Car Chooser
Car Chooser

2014 Lotus Exige S owner review

The Night Slasher
  • Grip, grip and more grip
  • Looks like a supercar, with the price of a luxury saloon
  • A drive that no other car can match
  • Sometimes too much of the wrong kind of attention
  • Noisy interior and a very lacking in usable storage space
  • Getting in and out is a monumental task of contortion

About the Lotus Exige

The Night Slasher purchased this Lotus Exige new for $139,000 (including all on-road costs). The Night Slasher wouldn’t buy this car again because: “Already had three of them, now keen on the new Emira. Had my day with the Exige and it will be a long treasured memory. The car, while it looks amazing, is quite dated inside and after a few years it can be a little finicky in terms of reliability if you don’t use it often enough. That said, it’s the perfect track day car with a price tag that blows most other makes and models out of the water.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

Over the three years of ownership I’ve had a few things pop up. The more expensive item was covered by warranty, along with a few minor glitches along the way that weren’t too inconvenient.

The major issue was the manual transmission was crunching when shifting into fifth gear. The guys at Simply Sports Cars in Sydney looked after it under their own cost as Lotus England denied it due to a discrepancy they found in the vehicle logs when the OBD information was diagnosed. This unfortunately took a year to resolve, but didn’t hinder me driving the car much at all. The guys fixed it up, while at the time upgraded the supercharger to a Harrop 1900 system.

Other than that, I had the passenger’s side headlight globe blow out twice, which wasn’t covered and had to pay to replace both the globe and the halogen ballast as that burned out, too.

This isn’t really an issue with the car, but as they are hand-built it will require paint correction with ceramic coating in order to get the very best of its beautiful paintwork. It also pays to have a clear PPF done on the front third of the car to protect it from stone chips while driving. On a car this low to the ground it’s not ‘if’ it will happen but ‘when’.

That ‘when’ comes very quickly, too! (Again, ask me how I know…)

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

It’s a great looking car, sits low to the ground, takes off like a rocket and the feel of a supercar, with the price that gives you a supercar experience at a fraction of the cost.

It gets a LOT of attention! Sometimes it can be overbearing but it’s rarely negative. It can attract police so you need to be careful with what you do on public roads (ask me how I know…). It’s surprisingly easy to clean due to the compact size and low ride height. No issues getting in and out of all the appendages with a sponge and drying towel.

I mostly did road trips in this car during my period of ownership. A few trips through regional Victoria and three trips Melbourne to Sydney in it. The car is actually quite comfortable on longer drives, and for a sports car this dynamic the suspension is smooth as silk.

The only real drawback of this car for everyday use is the interior. The seats, while comfortable are very thin and you sit far too low to the ground. Getting in and out of the car makes you look like a goose due to the limited amount of space between the roofline and the high raised door pillars of the monocoque.

Sound system is a bit meh, no power steering, and a lot of road and engine noise. That being said, I didn’t mind it as I was prepared for that sort of thing from the start. It pays to know what you’re getting before you buy it, as the raw experience might shock most people.

All in all, my experience owning this car was nothing but positive and I loved being able to drive it down to the beach, road trips or even just giving it a run to keep the battery dying or flat spots in the tyres etc.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

The purchase and aftercare experience was awesome! The dealer principle of SSC came to my place in Melbourne to sign the documents for handover and had the car put on a trailer and personally towed to my address.

In terms of aftercare, the team at SSC were great in handling everything from servicing, to upgrades, warranty repair, and general assistance ensuring you get the most of your ownership experience from a Lotus. They even run track days monthly for owners to either race at full speed or just go at your own pace, if you wish.

When I had the transmission issue, it took a long time to resolve. But once we were able to get the ball rolling on it, as my initial email was missed, things happened fairly quickly and the repair was done to the highest of standards.

The ownership also came with a complimentary CAMS licence, membership of Club Lotus Australia, plus a bag of Lotus goodies for you to keep.

When you own a Lotus, you are part of a family.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

Price wise, as they are only going up, these cars are an absolute steal! The initial RRP on this was $149,990 including on roads, to which I got a hell of a discount at $139,990.

While it’s not the cheapest of the Lotus cars available, you definitely get what you pay for here. It’s much bigger than the Elise, has a V6 supercharged motor and a less stripped down interior (even though it is still sparse).

This car is not all about features, as the main feature of this is how ridiculously well it drives. It’s not just around corners that it performs, but also in a straight line to a degree which easily keeps up with equal cars of this segment.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

Economy wise, it’s actually not too bad on fuel at all. Due to its lightweight body and nimble nature to be able to get rubber to the road, it’s not all that expensive to maintain. In fact, ownership costs are no higher on an Exige as they would be on an everyday family car.

Performance wise, there’s no corner it cannot handle. The ability to just flick this thing through corners and winding roads at pace is something I cannot say I’ve found in any other car I’ve driven. You place the steering wheel there and it just turns in with full traction.

This is a clear 10/10 on the drivability rating and an outstanding machine to be fortunate enough to have in your garage.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

What technology?

It has a double DIN head unit. That’s it!

If you want tech stuff, wait for the Emira or get an Evora. This isn’t known for its tech and that’s absolutely fine the way it is. End of.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

For this kind of car, it is quite smooth and nimble. You would be gravely mistaken in thinking that this car would be a rough ride and you’d get out of it with a sore back.

It feels smooth and even though it lacks power steering, it’s not much of an issue once you’re at moving pace and get used to it.

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Show Breakdown
Technology 1
Reliability 6.5
Ride & Handling 8
Price & Features 7.5
Purchase & Aftercare 9
Performance & Economy 10
Ownership Experience 9.5
Top Line Specs
Not tested
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