Help !!!! Caterham or Exige or Elise ??

Hi Everyone, What a great site!!Can you offer your words of wisdom for an undecided choice. My options are a �26K Caterham Superlight 160Bhp, The Exige ( looks fantastic in an F1 type way ) or the Elise 160sport ( with Hardtop ). The Lotus guy in Birmingham reckons the two Lotus are the same more or less in the Exige standard form and even with 190Bhp there’s not a great deal except better grip on trackdays ??The choice is to be used as a fun car with prob 4 trackdays a year but just getting in a having a blast on my Norfolk B roads. But I’d love to use it to drive to the train station daily or a couple of days a week along deserted B roads ( 13miles ) 5am!! So what’s the informed opinion. Caterham, Exige ( it does look the business ) or Elise ??? The sales guy more or less put the choice down to looks especially with both having hard tops but did say the the 190Bhp would give, as expected better mid-range…Oh this is so hard a choice.Can you help ???

JohnI’ve had 3 Caterhams in the past - all as pure fun/weekend cars - & really that’s what they are! They are of course fantastic on track!However, I consider my Exige to be a “grown up” Caterham - still pretty raw but it can used as a daily driver too! I’ve done 22K miles in mine since Jan 01, & RussT has covered around 26K in his in the same timescale.Although exact production numbers have not been ascertained, it is fair to reckon that only around 600 Exiges were built - must be a futute (if not already) classic.The Elise in its own right is a fabulous sports car, as well as being eminently suitable for either track or daily use.For your intended use, I reckon that you won’t be dissappointed with an Exige - in fact I’m sure that you already know that, so just do it [image][/image]

If its an occasional car then get a Caterham. If you need it on a daily basis then get an Exige or an Elise…but not the Sport 160, pick a 111S Elise instead.The Exige is a bit less “parkable” than the Elise, but does have the looks that make it appear to mean business - however they get hot inside - the roof comes off the Elise.Test drive them all, then make up your mind!SteveB

Thanks for the replies but why the 111S Elise rather than the 160 Sport ? Also, just how useless is the Aircon in the Exige ( not my assessment but the dealers ) is it really not that useful ? Also, what does pickup feel like 190Bhp I was in a standard Exige and couldn’t get out of traffic!! I have planned to get a good back to back with a Elise ( I’ll now have to look at the 111S as well ). How wairy should I be of mileage i.e an 8K or a 25K both serviced ? I’m assuming both have been thrashed to within… etc.Thanks in advance John D.Oh can anyone rec. a good dealer ( If such a thing exists ! )

John - second everything Pesky says…understand what Steve B says about parking but with a a bit of prectice it has never been a problem for me. The aircon in the exige is totally useless and very fragile - more than several fractures of the piping have been recorded but dont let that put you off. I’ve just driven an Exige 3.5k around the mountains of Europe in some pretty high temps and I tell you its liveable with for the pure enjoyment of the drive. The 190hp upgrade is certainly worth the money…but you must get the sports exhuast to make the most of it - aurally!!!I would not be too concerned about the mileage…as I think many exiges are not really thrashed that often…although i would expect it to have an impact on sticker price. You could save the money on a highish miler and invest it in more trackdays :slight_smile:

To recommend a good dealer - No contest - Go to Nick Whale Sportscars in Birmingham (John in sales and Ian in Aftersales) - In my opinion they offer service second to none.Just my two pence worthGiles(P.S - Part of your decision making process should be to get all three cars on the track - then you’ll buy the Exige!)

ask yourself the following questions :-do you like fixing cars and doing track days? GET A CATERHAMdo you like running a car everyday, occasional trackdays? GET AN ELISEas above, but are you over 50 years old? GET AN EXIGE [image][/image] Statistics Dept.

Hi John,I’ve owned a Sport 160 and then moved onto an Exige (which is now for sale, if you’re interested, as I’ve ordered a Noble). Anyway, �26k is too much to pay for a Caterham Superlight 160 IMO. A Sport 160 is less revvy and more obnoxious at low revs than an Exige. It also lacks the close ratio box, which it needs (I had one fitted to my 160). It also needs some trick tyres (A038Rs) to get equal grip to the Exige (actually slightly better), but the Exige will run in the wet on its standard tyres.In short, I threw money at the Sport 160 to get it to go almost as quick as an Exige, and the only thing left to do was the Engine, which was going to cost a few grand to do, and it still wouldn’t look as good as an Exige, so I traded mine in.Aircon, I’m reliably informed, is pretty ineffective, adds weight and breaks quite often.As a road car, Elise/Exige wipes the floor with the Caterham. On track, the Exige is just about up with the Caterham 160, and a better balanced and handling car.All IMHO, of course! :slight_smile:

steve,I really meant that the Elise is prolly less likely to get trashed when parked!Jonny,You’re soooo right :wink: Congrats on the EVO thing BTW!john,I like the 111S since it has the CR box that the Exige has, and a VVC engine that has decent low and mid torque and almost as much top end power. It just lacks decent suspension.Both the Exige and Sport 160 and improved with ECU and vernier pulley mods to get them more userfriendly as a day to day car, cold starting and low rev running will be improved. The 111S does not need these mods.Out of the bunch the Caterham is going to depreciate the least, although Exiges have prolly lost a lot of what they are likely to - they can be had for 23K, a 111S or Sport 160 for 16K.SteveB

Oi ! Don’t make me ban you ! [image][/image]

Thanks all! This just gets more and more difficult but are we saying that if I wanted to go for a long run the the 111S and the Exige would be better than the 160S, on track the Exige190 is better grunt/grip/beter handling? and to me anyway looks the meanest/best. So I think the question ( and I guess for me ) is it ( Exige) worth the extra money ? Is this a fair assessment from your comments.What about known problems/servive/parts cost with the Exige anymore or less than the Elise 111S ?

John,The pukka tyres for the Exige are more costly than normal road tyres on the 111S. But there is nothign to stop you fitting road tyres to the Exige, or sticky tyres on the 111S, but toyu will need to make modifications to the suspension on the 111S to cope with the extra grip from the tyres.Cam belt change interval is lower on the Exige ~30k as opposed the 111S’s 56K. The Sport 160 has more agressive cams so I’d expect that to have the same belt change interval.For a long run the 160 Elise would be best since it has a much higher top gear. The Exige and 111S are almost the same. The Caterham requires sidescreens fitted, and is tiring on a long run, and the quicker ones have very low top gears - equivalent to the other car’s 4ths.David,What have I said? THe exige is obviously the best ;-)SteveB

Me again!! Been looking on the site and he’s got an Apr 2001 8K Exige190 Upg. ( no aircon ;o) ) at 27K. What does this sound, obviously with their cut added in, but what would be a reasonable amt to bargin down to ? Any advice appreciated. Oh, I’m not confident or know enough to buy private really.

Seems a tad on the steep side, I’d be looking to pay around �25K for that car.

Oh, I’m not confident or know enough to buy private really.[/B][/QUOTE]John D.I’m considering selling my Exige, Aug 2000 W for the right price. Proper car, lots of extras, under 4K miles. e-mail me off line if of any [email protected] Mr. Admin. chq in post, computer’s on the blink & I won’t … etc

Due to your lack of track use then a Caterham wouldn’t be my choice. In fact even though I probably do more trackdays than most people I’m now selling my Caterham to buy a S1 111S Elise as I’m fed up with the reliability of them.Exiges are great if you don’t mind a 200rpm power band and missing out on open top motoring when the sun is shining [image][/image]My choice would be a S1 Sport 135 Elise !

Can’t argue with your choice there Andy.CheersChris’99 Quicksilver Elise Sport 135 :slight_smile:)))))))

Thanks Andy, again this is getting even more complicated ;o) What type of caterham do have ?

I have a '97 1.6 K -series Supersport but with all the Superlight bits such as 6 speed box, big brakes, LSD, wide track, lightened flywheel, uprated clutch, etc, etc ![This message has been edited by ShinyAndy (edited 02 September 2002).]

JohnI have just made the move from Elise to Exige so feel qualified to comment.Elises are bloody marvellous - no question - but after a few months you start thinking “if only” and want to spend money on making it go quicker, stop better, turn corncers better (actually not in that order, but you know what I mean)With the car markets in a depressed state at the moment, the price difference between Elises and Exiges is small - you could burn twice that on Elise mods in a year, so take advantage of the low(ish)prices at the mo and get an Exige.I upgraded from a 98R Elise (reasonably standard) to a 190 Exige with “all the bits” for an extra �6K - wouldn’t have made a dent in the mods I wanted to do the EliseP.S. this is not criticising the people who do Modify Elises - cos there are some out there that I would die for, but the costs are pretty high compared to buying an Ecige outright.On the flip side - where the Exige has a much higher level of grip (on it’s Yokos) and an engine that gives it’s best above 5K, there are a lot of times on the road that you will not notice an Exige being a lot quicker than a good Elise. If you get one - you will need to track it ot really appreciate what the car will do