The Lotus Elise Isn't Sold In The US

Sports Car

You should be bummed, too.

From 1996 until 2011, the Lotus Elise was sold in the US. It’s still very much around, but because it doesn’t offer smart airbags, a NHTSA requirement, it’s forbidden fruit in America. Lotus continues to churn out new and updated Elise variants, such as the Sport and Sprint, and now What Car? has just declared this longtime gem to be the slowest depreciating performance car – in the UK. Lotus has just issued a press release to, rightly so, brag about the Elise’s "rock-bottom running costs."

We miss this car in America more than ever right now. What Car? found that up to "95 percent of its (the Elise) price after 12 months and over 54 percent of after four years with average mileage," it beats its main competitors, such as the Porsche Cayman, in residual value. In fact, What Car?’s data revealed the Elise also "trumps exotic rivals, like the Ferrari 458 Italia." With some 33,000 examples built since its launch, the Lotus Elise is very much in line with company founder Colin Chapman’s philosophy of "simplify, then add lightness." The interior is pretty bare bones, and creature comforts are all but nonexistent. Under the hood lies either a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated or 1.8-liter supercharged inline-four, obviously with varying output figures.

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A manual gearbox is, of course, standard fare. And yes, the Elise is fairly cheap, all things considered. The entry level Elise Sport begins at 32,300 GBP. Damn, how we miss this thing over here in the US.