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Car group tests

Lotus Elise 1.8 (220) S, 67.8%

Who’d have thought one of the oldest models on sale would have the best residual value figure on the new car market?

Lotus Elise

Who’d have thought one of the oldest models on sale would have the best residual value figure on the new car market?

The Lotus Elise was launched way back in 1996, and although it’s been subject to constant development ever since then, its popularity as a no-frills track day car has helped to keep values high.

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You can get the Elise in standard 1.6-litre form, or with a 1.8-litre engine if you choose the Elise S. Pick the latter to make your money go furthest, as it’s predicted to hold on to nearly 20 per cent more of its price when new, at 67.8 per cent.

No other new car currently on sale can match that. Why is the Lotus so resistant to depreciation? Well, it has desirability on its side, is built in limited numbers and provides a clear edge in performance. While an output of 217bhp is put to shame by most hot hatchbacks, the Elise S tips the scales at only 924kg, so the rev-happy Toyota-sourced 1.8 catapults it from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds.

But the Lotus comes into its own in corners. The agile chassis and communicative steering combine for a hugely entertaining driving experience that upholds Lotus tradition.

Price now: £37,150

Value after three years: £25,188

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