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Honda Element



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They could combine the two to come up with the perfect small SUV.

    I like the unique styling of the Element, and especially the clam shell rear gate and spare tire location. Plus the price.

    From the CR-V, the higher passenger and payload capacity, and better fuel mileage and ground clearance.

    Not sure which doors, I'd want. Maybe 2 conventional doors on the passenger side, and suicide doors on the driver side.

    I'm telling you, combine these features and it would be ideal.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,602
    I'd keep remembering that my old 2 door '91 integra would not have that problem. I'm sure you probably overloaded the Integra as well.
  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 487
    While you have a point about not buying a vehicle around a couple of annual trips that you might or might not take, the whole appeal of the Element is that it offers the utility of a midsized SUV or small van in a more efficient and better driving package. Unfortunately, this promise is undercut by a very low payload. The vehicle offers adequate power. If Honda could increase the payload and ground clearance, then the Element would live up to its promise.
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    Mmm...I'm not sure I agree entirely. IMO, the appeal of the Element is that it offers some of the utility of a midsized SUV in a package that also has those compromises that its audience can deal with (for the most part). I completely agree that a higher payload and more ground clearance would be nice--provided the rest of the package, including its handling, mpg, and price, stays the same. If they don't, some of the Element's other unique promises fade into the background. Despite Honda's somewhat "aggressive" advertising, I don't think the present Element really promises much that it doesn't deliver, considering its actually shorter than a Civic and doesn't really claim to be a people (as opposed to gear) hauler. It's ground clearance is only slightly more than an inch lower than the CRV--which is a marginal difference in most situations. You can also put hundreds of pounds of stuff into it provided the rear seats are unoccupied, which they likely would be if you had hundreds of pounds of stuff.

    I'm certainly not arguing that this vehicle is everything it could be--few vehicles are--but I guess I think that the more it reaches some type of ideal the likelier that its most endearing qualities--price, handling, size and mileage--will need to be compromised and it will turn into something else that's already available..
  • dslightamdslightam Posts: 12
    I thought maybe that was the case too, but I checked the door of the Integra and its payload is somewhere between 900-960lbs. (I'd go look and see what it is exactly but that'd be all the way in the garage and I'm feeling lazy)

    4 people may be uncomfortable, but its unlikely it'd be overloaded. Maybe even 5!
  • dslightamdslightam Posts: 12
    Very good points. I guess because I've never bought a car that was less then 10 years old before I just expect a new vehicle to be perfect. Most of the time I'll probably choose gear and the dog over people. That'll give me at least 325lbs of leeway. We're doing a 24hr test drive on a Element right now. I'm trying to temper our emotions with rationale, but it's difficult. I even test drove a Forester right before taking the Element home so that maybe it'd give me pause. The Sub is such a better car, but I'll get one of those when I have kids and have to worry more about "highest rated for safety."

    We're going to actually drive it up a mountain today. The only thing the dealer told me was "You're not going to take this to New Mexico or anything, are you?" I said, "Nope." It's funny too because this is not the one we're going to actually buy, if we do. There's a different color (5spd) on the lot that they just got off the truck. It hadn't been through the inspection yet so they had to give us a different one to test. If anyone has any suggestions for the test drive, let me know.

    Some folks mentioned the roof load and roof rack capacity (75lbs) Not being a kayaker (yet), what's the deal with that? Are we better off with a Yakima or Thule rack?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No, I think that's the load capacity for the roof itself, not just for that specific rack. If you add Yakima cross bars, you'd further reduce the available roof payload rating.

    Forester can carry 150 lbs up there, total.

  • Hey, I need help with the oil change question. According to the owner's manual, the first oil change is 10,000miles. I received a reminder from my dealer for an oil change at 3750miles. I told them what it says in the owner's manual, but was told that the manual is the same one for the whole nation, it differs from state to state. Is there anyone out there who lives in Michigan, could you tell me how often do you change oil, and when was your very first oil change. Thanks.
  • I wouldn't worry about taking 4 people and camping stuff on short trips. But....I am puzzled as to why you would want to pile all that stuff in a vehicle as small as the Element. Remember....only 160 bhp and limited interior room. If it were me, I would invite friends, but only if they brought their own car. If you insist on bringing people along for a 4 hour trip each way, think about a larger vehicle....But remember: Gas is now $2.50 per gallon (give or take). The larger the vehicle, the larger the gas bill. I am seriously looking at the Element, but only for myself (mainly) for hunting trips, and possibly for longer trips with my wife. We also have a Prius for gas-saving.

    I like the Element for its adaptability....I can haul small furniture items after taking out the back seats, then even go on longer trips into the Sierra Nevada mountains. My only problem is trying to choose whether or not the AWD would be worth the almost $1,500 extra. (The EX is what I had in mind.). Good luck in your decision.

  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    Just read the manual and see if your driving habits fall under the catagory of "severe" driving conditions. If so, follow the oil change schedule for that.
    The dealer just sends reminders out blindly for the most frequent schedule and naturally wants more oil change revenue.
  • I just purchased a 2005 EX 4WD. It comes with the standard alarm system, but according to the manual it seems that this system only protects the car from being stolen by someone not using the correct key. Doe sit do anything I don't know about?

    My son carries around a lot of expensive music gear. Do you all have any suggestions for me?
  • goofycatgoofycat Posts: 11
    What is the consensis on all-wheel drive vs. 2 WD? I plan to purchase a new Element in early 2006, but have not talked to anyone who owns one. I took my first test drive just yesterday in an automatic tranny 4WD. The vehicle handled well, but I drove only on dry pavement, so I would imagine that the Element's automatic all wheel drive had not kicked in.

    Since I don't plan on any off-roading and I don't live in snow country, what would be the advantages, if any, of plunking out the extra bucks for a 4 WD? Better resale value, better handling, something to allow better wet-road handling just in case......or what? If you all-wheel fans could give me some reasons as to why I should go with the all-wheel drive, I will go that way. Also.....does anyone have any scuttlebutt on any worthwhile changes for the 2006 models?

    Thanks much,

    Barry in California
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    I have never driven a 2WD Element, so take this FWIW, but arguments in favor of the AWD (which, after all, is only part-time when needed):1) stock tires have proven unpopular to say the least, so AWD should help; 2) gas mileage "penalty" is relatively small; 3) cost differential in a buyer's market should be less than MSRP might indicate; 4) resale. The FWD has been critiqued here for its inclement weather handling but, on the other hand, others don't complain about it. For me, the bottom line would be, given the price of the Element anyway, why not? While you may not see a lot of ice and snow, AWD can help in other circumstances too.
  • Lumbar, in what other circumstances, save for off-road, would AWD be advantageous? Another question: how much dealer resistance would I encounter if I were to insist on having them change the original tires to tires of my own choosing.....before driving it off the lot? I would imagine that if it boiled down to selling the car vs. a no-sale, the dealer would change the tires to ones that would fill my individual travel and handling requirements. Having ridden motorcyles for a long time, I know that tires can make a big difference in handling and ride quality.

    Barry in California
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,602
    The dealer may be willing to work with you on getting different tires but I wouldn't expect them for free unless he's making a ton on the sale already.

    You might be better off going right to a tire store and trading in the OEM's on what you want. They might give you something on a trade.

    Good Luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Should help reduce understeer a bit. Usually the front-rear weight balance is a little better, and the tires tend to wear a litle more evenly. Finally, when engine braking, the rear axle chips in so you might experience less nose dive.

  • goofycatgoofycat Posts: 11
    Speaking of nose-dive and handling in general, are Bilsteins (or a comparable shock/strut system) available? Or....are there any other handling aftermarket mods available?...Or, are they just not necessary?

    Barry in California
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd be surprised if there were, unless Civic or RSX parts are somehow interchangeable.

    But I doubt it.

  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
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  • wallementwallement Posts: 17
    I just bought a used 2004 Element EX and love it. Unfortunately, it was missing the Owners Manual which makes it hard to know what great little features I'm missing until I get my hands on a replacement copy.
    Anyway, when I go to exit the vehicle and depress the power door lock button with the door open, the vehicle will not lock, the lock "springs" back up. I'm guessing that is a design feature to keep me from locking myself out....and one I don't like. Or is this a malfunction? Or can I program it to work differently? The remote lock works fine, and the locks work fine if the doors are closed.
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