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In-depth reviews

Lotus Europa coupe (2006-2010)

"It feels just as exciting to drive as the sportier Elise, although it is not quite as raw. But don't expect a smooth ride, the Europa is still firm, while inside, the small cabin feels cramped and lacks the luxuries associated with a true GT."

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Amazing performance
  • Very involving driving experience
  • Highly exclusive

Cons

  • High running costs
  • Lots of cabin noise
  • Cramped, uncomfortable cabin

The Europa is Lotus' interpretation of a Grand Tourer. Powered by a Vauxhall-sourced 2.0-litre engine, it feels just as exciting to drive as the sportier Elise, although it is not quite as raw. But don't expect a smooth ride, the Europa is still firm, while inside, the small cabin feels cramped and lacks the luxuries associated with a true GT. Weighing a mere 995kg, 0-60mph takes only 5.6 seconds and handling is precise as ever, body control is fantastic, too. The Europa does lack storage space though, combine this with its poor efficiency and high running costs and the £27,000 starting price seems a lot to pay compared to more accomplished rivals like the the Porsche Cayman.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Costly servicing charges, high insurance and poor residuals means that owning and running an Europa can become costly

Considering is incredible performance the Europa's 30mpg fuel economy is quite reasonable, but high insurance costs, poor residual value and expensive maintenance costs mean that the day-to-day costs of owning an Europa quickly start adding up

Engines, drive & performance

Impressive straight-line speed and excellent handling means that the Europa is always great fun to drive

The Euopa's Vauxhall-sourced 2.0-litre petrol engine comes available with two different power outputs. The standard model produces 200bhp and takes 6.1 seconds to go from 0-62mph, while the SE version manages 225bhp and goes from 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds. And like other Lotus' the Europa has the handling to match its performance. Levels of grip are simply incredible while steering is just about as precise as it gets. All round a truly thrilling and enjoyable car to drive.

Interior & comfort

With a serious lack of refinement, a hard ride and a cramped cabin, Lotus' Europa is a long way of achieving the GT levels of comfort that it claims

Lotus might claim that its Europa is a GT, but don't let this fool you. The ride is as firm as ever, while inside cabin space is almost non existant. The seats hard, too while wind and road noise can be deafening at times.

Practicality & boot space

A small, cramped cabin and poor levels of storage space are far from the Europa's strong points

Inside, the Europa feels cramped and awkward. There is a distinct lack of storage compartments, too and although the boot is actually 40-litres bigger than in the Elise, it is still tiny and can only just manage one large suitcase.

Reliability & safety

Lotus has done an excellent job improving its reliability record in recent years and the Europa is another step in the right direction

Lotus has done an excellent job improving its reliability record in recent years and the Europa is another step in the right direction. Despite a lightweight frame, the Europa is made from good quality materials and the 2.0-litre Vauxhall sourced engine should be equally trustworthy. Lotus interiors tend to show wear and tear quite easily as they're built to be light rather than indestructible. The mechanical components should be quite reliable and the engine, even if driven hard, isn't particularly stressed as it was designed to lug a much heavier car. It should be dependable.

Price, value for money & options

Compared to rival GT's the Europa lacks the luxury, refinement and space of its rivals, but you'll never have a problem standing out

Starting from £29,000, the Europa is a Grand Tourer like no other, the ride is firm and crashy, while the cabin is cramped. What the Europa does offer though, is a unique car that looks nothing like else on the road and also delivers exceptional performance. But ultimately poor residuals and high running costs mean that in most instances, similarly priced alternatives offer a more appealing package.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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