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Suzuki Grand Vitara vs Subaru Forester vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Jeep Liberty vs Ford Escape vs Saturn

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Comments

  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    There are only 2 of us, plus a Golden Retriever. I've only had the back seat in the Wrangler once since I bought it. I've ridden in the back jump seat of the Taco twice, and never on a trip. So for me, the lower payload isn't a big deal.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    But others, who see that huge cargo area might well be tempted to (over)load it to the gills.

    BTW, we also have a Golden, named Annie. She will turn 7 this August, and is still a 95 pound puppie.

    Bob
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    My Golden is a male named Winger who is 10. He is finally settling down a bit and only acts like a puppy when we are hiking. He still chases squirrels, though he's getting slower.

    I do know what you are saying about people overloading a vehicle with a huge cargo area. I often see overloaded minivans quickly loosing speed when trying to go up some of the steeper portions of my daily commute. And with the ability to fold the seats totally out of the way or remove them easily, it would be very tempting.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    With a wrangler there just is no space to put things so if the capacity is low it's hard to exceed it due to space constraints. I think that they should require manufacturers to have a space/payload rating over a certain amount. ie: If you have a lot of space, the vehicle must be able to carry X amount of weight.

    -mike
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's odd, because the CR-V's payload is 800 and it has smaller 15" wheels and tires. If you look at the load rating of the Element's tires, they're much higher.

    So it must be the suspension or the chassis. Or maybe the fact that it's curb weight is higher.

    If you get one, wait for one with side air bags. It fared very poorly without them in that IIHS test.

    -juice
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Similar to the old days where 4x2 models had a greater towing capacity than 4x4 models, the extra weight will decrease the NVWR from the GVWR. (Net v. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

    -mike
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    If manufacturers put suitable payload capacity to the volume, their fleet's fuel economy would go south - you would need a bigger engine to haul the extra weight and so on. I think that has something to do with it.

    I'm in no hurry to buy (in fact, I can't yet) so I'll wait for the side airbags, if I do decide to go that route. I'll still test drive the Forester XT and the WRX again (and while I'm at it, the Outback) before I buy.

    The funny thing about last weekend was that my hubby wanted to look at the Liberty Renegade. Since I knew he really liked them, I suggested we look at the Element first (otherwise I figured we wouldn't make it to the Honda dealership). After we test drove the Element I suggested that we go to the Jeep dealer, and he said he didn't want to bother. While the Liberty is not completely out of the running, I think it has taken a back seat at the moment.

    Now if all of you could just be your normal helpful selves and give me tomorrow's winning lottery numbers, I'd be able to get this whole thing over with!
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Juice says, "It's odd, because the CR-V's payload is 800 and it has smaller 15" wheels and tires. If you look at the load rating of the Element's tires, they're much higher. So it must be the suspension or the chassis. Or maybe the fact that it's curb weight is higher."

    Nope. It's the crushing burden of ugliness all Elements are forced to lug around.

    - jb
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    age 13, calls the Element, "Uglyment"!! I got a good kick out of that one..... My wife could not believe Honda would make something so "Horrific"
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Laughs now, but Honda has the last laugh. Sales are phenomenal, way above projections. Even combined CR-V/Element sales are above projections. It's a certified hit for Honda.

    Compare that to the disaster that was a certain Pontiac we often mention. Nothing could help that, not an emergency face-lift, not even being the top sponsor of the #1 show back then (Survivor).

    -juice
  • xccoachlouxccoachlou Posts: 245
    Around here, there are a few on the road. I remember when they first came out, they were selling for over sticker.

    Now, they are being advertised and there are Elements on dealer lots, dare I say, languishing?
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    Funny thing is, it's middle-aged folks who are buying them; just like the PT Cruiser.

    Bob
  • subewannabesubewannabe Posts: 403
    it just occurred to me that my 16 foot white water canoe has a payload capacity of 1100 lbs with 6" of waterline. its a royalex 75 pound bathtub, not a sleek kevlar boat, but the payload to weight ratio is impressive. so far, ive gotten two adults , two kids, a monstrous black labrador and gear for an overnite camp out loaded in a stable configuration. maybe honda should offer a promotion for the element which includes a free canoe!
    Mark
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,936
    I used to have a 16' ABS canoes like that too. My record was getting 17 gingerly balanced people in it before sending it to the bottom :-). My wife still has a royalex solo boat - that stuff is tough. Too bad you can't get car panels made out of it like some semi cabs are.

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm talking national monthly sales, of course YMMV and certain regions are hotter than others. They've been on sale since last year, and just now dealers are starting to actually have models in stock.

    Mark: if so, they could say they've added 1100 lbs of payload, but only if you use the canoe!

    -juice
  • bessbess Posts: 972
    With the exception of the Passport and Insight, the Element is the worse selling car/suv that Honda has. only 28,000 sold this year so far puts it pretty far down on the list. About the same as the PT Cruiser and Buick Rendenvous sales.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    Whether the Element is or is not the worst selling Honda is irrelevant. What's important is: Is it meeting the sales goals that Honda set out for the car? That's the only way you can judge it to be a success or not.

    The Dodge Viper is probably the worst selling Dodge. Does that mean it's a failure? If the Element brings in new or different customers to Honda, then that's not such a bad thing, IMO.

    Bob
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I don't know about sales numbers, but I've been surprised how many I've seen around here so soon after release. There are not many at the dealers, and they are all still marked up quite high without anyone dealing much.
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,221
    "If the Element brings in new or different customers to Honda, then that's not such a bad thing, IMO."

    That is a good thing. Only problem is that it is not bringing in new or different people.

    Joe 40-something seems to be their biggest Element customer. At least around here anyway.

    Makes you wonder who's going to buy the Scions, doesn't it?
  • ballisticballistic Posts: 1,687
    Bob says, "Is it meeting the sales goals that Honda set out for the car? That's the only way you can judge it to be a success or not."

    Agreed, but did they have to go SO far out of their way to make it look that way? The functions it aims to perform could not have been achieved with less-noxious shape, primer-colored fenders, and so forth? I forget the name, but Toyota is releasing a vehicle that looks much like the Element. I hope against hope that both of these get soundly rejected in the marketplace, so these and other manufacturers aren't encouraged to produce more of the genre.

    I realize that style is very much a matter of personal taste, and I'd never claim to have any better basis to evaluate than anybody else, but a small handful of vehicles just seem to be genuinely obnoxious - the Aztek, the Chev Avalanche, the Element, the badly-overdone corrugated side cladding on many recent Pontiacs...even the widely-criticized AMC Pacer was a visual tour de force compared to any of these. Car designers shouldn't intentionally uglify their vehicles just to separate them from the crowd. There are better, and much more creative, ways.

    jb
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,724
    Here we disagree. I like the looks of the Element.

    Also, keep in mind the Element was originally designed to attract college-age folks, not you and me. Funny thing is, I see more middle-aged people buying them than I do 20-somethings.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It is selling to an older demographic, but they are not cannibalized sales, they are additional sales. Honda is happy, I'm sure.

    -juice
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,221
    "It is selling to an older demographic, but they are not cannibalized sales, they are additional sales. Honda is happy, I'm sure."

    I don't know about that. CR-V sales have slowed down a good bit and I think the Element is one good reason why. Looks like joe 40-something could be trading his older CR-V, Civic, or Accord in for something a little more hip. Or at least that's what he thinks he's doing.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I'm not sure that "hip" has a great deal to do with it. I think that many of the 40 and 50 something (even 60 something) crowd realize how practical the Element's interior is. At least, that's how this 50 year old feels - I can camp, commute, transport a soaking wet dog, go to the beach for a day and don't have to worry about cleaning up the carpet or vacuuming dog hair out of the seats. If I need to transport sage brush cleared from the back yard to the dump, I can do it easily. It just makes sense for what I want. Exterior styling has very little to do with it.

    And that's why I think they will sell more Elements to the older crowd than they will to the younger crowd. They really do care about driving what is considered cool.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the real reason is that it's not really a good multi-passenger hauler, so it appeals to empty-nesters.

    Think about it. For a family of four, the driver has to undo his seat belt every time he drops someone off. What a pain.

    It's a much better "2 seater, 4 in a pinch". If you look at it that way, you're not using the back seat routinely and the inconvenience of having to remove your seat belt isn't a big deal.

    baggs: sales figures I saw had combined CR-V + Element way above CR-V's alone.

    -juice
  • baggs32baggs32 Posts: 3,221
    "sales figures I saw had combined CR-V + Element way above CR-V's alone."

    You're right if you go by YTD sales. Monthly sales have varied though.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Juice - good point about the doors. It would be inconvenient to keep opening the front doors to let kids off. It didn't even occur to me, since I will rarely have a 3rd or 4th person with us.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    must all be in California I would guess?? I have only seen a handful in the large NW city I live in.. This Element is plain ugly and will be a fad in passing. Most sales of vehicles when newly introduced sell well. Come back in 2 years when the hoopla is over and you won't be able to give the "uglyment" away!!! LOL!
  • xccoachlouxccoachlou Posts: 245
    Honda Element 6,982 in May 2003 and 28,931 year to date.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Resale value doesn't really enter into my computations - with the number of miles I put on a vehicle, it won't have much worth when I go to sell it. So I don't care if it has lousy resale value.

    And pretty isn't all that it is cracked up to be. As I've said before, my Taco has a pretty interior (the reason I let my other half talk me into it), but it is the most uncomfortable vehicle I've ever owned. I won't make the mistake of buying just pretty again!
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