WHAT IS IT?
It’s not what you might initially think. This is no very early Nineties Lotus, all het up as well as all set to assault an oily British alley. Nope. It’s a late Nineties Kia. Albeit one apparently attempting the same objective.
You’re taking a look at the lesser-spotted Kia Elan. As well as of course, it’s a rebadged Lotus in much the same means a Mazda 2 is currently a rebadged Toyota Yaris.
BUT WHY THE HELL DID THEY DO THAT?
We currently recognize Kia as an ahead assuming, cosmetically cocksure brand name that makes a V6 muscle car (the Stinger GT) as well as an extremely strong electric crossover (the gob-smacking EV6), with a handful of reasonably great looking hatchbacks as well as SUVs gaggled around indulging in the glow of their halo result. These days we recommend Kias without mockery or a wry smile engraved on our face.
But rewind 20 or more years as well as the fact was a lot different. Kias were cheap and nowt else, to be honest, and so the array needed something to make individuals think ‘oh, those people really like making cars’. That ‘something’ entailed acquiring the now inoperative tooling Lotus utilized to make the M100-generation Elan; changed in 1995 by the marvelous Elise, its set and instruction manual headed east where it was pumped out by Kia between 1996 and 1999.
HOW COME I’VE NEVER SEEN ONE?
It was offered just in South Korea and also Japan. As well as around 1,000 were made, paling in contrast to the Lotus Elan’s 3,800 sales. And interestingly it’s really not entirely a badge swapping workout.
Lotus’s after that proprietors, General Motors, had actually refused to share get rid of Kia, while the Oriental authorities demanded the cars and truck have appropriate home-grown input. So in came the instead limp seeming twin-cam 1.8-litre instead of a turbocharged 1.6-litre, the Lotus’s Towering A610-sourced rear lamps went as well as there were numerous changes in the cabin.
But it is, naturally, a featherweight. It was first engraved by Lotus after all. Hence its 1,070 kilos hardly need bountiful power to lend them some athleticism. Although it makes do with a normally aspirated four-cylinder having a mere 149bhp as well as 137lb ft, making it good for a 0-62mph time of 7.4 secs as well as a 137mph full throttle, it displays the best perspective.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
” A strange but undeniably fascinating bit of badge-swapping background”
Really feeling a little woozy seeing an entirely recognisable Lotus not being, y’ know, a Lotus? This may be one of the most bonkers bit of badge-engineering in motoring history. But basing your firm’s very first enthusiast cars and truck on a deft-handling cars, whose production has only ceased since the Elise has gotten here to appropriate it, is no ill step.
The Kia Elan may seem amazingly odd in principle, but the truth is a neat-to-drive, arresting-to-look-at roadster that’ll constantly be a chatting point, even 25 yeas after its conception. All the best locating one …