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Honda Element

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Comments

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The trouble with removable seats is that you need to have somewhere to put them. Honda may figure that the target audience isn't likely to own a garage.

    That said, it would be nice if it were an option. This thing is more van than SUV.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Interesting, never thought of that. The New Beetle manages ultra-cheap bumper basher damage, so there are exceptions.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    interesting to see how the Mini-Cooper does as far bumper testing goes. There's precious little crush space before you encounter the tires. My guess is that it will be very expensive to repair.

    The Element may fair a bit better, in that there is a bit more front and rear overhang.

    Bob
  • ffitzffitz Posts: 13
    How the marketing types are shooting for a very young demographic. I am forty-something and find the Element very interesting and practicle in terms of it's design. I enjoy fishing and have 2 dogs. The suicide doors are practicle in that it really opens space up for carrying things, and the clamshell type rear hatch is also a practicle design and one you see on your high end SUV's (ie. Range Rover, Land Cruiser, etc.) I am very curious to see it in the metal. From what I've been reading, it should be fairly easy on the pockets pricewise. I live in Alaska, so the AWD would be my choice. I am going to give the Element some serious consideration as I will be in the market for an inexpensive SUV.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The clamshell rear gate isn't my favorite. With it open, you have to lean over it to get to the cargo. However, it should work well with dogs. You can open the top half and get at the cargo area without having the puppies jump out and chase all the moose away. =)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I'm not wild about the clamshell rear gate either. Now if the bottom part dropped down to be a ramp—that I would like, a lot.

    Bob
  • subzero206subzero206 Posts: 111
    if it had a 4Runner style rear gate with the power window that i would like a lot =)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That reminds me of Saab's clever idea - a slide out shelf. This is really the best of both worlds. You have shelter from rain, and you don't have to lift things over the bumper, yet you still have plenty of space for crumple zones.

    What about a slide-out shelf that also tilted down as a ramp? Roll your bikes right up instead of lifting them.

    To be honest, Honda doesn't have the same problem Toyota has with older demographics. Civic owners are 8 years younger than Corolla owners.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I know Honda recently stated that they weren't going to enter the pickup market, at least not in the near future. However, at some point in the future I *do* see them offering a pickup. I don't see how they can avoid it, frankly.

    When they do... I bet they pick up (pun intended!) on the styling cues already established by the new Element. Specifically, I see them using the square wheel well cladding.

    BTW, I've seen some early sketches of the Liberty (in the Liberty brochure) in which they also explored that same type of square wheel well cladding.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Interesting...it's pretty hard to be original nowadays. Almost everything has been done before.

    I think an Open Element, with some type of opening mid-gate, would hold them off until a pickup arrived. I think there is plenty of room in the market for a clever Crew Cab, and the Baja isn't quite there yet (too much cladding, no H6, no full functioning mid gate).

    The Pilot platform is another possibility, but the powertrains may not be well suited for a pickup - Honda requires a power steering cooler and an engine oil cooler before they allow any towing whatsoever. Or at least those things would have to be standard on a pickup.

    -juice
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    What after Honda switches its entire lineup to EPS? That is the direction they seem to be heading in near future.

    For a true pickup, Honda will also need to introduce low-gear option. It would help improve towing capabilities as well.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I know Honda was (is?) considering a pickup, and most likely a full-size model with a V8. There had been strong rumors that Honda might use a GM V8 (a horrible thought, I know) because Honda doesn't (yet) offer a production V8 of any sort.

    So Honda can now tip-toe into the truck market with the Element, which, I think, could down the road, be a harbinger of future Honda truck styling. The Element certainly gives Honda a "truck look," which could easily be expanded upon. Think of the Element as to what the original CRV is to the new and much larger Pilot; clearly the strong family resemblance is there.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Honda should use the Isuzu diesel. I believe they already use a few smaller ones in Europe.

    If the Ody 240hp engine needs an oil cooler to tow, that engine doesn't belong in a pickup. The Duramax makes 215% of the torque of an Odyssey engine.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    if Honda enters the pickup market, it will be Tundra-sized, or larger. That being the case, you need a V8 to be considered a player.

    A (clean!) diesel and/or a gas/electric hybrid would also make sense, given Honda's commitment to the environment.

    Bob
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Actually, I would expect something about the size of a Dakota; bigger than the average pick-up, but not quite the hulking monster that the Ram is. The Tundra is actually quite small and compares with the Dakota in terms of size.

    An Element with a pick-up bed would be pretty flimsy. Honda would have to do quite a bit of work to make the structure rigid enough. Same deal with the Ody/Pilot/MDX platform. I'm sure that's why we have the cross-member between the rear "moon roof" and the glass window over the tailgate. The Element needs that structural support.

    If Subaru isn't offering the H6 in the Baja, it may be for the same reasons. They wouldn't want people to mistake to for a "real" pick-up. It's supposed to be a fun truck. The 4 cyl engine will keep away those buyers who expect to do heavy duty work with it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The full size market is hyper competitive, and Nissan will enter the market soon, too.

    GM is Subaru's biggest shareholder, so perhaps they held back the H6. I think it'll eventually get the H6.

    I see the Crew Cab market as wide open. All are trucks except Baja, and that's only a 4 cylinder. It has the car-based crowd all to itself.

    So that market would be easier to crack than the full-size pickup market. Honda just might try. Imagine an Element Crew Cab. I can.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Honda, if they enter the pickup market, not to offer one that can't handle a 4' x8' piece of sheetrock flat on the floor. Heck, the Odyssey (and Tundra) can do that—and a Dakota can't. So, again, I say Tundra-sized (or larger).

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Maybe 5 years from now, or more. Maybe 10.

    Honda sits on the side lines, scopes out the market, measures the competition. Then they come out with what they think is the next big thing. Look at the Odyssey - it only arrived, and I mean successfully, 15 years after Chrysler did it.

    I still don't know. Honda doesn't do body-on-frame any more. They have no appropriate engines, either. Toyota had plenty of trucks before the Tundra arrived.

    -juice
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If you look at the variety of engines Honda makes starting from lawn mowers, power generators, marine, motorcycle to automobile engines (latest of their ventures being Jet engines, yes they have developed an airplane of their own and plan to diversify into that area), from single cylinder engine to, V2, V4, I4, I5, F6, V6, racing V8, V10, etc., turbo charged or not, using OHV, SOHC, DOHC configuration, it would take little for them to deliver engines appropriate for use in trucks. They are simply reluctant to get into that market, may be because they do not have enough resources to carry out the production. They have not had their own diesel engines though, something that has hurt them in selling cars in Europe. For now, they have partnership with Isuzu and hope to have their own diesel ready in a year or two. They may enter the pickup truck market in a few years, but not until 2005, as Tom Elliott pointed out in a statement.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I don't see a Honda pickup until sometime after 2005. I'm sure, if they enter the pickup market, it will be different from anything else on the market. Also, the next premium Acura will have a V8. So that engine, as with the Lexus LS430 V8, will be the natural starting point for a truck engine.

    In any case, they've certainly planted the seed with the new Element...

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Interesting - I hadn't thought of all the other areas where Honda Motor Company ventures. It would still be a big step for them.

    -juice
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I wouldn't expect to see a truck soon. Honda has undergone a rapid (from their perspective) growth spurt in recent years. They've introduced more brand new designs in the past few years, than they did in the last two decades. I suspect they'll need time to get accustomed to the recent changes in production, infrastructure, and changes in the market.

    I'm also betting that the only reason why the Element got voted into production is the fact that it's based on an existing platform. A truck could not be. That means new manufacturing equipment and a dedicated line. That gets expensive. It's not an image car, like the S2K and NSX. Justifying those costs on a mass production scale would be difficult.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I do know they've been actively investigating that market, however. I think it's just a matter of time before they make the jump.

    Bob
  • jimjpsjimjps Posts: 146
    The 2003 Element engine and transmission are the same used in the Honda Stream, which is not avaialble in NA and is the current biggest vehicle based on the new Civic chasis. See the Honda Japanese site and you will see the similarities. I believe the Stream is available in AWD and the chasis and mechanical similarities are closest to that vehicle.
    I was hoping they would import Stream, but they had to SUVize it for the NA market. Honda did a lot of work to keep the floor low and this will really help the utility of this vehicle.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I think Element is a better vehicle for American market than Stream. Also, Stream uses a detuned version (154 HP/139 lb.-ft) of the K20A engine with/without AWD, but Element supposedly will carry 2.4 liter I-4 shared with (American) CRV.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I prefer some of the Accord-based wagons over the Stream. Honda should bring those back.

    Maybe not - Element will be more profitable and will helps with the CAFE average of extremely profitable Odysseys and Pilots.

    -juice
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I second that!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    is Honda's AWD (RT4WD?) answer to the Subaru Outback. I seen pixs of it, and am impressed.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, that's it. Handsome, too.

    There's even another Accord derived wagon, I forget the name.

    -juice
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Yep. Honda called it a tall wagon when it was released, and goes against Outback directly. And it was spotted in Ohio (by Motor Week) about two years ago. Then I thought that it might be another Honda (besides TL) that is exported out of Marysville plant to Japan. BTW, the engine options are identical to American Accord (with or without AWD), but V6 (tweaked to 215 HP) gets 5-speed auto (shared with TL?)

    Juice, there is an Accord wagon too, but offered with a choice of 2.3 liter I-4 SOHC (150 HP/152 lb.-ft, same as American Accord) and 2.3 liter I-4 DOHC (200 HP/165 lb.-ft), with or without AWD.

    Avancier
    Accord Wagon
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