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There is a newer version of this car Read the latest Lotus Elise (00-22) review here

Lotus Elise Convertible running costs and reliability

1996 - 2000 (change model)
Running costs rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by Parkers Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 11 May 2023

Miles per pound (mpp)

Reliable fuel consumption data for comparison purposes is not available for this model.
What is miles per pound?

Fuel economy

A more stringent standard for fuel economy (WLTP) was introduced from September 2017, and this model was not required to undergo that test. Its fuel economy measured under the previous test system was 30 - 39 mpg. However these figures are less likely to be achievable in real world driving and so should never be compared to another car's mpg which was measured under the newer, more realistic WLTP system.
View mpg & specs for any version

The Rover K-series engine is easy to maintain, but Lotus parts are pricey and often quite difficult to fit yourself. Using a specialist rather than a main dealer should also save you money. Although insurance is steep, the overall cost of ownership is not expensive on a cost per smile basis, while the steady demand should keep used prices high.

The engine rarely causes too many problems – though the trim and window mechanisms are flimsy and get damaged easily – so if regular maintenance is kept up, the Elise should start every time. Elsewhere, there have been reported issues with footwell floor corrosion, steering rack wear, and stone chips, as well as a punctured radiator and gearbox faults.