Lotus Elise 1.6 Sport

Lotus Elise 1.6 Sport

Sports Cars

3. Lotus Elise

Model/Engine size:
Lotus Elise 1.6 Sport
Fuel economy combined:
44.8 mpg
Lotus Elise 1.6 Sport


In 1996 the Elise reinvigorated Lotus and was welcomed with open arms. It marked a return to the late founder Colin Chapman’s ideals that cars should be as light as possible and it weighed just an incredible 690 Kg. Since then the weight has gradually increased to 876 Kg for the current mark 3 car, which is still very light but not as light as it once was.

Given that the Elise has been around for so long Lotus has got away with very few updates. The latest however introduces a new Toyota derived 1.6-litre engine which dramatically reduces fuel consumption. The new engine emits an impressive 16% less CO2 per km than the outgoing 1.8 litre unit.

With 134 bhp it matches the output of the previous engine thanks to a variable valve lift mechanism with dual variable value timing but it is a little down on torque with 118 lb.ft at 4,400 rpm. As well as the new engine, the Elise also gets a close ratio six-speed gearbox. The cumulative result is that it takes 0.4 seconds longer to hit 62 mph.

Handling has always been the Elise’s trump card. The balance is fantastic whilst the steering provides genuine feedback. Few cars can be hustled with as much confidence as the Elise. When the limit of grip is reached it’s easy to adjust the balance with steering or power inputs. Despite the fantastic handling, ride comfort is amazingly good too.

The Elise remains one of the most accessible sports cars. It’s relatively affordable and drivers of all levels will get rewards from the fantastic chassis. Whilst still requiring some dedication, the modern Lotus Elise is comfortable enough to use every day and remains a great track day tool. It remains the benchmark for small sports cars.


Read our full Lotus Elise review



Fuel economy, extra urban:
56.5 mpg
Fuel economy, urban:
34 mpg
CO2 emissions:
149 g/km
First year £205, then £140 per year
876 Kg
BIK Company Car Tax (2018/19):
Insurance group:
134 bhp
Max speed:
127 mph
6.5 seconds
118 lb ft @ 4400 rpm