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Honda Element

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  • Contribute something newsworthy. Then be totally ignored.
  • Know how you feel, I got no response to my inquiry on another board about dealer pricing.

    Anyway, what is the advantage of buying a 2004 Element EX if 2003 Element EXs are still around and discounted below invoice? The information on the honda site is not clear.

    Thanks.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Jeffray - The advantage comes when it's time to sell. If you buy a 2003 in December and I buy a 2004 that same week, mine will have a higher resale value despite all else being even.
  • Of course. Let me see if I got the math right. It will cost a bit more today, say $500. If you sell the car in a couple of years, better to get a 2004. I kept our last car 10 years. That is why I am tempted to get a leftover.

    Jeff Ray
  • See discussion about AWD performance during last storm in earlier discussion, circa messages 2837 including picture. I was encouraged by the feedback to go for the 2003 EX AWD.
  • I'm on a company car plan, 2004 will stay eligible for 5 years. 2003 will be elegible for only 4 years. My 1999 CRV is not eligible anymore.
  • wheelz4wheelz4 Posts: 569
    ....think I gotta side with Juice on this one, Varmint (re: Innovations) Most SUV (mini or otherwise) interiors are about as innovative as your basic decades-old station wagon design (with a couple of exceptions). Seats are more or less stationary (ok, a few slide back 'n forth a bit) and the seatbacks fold (or the whole seat folds and tumbles) to accomodate cargo, but that's about it. I think we will see interior innovations creeping into all segements...the big battle (as noted by some higher-ups at Magna and Johnson Controls, for example) will be in vehicle interior design. Honda put a flat floor into the rear of their Civic...hasn't been copied yet, but it does wonders for rear-seat accomodation. Due to intense competition, I don't think you'll see these type of innovations contributing to drastically higher prices...Chrysler has said their new vans will be 15% cheaper than Honda's & Toyota's. And Toyota's Sienna, despite trumping the Odyssey in interior features, for example, is about $2,200 cheaper for their respective base models. Competition and innovation are good things for all of us....hopefully what is happening in minivan's now will creep across the board.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you keep your vehicles for a long time, say, 7 years or more, don't be too concerned about whether it's a 2003 or 2004. 7 years from now the difference in resale will not add up to the difference in new car prices.

    In other words, if you can save a grand or more now, buy the left over 2003. There's also the opportunity cost (or interest) on that money, so you'll be better off taking the better deal now.

    SUV Innovations in the past 3 years:

    * 20" chrome rims
    * more bling-bling
    * huge gaping grilles
    * huge gaping logos
    * faux off roader styling
    * spreewheels, i.e. Spinner rims

    That's about it! :o)

    -juice
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,999
    I drive 'em forever too. The only problem I can see with getting an '03 at this point would be if you got into an accident in the first couple of years of ownership.

    I think there will be a gap in what the insurance company thinks your '03 car is worth vs. a wrecked '04, even if the mileage is the same. Any adjusters out there who could weigh in?

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you can get GAP insurance, to pay for the price of a new replacement if something like that happens.

    -juice
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    I see where you're going here, juice, but so-called "gap" insurance only covers the difference if the amount you owe on the car exceeds the amount the car is worth (i.e. you are "upside-down"). It really has nothing to do with the value of the car itself and won't cover the difference in value between an '03 and an '04. While it won't pay for a replacement, it can get you out of the hole so you have an even playing field when you go back for a newer model.

    Unfortunately, in this day and age, so many people overspend on cars and end up way upside down, especially in the first couple year of payments. A car is such a poor "investment" to begin with, it's too bad that dealers will try to shoehorn people into cars they really can't afford. Oh well, another topic for another board.

    Since the MSRP of the '04 Elements is not going up that much, this may not be a real big deal. Steve raises a legitimate point though. I wonder what insurance estimates are based on? If it's a percentage of MSRP, purchasing an '03 now may actually be a benefit since the discounts are so deep. Pay $18,500 for an '03 that's listed over $20K and maybe you've covered the depreciation already.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Juice - Using the same logic, what has been innovated in mini-vans within the past 3 years?

    The "magic seat" was part of the package with the original Ody back before the 1999 redesign. That feature didn't make a big splash because the vehicle didn't gather much attention. Hey, some Ford SUVs have power folding seats.

    The folding second row is about it as far as unique features go. In my mind that pales in comparison with the plethora of new AWD systems, mid-gates, power-sliding roof panels, origami seating configurations, small truck beds, and other features that have been added to SUVs.

    Sorry, back to our regularly scheduled program.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I stand corrected. In that case forget gap insurance for a Honda, which depreciates slowly. Just avoid those zero down specials.

    The pre-99 Odyssey was not a true minivan. It was a great wagon lacking only a V6.

    The Ford SUV's power folding seats are slow and leave gaps for the cargo, plus lift over is way high.

    Mid-gates are on pickups, and actually I think that segment has progressed more than SUV have.

    The minivan segment was losing steam, but they've really picked up to bring back attention, and I'm guessing they'll succeed in at least maintaining segment share.

    Basically I think you'll find one or two innovations in any given SUV, but I can name about half a dozen on one of the better minivans.

    OK, I'll give the Element 3: suicide style doors, removeable seats (inconvenient, but still enough to mention), and water-resistant interior. Even then the latter two could be made even better.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The 2008 Honda Element will have fold away rear seats and a true hose-out interior.

    My fearless prediction.

    -juice
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    Right on, juice ... I'll add one more thing for the wish list: By '08, I would think more and more cars will be offered with a gas/electric hybrid option. Motor Trend surprised many (including myself) by naming the Prius as car of the year. If Honda can find a way to do it as a relatively inexpensive option on the Element, these things would sell like hotcakes.

    And yes, a "true" hose-out interior would be nice. My dealer specifically told me not to, not only because there's no drain, but also because the subwoofer is right on the floor and it's not exactly waterproof. All the electrical wires are apparently right under the floor also, so any small crack in the floor could be not so good.

    I'd also like to see one small modification to the clamshell tailgate: Do whatever the GM engineers did with the tailgate on the new Envoy. Now that's innovative. Love how it can fold down like a standard tailgate or swing open like a CR-V.

    Chris
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Wagons did that decades ago, but yeah, it's versatile.

    Hybrid: how could I even forget that? I drove the Prius and it impressed the *heck* out of me. Not many cars do that.

    -juice
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    When you talk about "decades ago," all I can think about is 20+ years ago when my only mode of transportation at the time was my bike or my legs. The only innovations I cared about were which baseball cards lasted the longest in the spokes! Ah, the simple life ...
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "The pre-99 Odyssey was not a true minivan. It was a great wagon lacking only a V6."

    That's entirely your opinion. And it's not much different than all the people who consider the Forester a wagon rather than an SUV.

    "The Ford SUV's power folding seats are slow and leave gaps for the cargo, plus lift over is way high."

    By today's standards, the Ody's folding third row is a poor design. But it's still credited as an innovation. The quality of the design is not the issue.

    "Mid-gates are on pickups."

    Full-size Envoy. It's got a power midgate that seals off the back and a retracting roof over the cargo area. In fact, the Model X concept vehicle had similar roof design (without the midgate). The production model just got the rear sunroof. FWIW, most of those "pick-ups" are SUVs with a bed. Ford's Sport Track is a good example.

    The only new innovation unique to the current minivan crop is the fold flat second row. I can't think of anything else that is unique to vans. Even that is just a variation on the folding seats found in every SUV.

    Vans are getting better. No doubt about that. But not as a direct result of new features and innovations. AWD, big engines, luxury content, stability control, and DVD systems are neither new nor unique to vans. At most, they are just reapplying existing features from other vehicles. SUVs are doing the same, just as quickly.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Croxe - Growing up, my family had a wagon with a gate that slid down through the bumper and under the car. Pretty sure that was the Bel Aire.

    My wish list for the Element includes that removeable roof panel I mentioned above. This would require a glass panel that raises and lowers from the tailgate. Also the tailgate should fold down (as it does now), but then slide under the cargo floor like a drawer. Just to get it out of the way when loading/unloading cargo.
  • I was at a Toyota dealer and I told the sales guy that I was also looking at the Element. He said that since the majority of people do not find the E attractive, this will hurt the resale value.

    Think there could be any truth to that?
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