The 23-year-old Briton, backed by the Racing Steps Foundation, first joined the squad for GP3 in 2011, finishing a close second in the championship behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
He then stayed with the team to graduate to GP2 this year and was the series' top rookie, taking two wins on the way to fifth in the standings.
Team boss Frederic Vasseur has no doubt that Calado will be a title contender.
"After an exceptional first year which was part of his continuity from GP3, James is a Lotus GP driver for the third consecutive year," said Vasseur.
"This is a project that fits perfectly with the company, one of the missions being to assist drivers in climbing the motorsport ladder.
"In 2012, James had several achievements in GP2 and with the support of his environment, which allows us to work together harmoniously and confidently, we approach 2013 with one clear objective: to be champions."
Calado also believes he will be even stronger in 2013.
"In terms of speed, we showed in 2012 that we were right up there with pole positions and a couple of wins," he said.
"Now I know the car, the tyres, and the team, I'm expecting to be fast and to win as many races as possible."
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