Lotus Eletre review

Category: Electric car

The Eletre is grippy in corners and comfortable at speed but there's lots of road noise at 70mph

Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre interior dashboard
  • Lotus Eletre back seats
  • Lotus Eletre infotainment touchscreen
  • Green Lotus Eletre right driving
  • Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre front detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre headlights detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre alloy wheel detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre charging detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre door mirror camera
  • Green Lotus Eletre kickplate detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear roof detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear badge detail
  • Lotus Eletre interior front seats
  • Lotus Eletre steering wheel
  • Lotus Eletre interior detail
  • Lotus Eletre door mirror screen
  • Lotus Eletre front seats detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre interior dashboard
  • Lotus Eletre back seats
  • Lotus Eletre infotainment touchscreen
  • Green Lotus Eletre right driving
  • Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre front cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering
  • Green Lotus Eletre front detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre headlights detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre alloy wheel detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre charging detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre door mirror camera
  • Green Lotus Eletre kickplate detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear roof detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear detail
  • Green Lotus Eletre rear badge detail
  • Lotus Eletre interior front seats
  • Lotus Eletre steering wheel
  • Lotus Eletre interior detail
  • Lotus Eletre door mirror screen
  • Lotus Eletre front seats detail
What Car?’s ELETRE deals
New car deals
Target Price from £90,805
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £85,000

Introduction

What Car? says...

Whether it’s Betamax, Blockbuster or another brand that doesn’t begin with a B, we can all think of companies that ran into trouble after failing to move with the times. The Lotus Eletre is designed to protect its maker from the same fate.

Lotus is best known for little lightweight sports cars of course, and the Eletre is definitely not one of those – it's an electric SUV that tips the scales at around 2.5 tonnes.

Yet, sports cars sell in minuscule numbers while SUVs dominate the car market, so it's not hard to see why the Lotus line-up is being diversified. And for the first time in years, the company has money to spend because it's now owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely (which also owns Volvo).

Is the Lotus Eletre any good? Well, in this review we’ll be answering that question. Plus, we’ll tell you how we rate it against high-performance electric SUV rivals including the Audi SQ8 e-tron and Porsche Macan Electric plus some petrol-engined alternatives, including the Aston Martin DBX and Porsche Cayenne.

Overview

The Eletre offers the best interior of any Lotus to date – by a huge margin – plus there’s loads of grip in corners and it’s a comfortable high-speed cruiser. Unfortunately, you have to put up with a lot of road noise and the ride is uncomfortable around town.

  • Supple and controlled high-speed ride
  • Composed handling
  • Appealing interior
  • Too much road noise on the motorway
  • Overly firm in town
  • Glitchy infotainment system
New car deals
Target Price from £90,805
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £85,000

Our Pick

OurPicks
Lotus Eletre 450kW 112kWh 5dr Auto review
What Car? Target Price
: £90,805
Get the best price
See the full range

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

There are three versions of the Lotus Eletre, with the standard car and the Eletre S both producing 603bhp, and the range-topping Eletre R upping power to a scarcely believable 905bhp.

We drove the S and it’s undoubtedly fast, covering the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 4.5 seconds. That said, when you ask for a burst of speed, it doesn’t pin you back in your seat with the same ferocity as a similarly-priced Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo 4S or a less expensive Tesla Model Y Performance.

Instead, you’re more likely to be impressed by the sheer relentlessness of the Eletre’s acceleration, with the rate at which it builds speed showing no sign of tailing off, even when we pushed the car hard at our private test track.

The Eletre also turns in to bends sharply and resists body lean well (particularly when you switch from Tour to Sport mode), but it doesn’t offer the sort of playful, rear-biased feel you get with an Aston Martin DBX 707 or Porsche Macan Electric. Instead, it grips hard, but ultimately starts to slide from the front end, making the handling feel more reminiscent of the Audi SQ8 e-tron.

Fortunately, the Eletre is more comfortable than the SQ8 e-tron on motorways, where it soaks up imperfections and undulations without ever getting floaty.

It’s just a shame the ride rather falls apart at low speed, with urban bumps and potholes causing abrupt body movements that mean you’re often jostled in your seat. Indeed, all the Eletre’s key rivals are better at dealing with imperfections.

Lotus ELETRE image
Skip the showroom and find out more online

The sense of calm is further undermined by the excessive road noise the Eletre generates at higher speeds. If you need to speak to other occupants, you’ll find yourself raising your voice.

Whichever Eletre you go for, you get a 109kWh (usable capacity) battery, which is enough for an official range of up to 373 miles in the Eletre and Eletre S, while the R manages 310 miles.

For comparison, the Macan 4 Electric officially offers 380 miles, the Macan Turbo Electric is said to manage 367 miles and the SQ8 e-tron manages just 284 miles.

A maximum charging speed of 350kW means the Eletre's battery can go from 10-80% capacity in as little as 20 minutes.

Driving overview

Strengths Strong performance; comfortable at speed

Weaknesses Too much road noise; you’re jostled in town

Green Lotus Eletre rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Eletre's interior is unlike anything else we’ve seen from Lotus – and we mean that as a compliment. Construction seems rock solid and everything is bespoke.

Okay, the silver plastic air vent at the base of the centre console lets the side down a bit, but the other materials are very appealing, with most surfaces swathed in Alcantara, and various switches made from metal and operating with precision.

Similarly, the huge 15.1in infotainment touchscreen is of suitably high resolution for a car of this price. And while it’s a shame there are no physical buttons (the iDrive system in the BMW iX is easier to use while you're driving) it is highly responsive and its menus are thoughtfully arranged making it a pleasure to use. 

You can also control key systems such as the stereo, climate control and sat-nav via a voice control system that recognises natural speech instead of requiring you to remember specific commands. We found it to be much more reliable than VW’s new ChatGPT voice assistance IDA.

By SUV standards, you don’t sit especially high up in the Eletre, but the driving position is fundamentally good, with everything lining up as it should, a wide range of electric adjustment and the front seats striking a great balance between comfortable and sporty.

Forward visibility impresses, too. And while over-the-shoulder visibility is somewhat restricted, there are numerous driver aids, including parking sensors, a 360-degree camera and a blind-spot monitoring system.

As well as the main infotainment touchscreen, there's a slim digital instrument panel and a head-up display that projects key information, such as the car’s speed, on to the windscreen in front of the driver. Meanwhile, the front passenger gets a small touchscreen for controlling the stereo.

Speaking of the stereo, one of the biggest incentives for stepping up to S trim is that you get a mightily impressive 2,160-watt, 23-speaker KEF sound system as standard (an expensive option on the base car).

The audio quality is properly cinematic, putting most rivals' so-called premium sound systems to shame. Indeed, the 21-speaker Burmester system in the Ferrari Purosangue sounds a touch flat in comparison.

Interior overview

Strengths Feels classy and well built; good driving position

Weaknesses Silver detailing should really be metal at this price point

Green Lotus Eletre interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The Lotus Eletre is more than five metres long and around two metres wide, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it offers lots of interior space.

You won’t feel hemmed in up front, despite the presence of a chunky centre console that features two cupholders and a good-sized storage bin. Plus, even six-footers will find they have plenty of head and leg room to stretch out in the back – even more than you'll find in a Bentley Bentayga.

As standard, you get a three-person rear bench with a backrest that folds flat in a versatile 40/20/40 split. Alternatively, you can specify the reasonably priced Executive Seat Pack, which brings two individually adjustable rear seats that are separated by additional storage and another touchscreen.

At first glance, the Eletre’s boot looks a little shallow, but it’s deceptively large, with a 688-litre capacity, which beats that of the Aston Martin DBX (638 litres) and Audi Q8 e-tron (569 litres), and is only just pipped by the Porsche Cayenne (698 litres).

We managed to fit a whopping 10 carry-on suitcases below its parcel shelf, which is two more than we got in the back of a Q8 e-tron and BMW iX

We managed to fit seven carry-on suitcases in the Eletre’s boot. Or, alternatively, you should have plenty of room for a couple of sets of golf clubs.

The main boot is backed up by a small secondary luggage area beneath the bonnet, with this "frunk" big enough to take the car’s charging cables.

Practicality overview

Strengths Lots of space for four; large boot complemented by frunk

Weaknesses Rear seats don’t fold flat if you specify Executive Seat Pack

Lotus Eletre back seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Lotus Eletre is priced competitively with the Audi SQ8 e-tron and looks reasonably good value against the Porsche Macan Turbo Electric but costs more than a Tesla Model Y Performance.

Like its electric SUV rivals, it should cost less to run than petrol alternatives, especially if you can charge at home overnight, and will attract much less BIK tax if you get one as a company car than any non-electric alternative. You’ll need to budget for hefty tyre and insurance bills, though.

Reliability is hard to assess at this stage, and not just because Lotus has traditionally sold too few cars to feature in the What Car? Reliability Survey. There’s also the fact that the Eletre is built in a new factory in China instead of alongside the company’s sports car’s in Norfolk.

The independent safety experts at Euro NCAP haven’t assessed the crash worthiness of the Eletre yet, but it comes with lots of kit that’s designed to help you avoid an accident in the first place. That includes lane-keeping assistance, driver attention monitoring and systems that can prevent you from driving forward or reversing into the path of another vehicle.

Standard security equipment, meanwhile, includes an alarm that meets the top Category 1 standard of the independent assessors at Thatcham.

In addition, all Eletres come with keyless entry and start (including the option for the car to recognise you via your phone), a powered, hands-free tailgate, four-zone climate control, a premium audio system and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone connectivity.

Costs overview

Strengths Lots of luxury and safety equipment; priced in line with most rivals

Weaknesses A Tesla Model Y gives you more performance for less money; no reliability data


For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Lotus Eletre infotainment touchscreen

FAQs

  • The standard Lotus Eletre and the Eletre S both have a top speed of 160mph, while the flagship Eletre R can hit 165mph. The R is also capable of blasting from 0-62mph in 2.95sec, whereas lesser versions require 4.5sec.

  • While the Eletre and the Eletre S are mechanically identical, the R has an uprated rear motor (hence its superior performance). In addition, the R features stickier, more track-focused tyres, active anti-roll bars to help it corner flatter, and rear-wheel steering for improved agility.

  • While the Lotus Emira sports car is made in Norfolk, as Lotus models traditionally have been, a purpose-built factory in Wuhan, China was constructed for the manufacture of the Emira and the upcoming Lotus Emeya electric saloon.

  • All Eletres let you choose from the following driving modes: Tour (in which the car is at its most comfortable) and Range (for maximum efficiency), plus the self explanatory Off-Road and Sport settings. There’s also an Individual mode, that lets you customise the car to suit your personal tastes, while the Eletre R adds a Track mode.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £90,805
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £85,000
RRP price range £90,805 - £126,305
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)2
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £182 / £253
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £363 / £505
Available colours