There was one good way, it seemed to me, to test the worth of the improvements of the recently revised Lotus Europa SE: subject it to a long, fast trip.

When the car was launched in 2006 it was billed as the right choice for Lotus owners who wanted a reasonably refined touring car, still with the great driving values of the Lotus Elise and Exige to which it was closely related.

But the original Europa S fell short of expectations, and was never a match for the mainstream competition.

After deliberation, I decided to tackle what I always think of as the Jim Clark heritage route — from Lotus’s Hethel HQ to Duns, Scotland, where Clark lived. That seemed especially appropriate since it’s 40 years since the great champion died at Hockenheim. Plus, a round trip of 700 miles is just too far for key faults to stay hidden and offered the ideal opportunity to really test the Europa’s mettle.

You can find a summary of the latest improvements in our first drive, but the bottom line is that we arrived back from Scotland, having driven briskly to the Borders and back, in decent physical condition and having returned near enough to 30 mpg for the entire trip.