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Europa S Daily Driver


keitht

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Calling on experienced Europa S drivers!

Hoping I have posted this question in the correct place.. I am seriously considering trading in my WRX on a 2007 Europa S, and using it every day. I would like to hear from current owners if this is really a good idea, I have driven an Exige before and found it blew my mind but a very very hard ride which could get irritating. Although I am used to hard riding cars, the Europa seems to tick all the right boxes, however i am mindfull of Mr Clarkson's dislike for this model...

The roads I'd use everyday is limited freeway driving, mostly "B" roads (as the poms would say) and a wonderfully twisty back road to get home on which I have had much joy (and a couple of scares).

Any feedback on experience with Europa S's regarding aircon, handling the bumps and potholes, rattles and squeaks would be appreciated.

Thanks guys.

Keith

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My Europa S is my daily driver. I drive it at least 6 out of 7 days of the week.

Monday to Friday i'll do about 30 - 40 miles per day.

Weekend I could do easily 100 - 150 miles depending on my mood.

The ride is not as hard as the Exige but it's still a hard ride, but this is something that doesn't really bother me.

I also drive it all through the winter too, I bought Team Dynamic wheels so I could put winter tyres on it as you can't get winter tyres for the stock front wheels. Once the winter tyres are on you can go about in the snow no problem too. I live up a very steep hill and people are amazed at how I get up it in the Europa during the winter but a good set of winter rubber makes all the difference. I have Conti Winter Contact T830P, best winter tyre I've had yet.

Here are the negatives of the car:

1/ Fog in headlamps- it seems a common problem

2/ Opening of boot only w key. (very unpleasant in winter time) (not a problem on the SE model)

3/ Poor radiator quality. (is a classic minor point to almost all lotus cars) Mine was replaced under warranty but most upgrade to a full alloy one when it fails.

4/ Exhaust sound not really sporty.. - Tullet or Larini exhaust sorts this issue out

5/ Bolts that are levelling front and rear opening lid are corroding. (adjusters)

6/ Original GPS Blaupunkt radio is crap.

7/ Manual aircondition requires an almost continious manupulating and adjusting.

8/ Flat spot on engine at 4200 rpm - (not such an issue on a factory tuned 225 bhp model or SE)

9/ Front and upper mesh grille , paint chipping and corroding.

10/ Fuel reservoir way to small for travelling.. range limited to 230 miles before fueling.

11/ Brakes are crap - (this can be solved by putting CL RC5+ pads)

12/ Engine mounts are a weak point, mine have just gone, can only get OE ones for the sides but putting uprated poly ones on the front and rear.

13/ Bit understeery when pushed, wider front tyres and geo adjustment gets rid of this problem though.

Apart from these negatives I still love the car though. It highly underated, with the right mods it goes from being a good car to a great car, not to mention it is very rare (only about 465 made). I've yet to see another one on the road.

Hope that helps.

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Hi Saj,

Thanks for the input. Obviously not too may owners out there (only one response) but thanks for the comprehensive response. The car I am looking at has a kenwood radio in it which is apparently much better than the blaupunkt. The one thing I am a little worried about is going on a long trip with a passenger. On the test drive you rub shoulders a fair bit (though he was rather large), is this a problem?

Keith

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I used to own an Exige S and took passengers to our local Lotus Club meetings. Never had too much of an issue with rubbing shoulders. However, passengers needed to keep their legs straight in for me to be able to shift.

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Hi Keith

Mine is also a daily driver. I have done quite a few long drives 5 to 9.5 hours in the car. It's pretty comfortable (but I'm used to driving a stiff race car so the bumps don't worry me) and the fuel economy is pretty good too. With a few cheap tweaks I'm getting 35mpg.

The list of annoyances is pretty accurate with the brakes being my main issue. On the subject of understeer - I regulate the tyre pressures to counter this. If it's a 2007 car then the timing chain will be due for renewal at 4 years.

I have no intention of ever selling mine. (I have 4 other Lotus cars and the Europa comes out top for all round usability and fun)

Cheers

Peter

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Keith - There were only 450 or so made, there aren't that many of them about I'm afraid!

I drove a pre-production car back in 2006 over a long weekend and with Laura and I in the car it was tight, there's no denying that plus the boot wasn't huge. I found the ride to be great - it was compliant without knocking my fillings out, roadholding was as to be expected from a Lotus and the 2.0l turbo was nice and punchy, it felt very fast and was an exciting drive. It won't replace the limited practicality of a WRX but will be a good and fun drive on the roads you're talking about, you'll certainly look forward to the journey at each end of the day.

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