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Honda Element



  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    The only way you'll know for sure what it looks like, is to see one in person. Brochures or web images can be very misleading.

  • sowrsowr Posts: 69
    Yeah, well "huh?" kind of sums up the Element really doesn't it?

    For those of you who, like the beautiful people in the Honda commercials, aren't rock climbers a roof problem is a rock feature which resembles a ceiling, it's horizontal and requires both power and finess to successfully negotiate. The one glimpsed in the Honda Element ad is at Cap Rock parking lot, Joshua Tree National Park, just in case any of you are interested in the outdoors.
  • civicwcivicw Posts: 135
    Instead of the Element, Honda should have just sold a special edition CR-V with the water resistant floor and seats. Between the Element and CR-V, the CR-V is a no-brainer for me.
  • Peter116, you have driven both 2wd and 4wd models and stated that there is not much difference.

    A few have posted here that the 4wd feels sluggish at best.

    I have driven the 2wd and can live with the ride and handling but am now curious if there is that much of a significant difference between the 2.

    We love many things about the car and want the 4wd for skylight and possible beach exploring capability.

    I have a refundable deposit on a 4wd ex and am eager to drive it, but if it's a dog the search begins anew.

    The CRV was my pick but now wish there could be more leg room up front after comparing with the E.

    Any other impressions re the 4wd E?

  • atomicsilicon, I too have extensively driven a Pathfinder/QX-4 with the 3.3 engine as your 98 model and I think that the performance is about the same as an automatic Element.

    I just drove a Silver EX 4WD automatic last night and it does not compare to the 2WD 5spd I drove a week or two ago.

    They are two completely different beasts.

     The auto 4wd is sluggish. The 2wd 5spd revs happily through its close ratio gears and chirps the tires in 2nd.

    If any of you who are shopping the Element are concerned about power I recommend the 5spd. It makes a big difference. If you can live without 4wd, even better as far as performance is concerned.
  • I've seen the Element twice now. The first one was a Galapogos Green EX in a show room. It pretty much looked like the photos I'd seen. After looking it over, I pretty much had a neutral feeling about the exterior look, thinking I would need to see it more to get a better feel about it. I decided I probably did not like the Green, nor the two-tone look. At this point I figured if I buy one, it will be the Blue, or Black (a color I've never considered in the past).

    About a week later, I saw a Silver EX on the dealer lot. I was much more impressed with the overall look this time. And much to my surprise, I liked the two-tone look with the Silver. My wife also liked the exterior look much more the second time around. My 21 year old daughter hated the look both times, and maybe even more the second time to see it. Anyway, we looked it over thoroughly and we were able to test drive it.

    Some of my driving impressions. The 4WD, Automatic seemed underpowered. It's probably because I'm used to the Honda Pilot, which definitely has more power and a more solid feel.

    It feels like there's a lot of space between the dashboard and windshield which felt "different". I wasn't bothered by the thicker pillar between the windshield and door, which some people have commented about. When I had to make a tight turn into a tight parking space, I didn't have a good feel for where the Element was in relation to the cars on either side. I think this is probably just not being used to driving the Element. I think with time, the Element would probably feel very manuverable and easy to park.

    My wife also did a short test drive and she felt it drove ok. She thought she would have difficulty with sight lines, but didn't think so after driving it.

    My wife and daughter were very bothered by the difficulty in exiting from the backseats because of the suicide doors. My wife also didn't like the pop open back windows or the pop open sunroof.

    So, after the test drive I thought it would make a good utility car. My wife was very put off by the suicide doors so she's a bit on the negative side about it. And my daughter who fits the demographic absolutely hates it. So, while it's not totally written off, we're now going to take a much closer look at a Highlander. We'll see what happens.
  • atomicsilicon (message 1533)- When talking about the engine, you state that "it had a really weak engine" & "The Element was far worse than my Pathfinder". Well, the Element has a 4cyl engine with 160hp & 161 lbft of torque. Your Pathfinder has a V6 with 168hp & 196 lbft of torque. Of course the Element is going to be slower. You are also getting far worse gas mileage in the Pathfinder.

    stuartc (message 1540) - "my daughter who fits the demographic absolutely hates it". While your daughter may be in the target age group for this auto, I really don't think she is the target demographic.

    I think Honda is going more for the male population with the Element. I think they did their job correctly if most women hate it. Most women don't care if you can fold down all the seats to sleep in them, they want a motel room. Most women don't want rubber floors, they want plush carpet.

    I am probably more the target demographic. A 28 year old male, mountain biker, beach lover. Muddy biking shoes, no problem. Wet swimsuit, no problem. Wipe it out, done. No vacuuming or shampooing carpet.

    I also think that most women care more about what others think about what they drive than guys do. If there is a chance that their friends won't think their car is cute or luxurious enough, they will be apprehensive about purchasing it. This will chase off many prospective women Element buyers.

    I think the engine is very peppy with 1 or 2 people & no equipment. I test drove a DX 5spd & found it more that adequate. I took it up a long steep hill & could still get it to accelerate in 5th gear. My Saturn (100hp) needs to drop down to 4th just to maintain speed. It's not going to win any stoplight wars. I agree that the engine will probably be pretty bogged down with a full load & climbing a steep grade.

    I'm 6'4" & was VERY impressed with the head room in front. Head room in back was a bit tight for me, due to the elevated seating. Leg room up front could have been better, and I wish the back seats could slide forward to give better storage area in back. Rear leg room is MASSIVE.

    I guess Honda got what they wanted, which is to get this 28 year old male into their showroom. I have never driven a Honda before, thinking all they made was cars for my parents & grandparents (excluding the Civic). I liked the Element! Will I buy one? Not sure yet.
  • After seeing the Element and reading many comments, I think that Honda should come out with a V6 version. This thing only hauls 675 lbs as is! That means it probably couldn't hold 4 guys and their back packs without some serious problems. And for the people wanting the RealTime 4WD option, I would wait for the 5-speed manual version due out June 2003.

    All this being said, I still want one.
  • daveghhdaveghh Posts: 495
    I am 25 and I love the utility aspect of the Element. I had the chance to browse around one at a dealer but I didn't drive it. I assume it is similiar to my 2002 CRV as far as the drivig experience is concerned. If I didn't have this new CRV I would have seriously considered the E! I am waiting to see one driving around town!

    Surprisingly I haven't seen many 2003 Accords on the road even thought they are selling well.
  • ropedartropedart Posts: 163
    For some entertainment, witness the beginnings of America's love hate relationship with the Element at MSN Auto review site for the public. The reviews are suspect because they may be dealer plants or just hate mail. See Consumer Ratings and Reviews at the bottom.
    For some laughs go to the the Aztek reviews.
  • I'm wondering if anyone knows if the 2 wheel drive, automatic transmission Element can be purchased with a limited slip differential?
    I had a 1984 Toyota Tercel 4wd wagon with a stick shift (5 speed with a 6th speed granny gear when in 4 wheel drive mode/ extra low). That vehicle had about 80 horsepower. I got over 40 miles per gallon on the highway on a stretch to Las Vegas, Nevada. Now then the Element has about twice the horsepower of my old Tercel, and I doubt the Element is tremendously heavier. I haven't driven one yet, but wonder if "underpowered" is a concept used by speed demons only, or if the vehicle is really a slug.
    I drove a Nissan Murano several days ago; plenty of power, and nicely detailed. Much more moola, however.
  • rerenov8rrerenov8r Posts: 380
    Honda generally has not offered factory limited slip differentials.

    For FWD performance applications there are several aftermarket suppliers, from Cuzco, Quaife, Nizmo and Kaaz. Their units start around $6-800 and are popular with "Sport-Compact Drag" folks.
  • Thanks re limited slip. Pricey units it appears, especially if installation must be added. Was hoping for a reasonable alternative to 4 wheel drive which would assist traction, keep weight down and gas mileage up...
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Thos FWD LSDs are more for performance on-road rather than in off-road/slippery road conditions. A friend had his LSD equipped Spec V out in the snow and the LSD did nothing to help him.

  • I'm a single male, 41, who recently chose 4WD EX- second place was a caravan so I'm not the demographic but it is perfect for my trips to the back country. It does need lots of add-ons which are way overpriced, but if the dealer won't give you a break see post #1469 and order on-line. I can't believe Honda pressed a spot for foglights in the cladding then didn't put 'em in- I had to pay $350 for them including labor, only cuz it looks dumb without them. Keyless cost another $160 with labor- doesn't every car have keyless entry? And passenger armrest is a must, or the cargo drivers armrest which is wide enough for passenger to lean on- another $93 if you put it on yourself. What were they thinking with that sunroof? Put it in the front!! so add the shadescreen to prevent rear passenger's heads from broiling in the sun, another $62 or make your own. I paid MSRP, after going to 5 different dealers there wasn't much wiggle room (none had 2WD or 5 sp, two didn't have any E's on lot). I avoided the "holiday special" extended warranty despite BIG push.

    Now the good stuff: Great ride, not as good as Pilot or Odyssey but I love the face space. I thought it was stupid to put the A pillers out like that, but wind noise wasn't bad and the visibility was great- the blind spot is different, but not in a bad area, it is very easy to see when turning. I took a four hour trip with a friend and although she hated the looks (still beats a mini van, she tells me) we both agreed that the head room and face room made it a very relaxed and comfortable ride, we felt we had just spent the afternoon having a pleasant conversation in the living room. Kind of like a big conversion van, but without the gas guzzling or boat steering. In her vibe, we'd have felt beaten down after 300 miles battling semis with our faces pressed against the windshield, so I guess it's not wasted space as I thought it would be. I'm 6'2 so I like the head room, but the door armrest is too far forward for me, and I'm not overly impressed with the comfort of the seat. I don't understand the comparisons to CRV- either you want extra space in the back, or you don't. Compare the CRV to a Santa Fe or a pathfinder or any number of fold-down models, but if you need room for dirty stuff what else can you get that drives like a car and gets 24 MPG??? Oh yeah, a mini-van, I forgot...
  • I just want to express my appreciation to everyone on this discussion for some really well thought-out responses to this Element issue. I had a deposit on a black and green 2wd EX automatic, and drove it three times with different friends. I just couldn't fall in love with the color (which seems vaguely military and almost ominous) and the automatic, which, though fairly peppy, would be the first automatic this 47yo guy has ever owned.
    Finally I have decided to wait for a 2wd manual, in almost any color BUT green, and see how that feels. In Palo Alto the Elements are getting snapped up as soon as they arrive, and I was really letting EBF (Element Buyer Frenzy) get to me, as well as the good 3.43 finance rate through the end of the year. For a whole day I was experiencing buyer's remorse before I had even bought the damn thing. My lesson: definitely wait for what feels exactly right for me, and pass on the thrill of being one of the first to own that wacky new Element. My 1985 Civic Wagon (bless that great little car) will have to survive a few more thousand beyond her 204K.

    Anyway it is a pleasure to read people's well considered responses to what is still a pretty exciting automotive option.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Saw a green Element on the road yesterday. There's no dealer near my town, so I know it wasn't a test driver. It was following a small sedan and passed me going in the other direction. From a distance, all I could see was the roof (over the sedan), but it was unmistakable. I think Jimlewis is correct about the green color looking like army standard issue, but I still like it. =)
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    I haven't noticed too much of activity on the local lots.

    This concept has much less controversial looks and probably would appeal to the right demographic.;f=58;t=000220
  • I too have noticed a definitive higher level of discussion in this forum. Is it perhaps that those who are truly interested in this vehicle are original and thoughtful folks?

    Anyway, I myself was on the verge on replacing my well-loved Passat Wagon '99 after a test drive, but the Honda dealership's (Brown Charlottesville, Virginia) unreasonable stance to trade-ins and accessories made me walk away for the time being.

    I personally think the Green is way best for it, contrary to several posts here. The silver is so conventional as it does not suit its personality. But as we all know, colors are one of the most subjective attributes, so luckily it's offered in several colors.

    My biggest reservation is the fuel economy. I know this will shock some people, but I would have preferred a little less power for an over 30 mpg highway rating. Of course, a modern common-rail turbo diesel would be even nicer (more power, less consumption), particularly since the added torque would fit this trucklet beautifully, but that's just a pipe dream of mine in the U.S.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Vadp - That Ford Faction concept looks like a carbon copy of the HR-V. Not a bad little buggy, though.
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