Up Close: Yes! Roadster

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I had a chance to poke around the Yes! Roadster 3.2 Turbo at the Chicago Auto Show yesterday. First up: Get the headlights and taillights in black. One of the two display cars had them in black, but the other had them in silver. Up close, the silver ones’ molded backings look unfinished and almost tacky. Either way, the whole car seems very busy — almost chaotic — with no shortage of creases, louvers and portals. The same could be said of the Lotus Elise, though, so that look might be your sort of thing.

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Climbing in is expectedly tricky. The swing-up doors release with electric buttons, and the narrow seats squeeze you tighter than your Aunt Betsy. The display car was decked out with options, which seemed to temper its severity a bit — the dash and doors are upright but tightly stitched in high-grade leather, and the passenger-side airbag compartment has some upscale paneling. The turn signals and gauges look straight out of a Volkswagen — no surprise, considering the engine also comes from VW.

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The stick shift has short throws, the clutch is heavy and the gas pedal sits close to the brake. Storage accommodations are minimal: There’s no glove compartment, the center console can fit an iPhone at best, and the cargo area under the hood (the engine is in the rear) could maybe fit a small duffel bag. The (optional) navigation system sits just below the (also optional) cupholders, so if you’re having a Coke, good luck seeing your exit. The steering wheel has no logo — strange, seeing as Yes! has one.

The only comparison that springs to mind is the Elise, which I suspect will be cross-shopped with Yes! despite the $30,000 price chasm between the two. You could buy a well-heeled Porsche for that kind of money, and it would probably be an eminently more livable choice, but then you’d be just another Porsche driver. For its novelty — and, um, its insane acceleration — Yes! will probably find its share of takers.

More info and photos of the Yes! Roadster

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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