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Three years in a 400 and still loving it! - Evora Chat - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
Gm77

Three years in a 400 and still loving it!

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Greg was instrumental in getting me in my car. Can't thank him enough for that. Something about the water where you live though, Lotus everywhere!

Still lots I love about mine. Not much can sit on the driveway for two years and still make you smile every time you see it.

The Evora quite literally changed my life, it seems unlikely any other car will ever have that impact on me.

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People say you shouldn’t buy one of the first batch of 400s

So, my car is one of the very first manufactured - the very first batch! Consequently it has the Lotus lettering above the stereo (divides opinion on here I know but I really like it), and also has the leather padding on the underside of the engine bay cover above the boot cavity. There were some well publicised issues with some of the first ones, many of which I had too. In summary, the alarm was wired incorrectly which meant it would go off randomly, the MAF sensor would come loose, and the aircon stayed on, even when the car was turned off and the key removed. In addition, after a while, my driver’s seat started to squeak. All the fixes were relatively simple and quick, albeit I know it took a while to diagnose and then design a fix for the squeaking seat. One funny story. When my alarm issue started Stratton Motor Company both picked my car up, and delivered it back repaired. When they delivered it back they did so in their Aston Martin Racing trailer. A friend was over at the time when she saw the truck stopped outside the house. She spat out her tea and asked whether I’d bought “another bloody car!”

Logically you would expect the model to be improved with each batch as lessons are learned. After experiencing a few newer versions, the only differences I can really see are the change to the door cards (the door pockets are no longer present) and in some there appears to be less flex in the interior door handles, but that isn’t universal. Happy for others to add any other differences that they may have noted.

My car does have some intermittent squeaks coming from the dashboard, but they are difficult to replicate when the car goes in for servicing so not all have been repaired. I’m confident over time that I’ll track them down and they’ll be resolved. It certainly doesn’t impact on my enjoyment of the car.

So, the all important question, would I recommend a first batch car to a potential new owner? The short answer is yes. I would expect all the issues identified above will have been solved already - squeaky seat is however dependent on whether it has been used enough to create the issue that then needs fixing.  So it’s really only the standard considerations come into play - warranty remaining, mileage, etc.

Greg

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Nice write up... thanks :>)

 

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Have you been banned on the playground yet?!

Did I tell you that I think I've found the dashboard squeak, on mine at least - it's the shroud around the steering wheel coming loose from the little cubby next to it.  On the list for next year. 

Greg is also responsible for getting me in a 400. When you realise back to back round Spa (and Silverstone) that there's nothing between it and a V6, you question whether the compromises are worth less than the cost to change. I decided it was worth the extra money....

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Not quite Will. Just thought I’d try and inject some enthusiasm and positivity into the forum. I tried, not sure I achieved much though. I would guess I’m now getting abused over there. Never mind though.

Good news on the squeak. I’ll have to have a proper look on mine shortly, when I get the time.

Greg

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the playground can be an odd place at times. It does have its good moments too though to be fair.

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I've been fortunate enough to own a number of Loti over the years.  It started with an Exige - well, it actually started with a VX220 😉 - and there's been pretty much everything in-between (including classics).

I can say with absolute honesty that the 400 is the pick of the bunch.  It's awesome.  

Some may say, 'and so it should be at that price point', but I think it's absolutely remarkable that a brand like Lotus got that car out at that price price point... and didn't go into administration shortly after its launch!  I know I keep repeating that line, but I'm genuinely astonished by the car!

My wife was driving it the other day and her verdict was, 'its a bit like the Caterham, but comfy'.  I can think of no greater complement for a car!  😂

 

 

  

15 minutes ago, tim_marra said:

the playground can be an odd place at times. It does have its good moments too though to be fair.

Nice calendar, but I'll not be renewing my membership when the time comes around.

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Cool mate!

What colour is your car... White?

How about a photo :>)

 

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Strewth mate!

Ask for a photo, get a feature film!! 😂

Very cool vid to have... those SSC plates are great. (Was at SSC last week as well).

Did you do the track day at Bathurst (Barth hurst as Jeremy Clarkson etc all say!)?

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Sadly Ive not had the car on track as yet, and video was made before I bought the car. Its a nice reminder of how good the car is.

I am Planning to do an SSC Lotus only day, just need to find one that I have the time not previously booked!!

 

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I like the emergency booze Chris! 

Welcome to TLF btw :)

 

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Thanks for welcome, been lurking on here for many years below the radar, but found all the information to be very helpful, thanks

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There’s been a few comments about how people got into an Evora. I thought I’d tell my own story below, and add a few points re practicality ( sorry, this does go on a bit.)

Its thanks to Honda that I bought a 400. Four years ago our fleet consisted of my S3 Elise (my daily driver all year round) and my wife’s Honda CRV. The children were 4 and 1 at the time and the combination of good bootspace, and a mid level parcel shelf (perfect for nappy changing) meant the CRV was a perfect family car, well at least for Charlotte, my wife. I was however having difficulties.

I can’t think of a much greater contrast in cars between a diesel SUV driven by old people, and a supercharged stripped out Elise. My weekdays were perfect driving, especially with the odd track day thrown in, but my weekends were the worst form of driving drudgery. To make matters worse, the Honda was uneconomical, expensive to maintain (tyres were ludicrous), and every time I dipped the clutch my shin hit the dash board (how is that even possible?!). A solution was needed.

In my house we have a rough order of change when it comes to cars. Between my wife and I we take it in turns and at the time our most recent purchase was the Elise, my car. So, a plan developed.

I started to sow the seed that it was about time Charlotte had something a bit nicer to drive. I asked her what she would like, whilst also mentioning that Lotus did indeed have a four seater car. Comments such as, “isn’t it great how our youngest was getting on well with potty training”, and “how lovely it would be when we don’t need to take a push chair and change bag everywhere” - the unsubtle messaging that we didn’t need toe boot space. We then, by chance, dropped into Stratton Motor Company (very close to where my mother in law lives) who by coincidence had an S Sports Racer in nightfall blue - what were the chances?!?

I started to hear rumours that a new Evora was coming out, and Geneva was the public unveiling. Someone in the factory suggested it was pretty special too so worth holding on. I looked into going to Geneva but I couldn’t get the flights and work commitments to work. Instead I just dribbled over the photos.

Unlike many, I really liked the colour choice of the Geneva car, signature silver. I get that many wanted something more bold, and ‘in-your-face’, but I thought it looked stunning. I especially liked the diamond cut wheels. Pictures of the Geneva car kept appearing everywhere in the house - can’t think from where. The plan had started to develop some momentum.

A few months later, the Geneva show car was displayed at the annual car show in Canary Wharf, where I was working at the time. I said to Charlotte how we had always spoken about her coming down to London and us having lunch together, and how there was a lovely sushi restaurant in CW that I’d love to take her too. Funnily enough, the car show happened to be on when she was down.

The questions now started to get serious. “I’m not really going to get two car seats in the rear am I?”. Easily solved as the next trip to the mother in law involved stopping off at Stratton Motor Company (again) and trying the car seats in their S1 Evora demo. The point was made that the 400 had a wider bench, room under the seats for feet, and thinner seats. So if they fitted in the S1, it would be easy in the 400! 

The next challenge, “but when I go shopping where do I put it all”. Again, easily solved. When my wife goes shopping, I am very rarely with her. The boot is adequate but with the addition of the passenger seat and footwell, there’s more room than you would ever need! The biggest challenge was yet to come though.

”But what else could I get instead?” This one worried me slightly. We started to run through the alternatives. Anything from Stuttgart was rejected immediately. Charlotte is of the belief that were I ever to buy a Porsche, that would be grounds for divorce, equivalent to infidelity! Therefore she was never going to choose that. So, others included an M3/4, C63, Maser Granturismo. The My3/4 was rejected quickly; the ride was awful. The Maser suffered from a similar issue, although the spacious rear seats almost brought it back into the frame. The C63, that was the tricky one.

Some on here have met Charlotte, and they know that she is a child at heart. So when the C63 salesman told her that the car spits flames out the exhust pipe and she thought that it sounded like a WW2 fighter plane, she was smitten. Greater practicality too. It was touch and go.

The deciding factor came down to looks. Did she want to drive a saloon car, or a sports car. She went with the latter (thank the almighty)! 

A couple of months later, Jamie at B&C let us take out their 400 demonstrator. The kids were strapped in their seats in the back - loads of room. Charlotte drove for almost the full test drive - it was to be her car remember. And she laughed almost uncontrollably when we drove down a tree lined road that reverberated the sound from the exhaust so clearly. The C63 was completely forgotten.

Fast forward to delivery date. Charlotte drove the car home from the dealership. She won’t mind me saying that she was a little nervous when she did so, remember her daily driver sat a lot higher. But when I saw the sunglasses go on, and I could almost hear the American rock anthems blaring from the stereo (despite being a 100 yards ahead in the Elise), I knew we’d cracked it!

So the 400 entered daily service, all year round. First challenge, the school run. The positives. The low sill and seats mean even small children, pre-school age, can climb into the car, and their seats, unassisted. Plus, the sill is perfect height to work as a seat for the adult putting the childrens’ seat belts on. The wider bench seat allows you to slide the child seat slightly so that you can better access the seat belt too. 

Another bonus, the cubby holes in the back are perfect for storing all the gubbins that children always want to take in the car - soft toys, bottles of juice, tha latest plastic thing that they’ve just recieved and can’t live without (for the next 24 hours). 

The car was so successful as the daily driver the CRV remained parked on the drive for long periods, and the 400 had 8,000 miles on the clock when 6 months old. The CRV then was sold which meant we were a Lotus only family and both were used as daily drivers.

The stumbling point was the stage at which the children got hooked on scooters. They didn’t want the collapsible ones and there was no way to fit the fixed ones in the boot. Then there were bikes, and other large toys, and we were starting to struggle. Since then, the car has become my daily driver and Charlotte has moved on to something more spacious. The 400 continues to cope with everything from the daily commute to the station, shopping trips, tip runs, pretty much anything. One thing that continues to astound me is the ground clearance. Never once have I heard that heart wrenching sound of bodywork scratching the tarmac.

So what don’t I like?:

- three door cars are a pain when it’s raining and you need to get the kids in the car and get their seatbelts on, the same also when you’re parked on the roadside.

- the windscreen doesn’t defrost as quickly as some others

- you must remember to de-ice the headlights - I once drove the car in the dark one morning and hadn’t scrapped the headlights. It was like driving without my lights on when I got out of the built up areas - not pleasant.

- no matter how imaginative you are, there’s no way you’ll fit four in the car with suitcases for an airport run. We did manage four up  plus lugage on a 4 day trip to Manchester though.

- I wish the gove box was bigger to fit the toolkit and service manual in more comfortably (I know, I’m struggling now).

- the headlights are difficult to adjust correctly; too high and you’re dazzling people, too low and they’re really not that effective.

- the biggest issue in the back is head room. The collar on some car seats means that despite the child fitting, the car seat may not. 

So can the 400 be used as a daily driver? Absolutely. It’s even child tested.

 

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They both are :>)

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This thread still seems to be lacking pictures of the star car....

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From memory, when I got my 400 and there weren't many around (not that we're drowning in them now, mind) I was unusual in that I was one of the people who didn't have kids to put in the back!

That being the case I found the rear storage area very useful compared to a Porker as it was flat, unlike the very odd shape of the 911 (due to the huge transmission hump)

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6 months in......ignoring warranty type issues, my observations on simple design improvements would be:

1) Glove box could be a bit bigger.

2) Boot could have anchor points for a cargo net.

3) Door bins should be a bit deeper.

4) No issue with headroom because the car looks great being so low.

5) Boot opening mechanism is 'variable'....gets there in the end.

6) Literally spend another £50.00 on speaker quality (head unit is fine)

7) Hand brake should be better.

 

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6 hours ago, Bibs said:

:wub:

You've done well there mate, she's a keeper :D

You’re not wrong Bibs!

Greg

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6 hours ago, Simon Bateman said:

6 months in......ignoring warranty type issues, my observations on simple design improvements would be:

1) Glove box could be a bit bigger.

2) Boot could have anchor points for a cargo net.

3) Door bins should be a bit deeper.

4) No issue with headroom because the car looks great being so low.

5) Boot opening mechanism is 'variable'....gets there in the end.

6) Literally spend another £50.00 on speaker quality (head unit is fine)

7) Hand brake should be better.

 

As long as these didn't add weight, as that compromises the lotus DNA and with the 400 series that's was the main focus.

Personally I love the way it is with is missing conveniences which is actually refreshing, I wont use all the functions of the head unit as navigating the systems needs a UNI degree. The simplicity of the overall car is fantastic and A/C being basic, I love.

The last "Fashion" car I owned, the A/C control button was was lit when it was off and not when is was on "what the",  it was for me as I am 5'6" , the seats were uncomfortable, I couldn't see the half the instruments panel even with a adjustable column,  flyoff handbrake, read yes it was heritage but "B" annoying, no cup holders, no door pockets, no cruise control, useless glove box, and the car weighed 1.7 ton and new ( I was the second owner) was 200K UKP. The reliability of it compared to the 400 should have come under lemon laws... and people covert these things.......don't get me started. positive it had 4 seats that people actually could fit in, but it was BIG, for me anyway.

As Ive said on previous posts I searched and resurrected for 12months of what to replace the "fashion" car with. my favorite classics were unobtainable, and of the newer cars in my budget, all had significant enough issues which make the 400 near perfect.

The only thing I would like lotus to do is offer post production light weight options in the way the 410 and 430 do, but factory Approved and dealer fitted parts, as I don't need more grunt or bigger brakes just more Lotus DNA and I'm sure the increased volume would help bring the price down.

Car design is nothing but a compromise there is no such thing as a perfect car and never will be I for one am so please that cars like the 400 exist as its near enough to perfect for me.

Edited by au-yt

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