Used Lotus Exige Coupe 2000 - 2002 review

Category: Sports car

It's not everyone's cup of tea, but on B-roads, the Exige is a blast

Used Lotus Exige Coupe 2000 - 2002
  • Used Lotus Exige Coupe 2000 - 2002
  • Used Lotus Exige Coupe 2000 - 2002
Used Lotus Exige Coupe 2000 - 2002 review
Star rating
Author Avatar
Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Lotus Exige coupe like?

Despite what Lotus will tell you to the contrary, this is much more of a weekend plaything than an everyday car. It's a hard-topped two-seater, and the low doors mean getting in and out requires gymnastic levels of flexibility.

However, once you finally have established yourself behind the wheel, it's fantastic fun. The bucket seats hold you firmly in place, although some fuller-bodied people may find them too narrow.


It's not everyone's cup of tea, but on B-roads, the Exige is a blast

  • The Exige provides outstanding grip and a sensational drive
  • It's impractical for everyday motoring and noisy at speed

On the motorway, the experience is noisy and unpleasant, but everywhere else it's noisy and brilliant. Find a twisty back road and the Exige will put a smile on your face; grip and cornering ability are sensational. The turn-in and steering feedback are what driving are all about.

This car's not the place for a romantic chat; despite the claustrophobic nature of the cabin, you'll struggle to hear yourself or the audio system. Storage space is virtually non-existent.

Ownership cost

What used Lotus Exige coupe will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Lotus Exige coupe?

Lotus is a proper sports car maker with a proud history, and you don't buy one expecting the same running costs as a top-selling hatchback. The numbers built, coupled with their desirability, mean the Exige holds its value well.

That said, owning one is not as scary a proposition as you might expect. The car is rated in the maximum group 20 for insurance, but consider limited mileage policies to keep the premium down if it's not your everyday transport.

You'll struggle to get too close to the official fuel economy of 30mpg, but the mid-20s isn't bad for a car that can hit 60mph in under five seconds.

The biggest cost will come from servicing, which is a specialist job. It's needed every 6000 miles. Try not to crash, either; parts are pricey and insurance firms often end up writing an Exige off rather than getting it fixed.

Our recommendations

Which used Lotus Exige coupe should I buy?

The first Exige went on sale in summer 2000, and 583 were sold before production ended in spring 2001. The car was powered by a 177bhp version of Rover's 1.8-litre K-series engine. It's extremely noisy in the cabin and, despite basic air-con, it gets pretty hot.

As a result, we recommend the Exige S2 (Series Two), which went on sale in 2004, and was a much bigger seller. With a slightly softer body design, it was meant to be a more usable road car. Powered by a 1.8-litre Toyota engine, it delivers 189bhp.

The Touring Pack adds leather and carpets, while Super Touring gives a slightly different interior, airbags and even a cupholder. The Sports Pack means racing seats and a roll bar, and Super Sports equals adjustable dampers and lightweight alloy wheels. In 2005, came the limited-edition Sport Exige 240R, which offered 243bhp. A year later, Lotus launched the 218bhp Exige S.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Lotus Exige coupe?