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Honda Element

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  • hal9001hal9001 Posts: 28
    Hi everyone....I'm curious about your snow/ice winter experience with the OEM tires (Goodyear Wrangler HP on my EX). I live in Hopkins Minnesota and will soon be spending my first winter here with my new E and would like to know what to expect. BTW, it's an AWD auto and I just got 22 mpg in mostly city driving.
  • drive62drive62 Posts: 637
    Didn't think so. I wouldn't doubt salespeople use that as a selling point. And I bet someone has hosed theres out.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    You cannot blindly believe what car salespeople tell you. Try having a salesperson point to where in the owners manual using a hose is suggested.
    You cannot hose out the interior unless you do not care what damage it causes. So, technically, you CAN hose it out just like you *CAN* house out the interior of a Camry.
    However, the water will get into and pool in the spare tire tub, rear heating vents, electrical components and so forth. The vehicle was not designed to be hosed out. You can use wet mops, rags, sponges, squeegee etc.. It is much easier to clean up spills than carpet, but just don't hose it out or pour buckets of water in there.
    Hosing out the interior is an urban legend perpetuated by automotive journalists who made comments in their reviews without fact-checking first.
  • lalagimplalagimp Posts: 61
    :p

    yeah they strictly recommend that you swab it down, not hose it out.
    I leave my carpet mats down most of the time anyway
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I said that but realize you're better off wiping it down with a wet rag.

    Still can't do that in most cars, though.

    -juice
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,621
    Only a fool would attempt to hose out an Element or any other car. For one thing, there aren't any drain holes. Ther are also electricals under the dash that could get wet.

    I serously doubt any salesman would tell someone that...ah...nevermind, I'm sure some probably have!
  • I think the whole "just hose it out" rumor probably originated from an exaggeration of Honda calling the interior washable.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Might have been from the Model X concept? Was that interior one you could hose out?

    People tend to remember the unique, gee whiz features on concepts that make it to production. Maybe that's why the myth lives on.

    Sorry to have brought it up!

    -juice
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Is an Element a crazy car for a family? Those who have done it - do you wish you had purchased something else?

    Here is my situation - I drive an 4 door Accord EX with leather interior that is a stick. I love the way it drives and it was a real bargain in my book.

    Enter new family dynamic. My wife and I will have an infant child joining us this year. We plan a second within 24 months.

    I have a one lane driveway. My wife does not (willingly) drive a stick. Her car is a Subaru Outback wagon, LL Bean with an automatic.
      
    By leaving the Accord, I would solve 2 problems - wife-friendly-automatic and a car that sits higher to get infants in and out of car seats.

    I have never driven with an infant for any length of time in my Accord, so to be fair, I am not sure if an automatic might be better than a stick for a new father too from a distraction standpoint.

    The Element it is but one option. I like that it is a little lighter and seems to drive a bit more aggressively than larger options. It also does seem to retain a degree of FUN.

    I resist some others more mainstream options like the Odyssey or Toyota Sienna minivan, or Honda Pilot. I just don't see myself driving something that big -- but maybe with kids you need to make concessions. I don't want to get the Element and then be trading it in for a minivan that I should have gotten in the first place.

    The Element has a lot going for it. It has a lot of room for not a lot of money. It has an automatic tranny. Same motor and rough mileage as Accord. Burns regular gets decent mileage. It sits up high. It weights aprox. 3500 pounds instead of 4500 pounds for a minivan - ie better handling and mileage.

    The interior seating materials seem essentially kid proof! The inside flooring is plastic for easy clean outs.

    To some degree, it seems that the easy clean interior would be less stressful for me. I keep my cars VERY clean - something I am sure will change with kids.

    To some degree I could think of an Element more as a TOOL and stress less than with my "fancy" leather clad Accord EX or fancier sport ute like a Pilot or even a Forester.

    Here is what I am looking for - car with automatic tranny, high rear seat height so you can lift kid across into car seat instead of
    stooping into rear.

    This would replace my car. We would keep the Subaru. An Element costs about the same as my Accord did, a bit cheaper. SO I can pick one up for essentially the cost of 2 years of depreciation on my Accord.

    Other options considered:

    The usual 3rd row minivans from Honda and Toyota, a Honda Pilot

    V6 Accord with Automatic (solves tranny issue but not ride height).
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your Outback can be the practical family car, so I think that gives you a little liberty in terms of your choice for a 2nd car.

    Elements are affordable and don't depreciate much, so even if you change your mind, you won't be in trouble, really.

    I say go for it, you only live once.

    -juice
  • "Is an Element a crazy car for a family?"

    I have seen several young families in Elements. The height, interior room, and low-maintenance interior make this an attractive option for couples with young kids.

    "I have never driven with an infant for any length of time in my Accord, so to be fair, I am not sure if an automatic might be better than a stick for a new father too from a distraction standpoint"

    I have had a 2004 Accord EX-L automatic and now a 2004 Accord EX-L manual transmission. I also have a 4 month old son. We bought the automatic Accord (even though we both LOVE manuals) because I was pregnant and we thought it made sense. Come to find out, it doesn't really make that much of a difference because it's hard to reach them in the backseat anyways and if you need to check on them it's better to pull over anyways than to be distracted from the road. Once we realized this we sold our 04 automatic and bought a 04 manual. Love it. We had a 2003 EX-L coupe manual before the 04 EX-L automatic and both of the manuals have way more personality than our automatic did.

    The Accord has an OK amount of room for an infant. However, the stroller does take up a significant portion of the trunk. Since your wife has an Outback wagon you could use it for trips to the store when you plan to buy lots of stuff. And the Accord should be more than adequate if you are taking a short trip and don't need that much luggage.

    "The Element has a lot going for it. It has a lot of room for not a lot of money. It has an automatic tranny. Same motor and rough mileage as Accord. Burns regular gets decent mileage. It sits up high. It weights aprox. 3500 pounds instead of 4500 pounds for a minivan - ie better handling and mileage."

    The gas mileage actually tops out at 26 MPG, maybe even 24 MPG since you will be buying an automatic. The Honda Odyssey gets 18/25. Even though the Element is lighter than the Odyssey, an Odyssey with the 240HP V6 is significantly quicker than the Element and would probably be an easier adjustment coming from a 5-speed Accord.

    "I resist some others more mainstream options like the Odyssey or Toyota Sienna minivan, or Honda Pilot. I just don't see myself driving something that big -- but maybe with kids you need to make concessions. I don't want to get the Element and then be trading it in for a minivan that I should have gotten in the first place."

    At first we thought that a mini-van was too large. After we had the baby and put the stroller, diaper bag, and car seat in we quickly realized a mini-van was not such a bad idea. So we leased the 04 Ody using Honda's attractive lease program of 24/12,000 for $330 p/ month inc. taxes with no money down. This allowed us to keep our Accord and Civic Si while giving us a baby hauler through the period where he requires the most stuff. If you can spare the extra $$$ this may be a viable option. You get to keep your current cars without losing the depreciation (which in most cases will only be a few thousand less than the total of payments for 2 years on the Ody) and you have a back-up vehicle in case one of your primary vehicles is out of commission due to repairs or an accident. It gives you a couple of years to see if you really need a minivan at a minimal expense compared to buying a new SUV or van. If you are looking at a well-equipped Pilot or Sienna the price difference between those and your Accord would probably cover the cost of the Odyssey.

    The V6 Accord would be nice, but again I think you will find the mini-van will be much more convenient during the first few years when you have to haul around everything but the kitchen sink for the baby. Also, with the van if you travel with friends or family there is no need to take 2 vehicles or move the car seat from car to car. And the price I listed above is for a EX with factory DVD so you will have most of the goodies from your Accord + the DVD which could be a life-saver on family trips.
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Thanks for the thoughts juice and anonymousposts. Some good wisdom here.

    Perhaps a minivan is the most pragmatic solution.

    If I just wanted the ride height and did not need to change to an automatic tranny, I am sure an Element with a manual would be fun. Or a Forester XT for that matter!

    For those with experience with young families and the Element, how "kid proof" has the interior proved to be?
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    Many families are annoyed by having to unbuckle their seatbelts and open their front door to allow their kids out of the back seat of the Honda Element.
  • drive62drive62 Posts: 637
    To me the Element is a two door vehicle. I don't think anyone thinks the Saturn Coupe with its extra doors is a four door vehicle. Why the Element? I'd keep this in mind if you are going to be putting kids in and out of the backseat. The CR-V isn't as utilitarian but still will meet most needs. It's interior isn't as fancy as the Accord w/ leather so you may not have to worry as much.
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    I've heard people go both ways on the Element as a 2 door. Some parents I talk to like the control of when their kids go in and out of the back seat. Others find it tedious to have to get out and open the door for backseat passengers to get out.

    As for the CR-V - I also really like that vehicle. The problem for me is I am tall and long legged (6' 4" and 36" inseam). I fit very well in my Honda Accord and the Element. The CR-V is strangely a little tight in the front seat for me.

    I don't think the CR-V or Element have telescoping steering wheels so that limits what you can do to get the wheel out of the way of your legs. For some reason the Element seems better. Maybe because the seat is higher off the floor?

    I think the EPA measurements may indicate the CR-V has more front seat room. But for whatever reason with my tall body, the Element seems to have more.
  • I own a 2003 EX Element with the 270w stereo and I'd like to upgrade the subsystem. I'm thinking about using the stock deck (since my other deck will not fit) and running a 600w amp to a 500w single 12. Has anyone done something like this? If so, how does it sound? I've tried calling the Honda headquarters to find out what the frequency cutoffs and power distributions were but noone knew.

    I also wanted to thank everyone who participates in these discussions. This is the first place I came before buying my Element a year ago and I found everyone's advice very helpful. I love my Element and am convinced that it is the best car available. Period.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I also found the CR-V lacks front leg room. I could not really stretch out my legs like I wanted to. And I'm only 6'.

    Oddly the rear seat has almost too much rear legroom. They could move the front seats about 6" farther back and it would still be comfortable for rear seat passengers.

    I've sat in an Element but haven't driven one or spent enough time in one to tell if it has the same issue.

    -juice
  • I'm 6'4" (34" inseam) and I haven't had any problems with the legroom in the Element. I also sat in the CR-V while shopping around and found it pretty cramped.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Must be roomier, then, if two tall people noticed that.

    -juice
  • 151ranch151ranch Posts: 109
    I have an EX AWD 5-speed with two children, 3 and 4. Quite frankly, I don't think the Element would be much fun with infant seats, and depending on your infant/convertible child seat, it could be hard to get the seats stable when facing backwards. I personally am a carseat freak, and would probably never put an infant in the E because I could not put them in the middle. That's just me.

    I already have many stains on the seats in the E. I have many stains on the seats in our Ford truck. My opinion is that leather is the best way to go. It's actually easier to keep the seats in our Volvo clean because nothing sticks.

    The main drawback of the doors is that the front seatbelts are mounted on the back doors, which means you must not only open the front door, but unbuckle as well.

    Now that my kids are old enough to climb in and buckle themselves, entry/exit is no big deal except when they close the doors in the wrong order!

    Don't get me wrong, I love the E. We feed our cows out of the back, go muddy places, etc. But I might be trading it if Toyota brings the FJ concept out.
  • My husband is 6'6 (38" inseam) and he fit fine in the Element but not-so-fine in the CR-V. Otherwise we might have ended up with a CR-V EX 5-speed.

    Since your wife wants an automatic anyways why not keep your Accord and buy an Odyssey/Element/Sienna/etc as a replacement for your Outback? Unless you need the AWD that is.
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Thanks for all the thoughtful posts! While I got my Accord serviced, I stayed at the dealer and drove all the Honda trucks that fit (i.e. Element, Odyssey and Pilot).

    I must say that although all these trucks had their charms, I did appreciate the handling of my Accord after the test drives.

    At this point I will try the Accord for a while when the child arrives later this year and see if he Accord with a stick is a problem. If it works ok, I may just keep the Accord till we outgrow the Subaru and then get a Pilot or Odyssey. If I have an immediate need for another automatic car, I might consider getting an Element.

    These are my observations after 3 back to back test drives:

    Element – a good around town automatic with good hauling capabilities. A good practical second family car with some fun thrown in.
    Likes:
    - styling
    - rugged and versatile interior
    - good space for driver and passengers
    - great stereo
    - iPod connector
    - Fun
    - Price
    - Lots of useable space for the money
    - Tight turning radius
    - Fun colors – orange and green. I like the black dash best.
    - Automatic is not that bad
    - A relaxed driver

    Dislikes
    - louder engine
    - a little under powered
    - Interior is lower quality than Accord

    Odyssey – a good car for a long trip

    Likes:
    - Huge interior space
    - smooth ride
    - powerful engine
    - flexible interior
    - refined
    - Flexible seating
    - Great car for long trip
    - A car you would keep till it wore out

    Dislikes:
    - A little frumpy
    - Not so easy to park
    - A car I would like to have access to but not drive every day

    Pilot – Awesome truck with power and style but do you want an SUV?
    Likes:
    - great smooth and quiet ride
    - Neat interior details
    - Powerful
    - Great exhaust note under acceleration
    - Flexible interior
    - Not quite as large as Odyssey

    Dislikes:
    - Most expensive
    - SUV image
    - Not bad on gas but not great
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's good to have one AWD vehicle around in case it snows, depending on where you live. Pick vehicles in your fleet that serve different purposes.

    If not, think about it this way - they are redundant.

    I have a Miata and a Forester, perfect complement to each other, serving completely different purposes.

    So if your Outback is a good trip car, the Element might make a good city car. You might even get away with a FWD model since you have an AWD in your fleet. Very cost effective fleet if you ask me.

    The Ody would be a good long distance cruiser, and the Subie would still give you traction in snow and a little more manueverability in town. Perhaps the best combination of all-around utility for your fleet.

    A Pilot/Outback fleet might be a little redundant, both serve similar purposes. If you need to seat 7, the Ody is probably better, cheaper, and more fuel efficient. And you'd have 2 AWD vehicles, which might be overkill.

    In that case a Pilot/Accord fleet would make more sense to me. But I bet you end up putting more miles on the Accord.

    -juice
  • "Pick vehicles in your fleet that serve different purposes."

    That's our philosophy. We currently have:

    2003 Civic Si hatch: It's the commuter of the group. Good power, decent gas mileage, and small.

    2004 Honda Accord EX-L manual: This is the car we drive if one of us is going somewhere with the baby or if we are all three together for a short trip.

    2004 Honda Odyssey: This is our vehicle of choice when we are all together. We use it for trips to the grocery store, longer trips around town, and road trips.

    1994 Lexus LS400: Okay, I'm not really sure what purpose this car serves even though I ask my husband on a daily basis. We've put 10,000 miles on it in 3 years and it's currently in the basement with a very intricate spider web near the exhaust. He says it will become a family hauler when we can flip the car seat to forward-facing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The LS is the car you take the opera. If you went the to the opera. ;-)

    Or the car to cart around your mother-in-law, maybe.

    -juice
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Good thoughts on the combinations of cars at a family's disposal.

    If I am looking for an automatic everyone can drive and ride height for loading children - an Element is a good bet.

    A Subaru Forester in XT trim would be fun, but it seems a shame not to get the XT with a stick. And the XT tricked out is getting into Pilot territory price wise.

    A v6 Accord with an automatic does not give me the ride height but they are a good value and with a 6, it would have more suds than the Element on the highway. Sort of a TL on the cheap.

    Element is a good choice though for fun, price and function.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The XT is a hoot, no doubt, and does mate better to the manual tranny by far. The auto is a 4 speed and has no manual shift controls.

    Prices have come down dramatically from a year ago, so look again if you really liked it. You can get a 2004 starting at about $22k.

    You could always trade in your Outback on a new Outback XT (turbo), that automatic has 5 ratios and manual controls. Pretty fun and practical all-around vehicle. It costs a lot more than the F-XT.

    Element is the bargain of the bunch, no doubt, if it meets your needs.

    -juice
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Prius or Civic hybrid for commuting and whatnot (driven by Mrs. Varmint).

    Element or CR-V for chores, winter driving, and trips with the kids (greyhounds).

    S2000 for 3 season driving. I'd take a Miata if I only fit into one. (I almost bit on a '91 CRX Si last month.)

    I'm very tempted to replace my '99 CR-V with a used (2yr old) Element. That swap would allow me to keep saving for my S2K and still give me an upgrade on my utility vehicle. Used Elements can be had relatively cheap. My CR-V now has 99,000 miles on it. It's at that point where you either sell it, or drive it into the ground.
  • oper-what? :)

    There ain't no such thang out here in the cuntry. Polk County, GA isn't exactly the mecca for fine arts.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Keep it, varm. Let it be your beater. You can throw mulch in it and not feel bad.

    Course you can do that with any Element! LOL

    I don't think my dream fleet would include an Element, because I routinely carry 5 people (2 kids plus the nanny), but I have imagined what it would be like to own the following fleet:

    Green Honda Element (para-military {family} duties)
    Yellow Subaru Baja (for our beach house)
    Orange Scion xB (wife's efficient commuter)

    That's like a freak show in my driveway!

    Can you imagine how much attention that would get? Kids would congregate here after school.

    -juice
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