This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Lotus Elise review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The feather-light body and transversely-mounted four-cylinder, 1.8-litre engine gives phenomenal 0-70 mph acceleration in under six seconds and is a real joy to drive. Although the 126 mph top speed is not startling, the overall thrill factor is rip-roaringly high, offering blistering pace for minimum effort. The low stance and responsive chassis keeps the Elise stuck to the road at speed – ensuring that the drive is both confident and fun – while the growling engine sounds fantastic at high revs.

Coupling precise handling with inspirational poise and balance, the Elise responds faultlessly and is incredibly agile around corners. Although the back end can slip rather than grip in the wet, the Lotus’ handling is a benchmark that many others can only aspire to. The Elise’s power-to-weight ratio is stunning; it will never fail to leave you with a smile on your face and the majority of contenders for dust.