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Honda Element



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Consumer Reports rated the Falken ZE 512s as the best H-rated tire in their last review, so I got a set for my Miata and I've been impressed with them. Thing is I'm not sure they come in the Element's tire size.

    Anyone changed tires yet? Perhaps not...

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's cool, did you already pick it up? Go for the green one.

    I still got my referral fee, anyway - my brother picked up a left over 2004 Legacy L/35th yesterday. :-)

    FWIW, if you like wagons, check out the 2005 Legacy 2.5i. 23/30 mpg, PZEV in certain states, even. That was a pretty big improvement, it used to be 21/27 with 3 fewer horses. They "added lightness" so it lost 180 lbs, aluminum hood, hatch, bumper beams front and rear, and roof rails.

    In a strange way these gas prices might be a good thing, talking some sense into more folks.

  • ztorinztorin Posts: 48
    I agree about the gas prices. I really can't understand how I still see so many Hummer's on the road. Their monthly gas bills must double their car payments. Not only the Hummers, but the Navigators, the Armadas, Expeditions, etc, etc... I'll also agree about the slippery Element. I do have the AWD, but it certainly has some "gusto" off the line regardless, before the back tires will kick in, and it doesn't need to be damp. I think it just takes some getting used to. Plus, slow starts off the line will save on gas !! Anything to pinch some pennies this summer.
  • purduealum91purduealum91 Posts: 238
    Would have gotten the green had it been available.. VERY DIFFICULT to find a 5 speed 4WD Element EX with side air bags... Chose Black... Looks good in it. How much did your bro buy the Legacy Wagon for from Fritz?

    Im sure the 2.5 i is more than $20k no? Plus, it has no where near the room the element has.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you can afford a Hummer I doubt gas prices are a big concern. Then again owners slammed it in JD Powers surveys, and it does affect your range.

    The CR-V I test drove could chirp the tires in 2nd gear. The 2.4l has good torque and coupled to short gearing, that happens.

    My bro bought a sedan, under $18k, not bad. And that was with the 6 free oil changes and stuff. He got a silver 5 speed manual. The L/35th has the moonroof, 16" alloys, ABS, AWD, power everything, etc, so it's very well equipped for the price.

    Of course his was a 2004, the 2005 are pricey right now because they are brand new. A wagon would be an alternative to the Element, IMO. The cargo area is not nearly as tall but it is quite long.'s conservatively handsome, not nearly as Sha-zam! as the Element. Different strokes...

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Better yet go to Ask Connor at The Tire Rack right here on rather than directing people away from us! :-)

    tidester, host
  • 151ranch151ranch Posts: 109
    My personal experience with Hondas in Texas is that the front seat passengers will be fine as long as you don't mind the A/C blowing directly at you. As for the E in particular, it has been fairly mild here since we bought ours but I already despise the way my legs get hot in the sun when driving in the afternoon. Also, it isn't easy to cool the back seat once the interior has climbed above 100. Our E is just a commuter vehicle and is always parked in the garage at work so this isn't frequently a problem for us.

    I would also hope they make the E in white, so much easier to cool and keep clean.

    I haven't had any slippage driving wet or gravel roads, at least nothing like my old Accords.

    Everything else about the E is wonderful except for the AC outlets - what is up with that?! None of my accessories will plug in.

    04 Fiji Blue EX-S AWD 5-speed
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I have a white Miata and they actually get dirty easily, stains from leaves, pollen, any little thing shows up.

    I think beige/gold are good, silver, medium tones tend to hide most of it.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    I agree - my white Odyssey is impossible to keep clean and washing/waxing that behemoth is a chore!!

    A white E with those black panels would look pretty dowdy IMHO.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    We just bought a 2004 Odyssey. The white sure looked good on the dealer's lot but we bought the graphite for the same reason you mention above. Cleaning a white vehicle the size of the Odyssey does not seem like a fun job.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Ours is a 2000. When I ordered it, we were all set to go with granite green or canyon stone silver. But when I walked the lot and saw the most recent load of presold units, 8 out 10 units were one of those 2 colors.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    I have seen lots of gray and silver Odysseys but those were really our only choices. Liked the white but didn't want to keep it clean. Liked the red/burgundy but that color only comes with tan interior for 2004. Didn't want gold (tan interior again) or blue (neither the light blueish green or the dark blue appealed to us). So we were left with silver and graphite. We already have a silver 2004 Accord so we went with the graphite. Sure we blend in but then again we have a silver 2004 Accord so obviously being "different" wasn't our objective.
  • schweikbschweikb Posts: 111
    I was considering an Xb largely based on fuel economy, better seats, more attractive upholstery and the standard VSC(vehicle stability control system). Just as I was about 90% sure it would be the Xb I learned that here in NYS there is no way you can get factory or dealer installed cruise control on either the Xa or Xb. I can't see screwing up a new car by having an aftermarket place tear up the dash installing it, and they want $500+. I borrowed a friend's Sentra without cruise to see if I really need it and I do. On the highway it is a royal pain without cruise.
    So at this point I am back to the Element and probably looking at an AWD based on traction comments I've seen in these posts. Anyone have a sense of what the overall mpg is on an EX AWD with automatic?
    Also, any advance word on what might be new on the '05 since I'm already this far along into 2004?

  • hbhawaiihbhawaii Posts: 8
    Wow -- I went through exactly the same process. Toyota is a very frustrating company -- they design a fantastic vehicle like the Xb, but omit cruise control and side air bags even as options! So I've sort of decided on the Element (though the mpg gives me pause).

    I would also be very interested in advance word on changes to the Element for '05.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    FWIW, I had a dealer add cruise to my Forester and you could never tell it wasn't factory. In Subaru's case they had cut-outs and used factory parts.

    But I can't imagine Toyota doesn't have off the self parts that don't fit the Scions. You just found one dealer that wasn't willing to do it.

  • schweikbschweikb Posts: 111
    Not "one" dealer but 4 - they say the factory won't let them "get involved" in cruise control in this region. Two dealers in Westchester County NY, one in Kingston, NY and one in Connecticut (I think Stamford or nearby). One of the guys said that since the Xb is underpowered and has high wind resistance at highway speeds Toyota felt that it would impossible to maintain a steady 65 mph and wanted to avoid a lot of complaints from owners, so they are not offering it. They do or did offer it in the Southeast where the topography is very flat and this is not as much of an issue as in the hilly Northeast.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like an excuse to me...funny one, though.

    Remember Honda's Civic Wagovan? Back in '91 or so that thing had exactly 108hp and managed to get around nicely. Today's HP standards are a lot higher but the Scions are feather light, too.

  • schweikbschweikb Posts: 111
    Call me crazy but after spending hours deciding between a Scion Xb and an Element I stopped by the Toyota dealer today just to look at a Rav4 and now I am close to buying a Highlander 4 cylinder 2WD. I can get the base model with some decent options (color keyed mud guards, daytime running lights, keyless entry, privacy glass, roof rack, cargo tonneau cover) with automatic transmission for $22,180. The standard features include: power windows, power locks, power remote driver and passenger outside mirrors, cruise with controls on wheel, power steering, tilt steering wheel, A/C, interior air filtration, traction control, stability control, front & rear disc brakes, ABS, headlight delay, stereo with CD & cassette with 6 speakers. It is rated EPA City 22, Highway 27 (compared to Element EX AWD auto @21 City and 24 Highway). The engine is the same as in the 04 Camry and has a timing chain (not a belt like Element) and the same 160 hp; torque is 4 ft-lbs more than the Element. The Highlander weighs 58 lbs. less than the Element, so performance should be the same or slightly better. Highlander has 4 cu. ft. greater total cargo capacity, 39.7 cu. ft. behind the second row of seats vs. Element's 26 cu. ft., and can tow up to 3,000 pounds (Element 1,500 lbs.).
    Of course it is very conservatively styled, but I really don't care and kind of like the anonimty it would offer. The best price I can get for an Element EX AWD automatic w/o side airbags is $20,900 (list price $21,640 with $740 discount - 3.4%). The Highlander lists for $25,575 and at its $22,180 sell price this amounts to a $3,395 or 13.3% discount.
    I realize the vehicles are very different, but for me the Highlander might just work and offers a higher level of equipment and finish for $1,280. The powertrain warranty on the Highlander is 5 yr/60K miles vs. 5 yr/36,000 miles on Element. The Highlander obvuiously does not have AWD at this price but I don't think I need it for 2 reasons: 1) The Highlander's front wheel drive with traction control, stability and larger tires (225/70x16) should get me through the normally minimal snow I get in my part of the country: 2) The loss of traction problems with the front wheel drive Element (the main reason I would get AWD on an Element) don't exist with the Highlander. I've checked the Highlander forums and in my test drive in heavy rain there was no evidence of a problem.
    Anyone want to tell me I am crazy or just have bad taste?

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Anyone want to tell me I am crazy or just have bad taste?

    They aren't mutually exclusive attributes! ;-)

    Seriously, you're neither! It sounds like you hadn't settled on your requirements and you may want to spend a little time reassessing your needs. Good luck.

    tidester, host
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    My wife is looking at a Forester X and an Element EX (MT), and I hear that the Element does not get what even the EPA designates.

    What kind of real life gas mileage are folks getting with the Element AWD/MT?

    Also, CR reports that the Forester X is superior in virtually every area: ride, noise, acceleration, visibility. But, they compared the two in AT, not MT. Any observations?
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    We had a 89 Civic wagon back in 97-98. My husband LOOOOOVED that car. It took us from Atlanta to Canada, Atlanta to Ohio, Atlanta to VA, etc. It was our car of choice even though we had a 93 Vigor and a 97 RAV4 to choose from.
  • zenzikorazenzikora Posts: 64
    Hi, I haven't posted here in months, but after 16,500 miles on my '03 Element EX (FWD, MT), I am consistently getting 23-25 mpg depending on how lead-footedly I drive. Also, we had a rather snowy and horrible winter here this year. I work third shift when the plows often don't even bother working, and I must say that even on the stock tires I got to work without much of a problem. Keep in mind that while the EX does not have traction control, it DOES have Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. In other words, if your tires don't grip when they brake, it switches wheels and brakes until they do. This saved me from a rather bad slide one icy night. Just step slowly and gently on the brake and hold and it will stop. As for traction control, I actually prefer a car without it, as it negates what slippage I expect a car to have, thus making it unpredictable for me
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    We have a 2004 EX FWD M/T.

    Overall :

    No major problems, some disappointments.

    Defects :

    One rattle in dash above right center a/c vent. Overhead light bulb emits squeal as it is softened from light to dark after the door is shut.

    Performance :

    Very peppy at all speeds. Geared very low, revs very high at highway speeds. Needs 6th gear or o/d for cruising.

    Very slippery on damp roads in New England. Easily chirps front tires on dry pavement. Otherwise handling is fine for a tall box.

    21.2 mpg around town gas mileage. 24-25 on highway in March, probably better now.

    Interior :

    Gray plastic interior panels scratch very easily. Seat belts for example retracting already have caused marks. Rear cargo area panels should be much, much tougher. Green door trim has nice soft touch but gets dirty easily and is hard to clean. At three years this interior will likely need to be gutted.

    Rear flip seats very heavy and hard to manipulate. Hooks for holding up hard to latch and unlatch.

    Exterior :

    Very tall and hard to wash roof. Plastic panels seem to be holding up very nicely.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Schweikb - Looks like you've done your homework. I can detect no craziness. Just one correction. The Element's engine also uses a chain.
  • purduealum91purduealum91 Posts: 238
    at a Forester X, both vehicles have their pluses and minuses. I used to own a 97 Subaru Outback Sport so I know what I am talking about when I speak about Subarus.
    For me, the Element is a great fit at this point in my life. We will be new home owners and were needing a vehicle that offers a lot of utility. Our other car is a Hyundai Tiburon. Anyways, pluses for the Element include the awesome 270 watt stereo with aux input for my mini ipod, the amount of space, the smooth shifting 5 speed manual tranny, the smooth engine (cant even tell if its idling), the configuration of the interior seats, interior room in general, etc. What the Forester has going for it is better gas milage (Im avg 23 mpg in mixed City/Hwy driving - mind you I only have 1,000 miles on the car), sportier handling, a superior AWD system, standard fog lights, roof rack, exterior temperature gauge, and optional dimming mirror with compass. To me, the Highlander and Forester feel cramped compared to my E. Actually, a lot of cars do. The E's internal surfaces can easily be wiped down should something spill. Cant say that about the Highlander.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bob: that's a good value for the price. HL is far more conventional but it sells well for a reason.

    See? Civic wagons were cult cars. Told ya. ;-)

    zman: fuel costs represent only a small percentage of your total ownership costs. Get the one you like best. Being happy is more important than saving a few bucks here or there in the long-run.

    Having said that, ask yourself if the Element's quirks will wear on you over time. You have to remove the front seat belts to let someone out of the back seat. Will that happen often for you? Are 4 seats enough? Will you benefit from the wipe-down interior?

    In other words, you'll enjoy the honeymoon stage with any new car, but which car will you like better 3 years from now?

    When you answer that, whatever choice you make, I say buy that one.

  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    Last year we test drove a Forester XS and weren't that impressed. It looked great on paper but the engine wasn't as smooth as the Element 2.4 and the clutch engaged way too early. The latter could've just been a defect in the one we test drove. The Forester was solidly built though and it's crash test performance is impressive.

    Back to the Civic wagon for a second ... we gave that car to my sister who didn't take care of it quite as well as we did but it never gave her a problem. We have looked for another one but we can't find one with as much "personality". It's amazing what a little bit of peeling primer can do for a car's character :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That clutch probably just needed an adjustment, I'm at 63k on the original clutch and she's not slipping one bit, and I tow often and drive on light trails on occasion. Original brake rotors, brake pads, almost zero expenses beyond routine maintenance and a 25 mpg lifetime average.

    CR rates the Forester best in class overall, also safest for teenage drivers, and also #1 in their Safety Assessment.

    Element scores well also, so choose the one that best fits your life style.

  • schweikbschweikb Posts: 111
    I am still considering a Highlander or an Element and am very interested in your comments on the E's interior. On one of my test drives I told the salesman who was in the passenger seat that I was concerned that my dog might scratch the hard plastic and also the softer mini-grid textured material on the front doors under the windows and along the lower part of the dash. He said "no - it's very durable", then reached over and with his finger nail ran over the material near the glove box. It left a nice clearly visible scratch that he tried to spit on and rub off. But it stayed there - he was embarrassed I could tell.
    The pup is a 16 pound Doxie and isn't really badly behaved but when he jumps up to look out the window he rests on the trim just under the window or on the arm rest. I now have a 98 Trooper and a 2002 Altima - both cars have a smoother softer material in those places (Altima is velour, the Trooper is a padded vinyl) and after years there are no marks. I really wonder about the tough looking Element interior - is it really long-term durable or mostly for show?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    We have two scratches in the green soft dash stuff from our kids getting in the front seat with their school back packs and pushing the pack between them and the dash to the floor. The scratches don't come out.

    The bags now go in the back on the urethane floor, which appears to be the strongest material inside the car.

    I can't imagine having a dog in an E. I think it could be very hard on a soft, scratch prone interior like this one. At least Honda could have spec'd the plastics to have the same color interior as the surface so that scratches weren't highlighted.
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