Lotus Evora review
The British-built Lotus Evora is a sharp-handling mid-engined sports car that rivals the Porsche Cayman
The Lotus Evora is the British sports car firm's answer to the Porsche Cayman. It's based on components from the smaller Elise, but has a more powerful 3.5-litre V6 sourced from Toyota. It has one of the best chassis of any car on the planet, but is actually pretty good at covering long distances too, thanks to its relatively comfortable ride. You can choose from the standard car or the supercharged Evora S, while you can also specify an extra pair of rear seats and even an automatic gearbox. Prices start at around £52,000 and go up to £63,000.
Our choice: Evora Sports Racer 2+0 manual
The Lotus Evora looks good, although some critics might say that it looks a bit generic. There are a wide selection of body colours and wheel combinations, so it's possible to personalise your car to a high level. Inside, the cabin is a bit of a disappointment, with hard-to-read dials, an illogical layout and, although build quality has got better, it's nowhere near the standard set by the Porsche Cayman. Standard kit includes air-con, Recaro sports seats and MP3 connectivity. Go for the Sports Racer Model, and you get extras such as a seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth, cruise control, rear parking sensors and camera and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
The Evora weighs 1,382kg in standard non-supercharged trim, and with 276bhp on tap, does 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds. The 345bhp supercharged version slashes a further three tenths of a second off that time. Both cars are extremely rapid and make a great noise. It's in the corners where the Evora really entertains, although it's not quite as sharp and grippy as the Porsche Cayman. The Evora has a beautifully balanced chassis and incredibly precise steering - it's sensational fun threading between bends on a country road. But what's even more impressive is that this agility doesn't come at the expense of comfort - the ride is quite good, and there's not much in the way of road or wind noise, making it a decent cruiser. The manual gearbox isn't the slickest around, but it's far better than the jerky automatic.
The Lotus Evora has a very stiff and safe structure, plus front airbags and traction and stability control. The rear seats even have Isofix mountings child seat anchors, if you can find a child small enough to strap in there. As for reliability, the Toyota-sourced engine and mechanicals should be alright – but we'd have doubts over the electrics. Lotus has never had a strong reputation in this area, so you should expect some teething problems and visits to your dealer.
Getting in and out of the Evora is much easier than in an Elise, but you still have to swing your leg over a wide, but low, sill. Once you're inside, you're going to feel cramped. The seat and steering wheel don't have enough adjustment, especially if you're tall, the cabin is very narrow and there's not much headroom either. Don't expect to transport any adults, or even small children, in the back of the 2+2 version - headroom is minimal, and there's no legroom to speak of. As for other stowage, there's a tiny 160-litre boot behind the engine, but it's barely big enough for a couple of soft bags, and there's no additional stowage in the nose. If you must have practical sports car, the Porsche Cayman is a far better bet.
Thanks to its light weight, the Lotus Evora isn't too heavy on fuel – you can expect to see 30mpg from the standard car and around 25mpg for the supercharged version. Both are quite dirty when it comes to emissions, posting 217g/km and 229g/km respectively, so they'll be pricey to tax. Servicing and maintenance should be a lot cheaper than for a Porsche Cayman, but watch those options – it's easy to inflate the price to beyond £60,000. If you want all the goodies, your best bet is to go for the Sports Racer, which adds the options for a reasonable premium over the standard car. One thing's for sure, the Evora just isn't as desirable on the second-hand market as a Cayman, so residual values are much lower.