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Honda Element



  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Just when I think I've heard it all...

    News to me!

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    My teens would love it if it had AWD and auto and an interior that didn't scratch when you sneezed at it.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Footie - Check your tires for flat spots.

    Side Curtain Airbags

    For the past year, Honda has repeated that they will be offering side curtain airbags (with roll-over inflation), ABS, and other features on all trim levels of their SUVs. The goal is to have this equipment standard by the calendar year 2007.

    The second gen Element isn't due until the model year 2008. That means the last year (2007) would have to include this equipment. It's not likely that they would make such an extensive change in the very last year of production.

    On a five year design cycle, a Honda will most frequently get a "refresh" for the 4th year. For example, it is expected that the CR-V will get the SE trim this year. If the Element follows suit, it will get this equipment for the 2006 model.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Traction control would manage the front axle of a FWD model cost effectively. I 2nd the suggestion to inspect your tires closely.

    FYI, one owner reported a fire similar to the ones occuring on CR-Vs after an oil change:

    If you DIY just make sure to clean the area up and make sure you don't double-gasket. Save the receipts, too, no matter who changes the oil.

  • gerrbgerrb Posts: 1
    We are not SUV type poeple, but the car seems perfect for my husband who takes our big hairy dog swimming at the lake everyday AND I'm so tired of cleaning out the car after those swimfests. The Element's "waterproofing" was the reason I suggested it to him. The quirkiness of the Element's design has me intrigued. We drove one today and it was better than we expected. So we would appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly on the Element - it would really help in making the decision. PS...we have to endure CT. winters. Thanks!
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Good solution for your intended useage.

    Get the automatic transmission and AWD. The manual is tiresome and the FWD is slippery on the highway.

    The inside does clean up easily but be prepared for the interior plastics to scratch quickly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you do get another fabric/carpet interior, I just got a bunch of dog hair out using tape.

    It's a trick I learned watching someone prep a car for delivery (PDI). They use the sticky side of the tape to pick up lint from the seats, so they look spotless (hairless?).

    I tried it on the spot where my dog sits, which is between my two kids in the back seat, and it worked quite well. You'd never know I had a dog.

    If it's a big dog you might need a lot of tape!

  • We are not SUV folks either, but wanted an AWD vehicle after buying a house in northwestern Connecticut. The Element had the best balance of function, features and performance with decent fuel economy, all at a reasonable it has personality. Besides, it's a Honda. It should provide years of trouble free ownership. We bought our EX 5-speed last November and love it. 10,000 miles so far and no problems. Only one road trip so N. Carolina, plus numerous trips to NYC. Not a Lexus, but comfortable and quiet for what it is. The engine has plenty of power and doesn't require a lot of shifting to cruise at highway speeds. We've joined the Element cult!
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Don't forget that road trip to NH. =)
  • deepdropdeepdrop Posts: 89
    Thanks for the info on side curtain airbags everyone. Our salesperson is new and not well informed. Although I think side curtains are really really important, my mom loves the element and will buy one. When they come out with side curtains she will probably trade in for a new one and take a beating on the depreciation.
  • deepdropdeepdrop Posts: 89
    Our element will be used for camping by my 76 year old mom. If anyone has done much camping in an element, I would love to hear any tips, modifications, add ons, accessories that have been useful.
    I've read through many of the forums and it seems lots of people are camping in elements. I just read that the battery is tiny (I haven't looked under the hood at all yet). Is there room for a larger one or additional battery? It seems it would run down with music playing, hot pot plugged into the 12volt, etc.
    Thanks very much for any ideas people are willing to share.
  • I'm a Honda fan. However, I went from a 2000 Isuzu Trooper to a 2004 Honda Element. Overall it is a great vehicle and fun to drive. I really wanted a manual transmission; however, they are extremely hard to come by, so I settled for the automatic. Only a few complaints: too much road noise, doors sound like a tin can when closing, and not enough inside enclosed storage compartments. If this vehichle had a V6 with a little more insulation, it would be totally awesome (although it would have cost $2-4,000 more). Despite the above, it has been lots of fun.
  • deepdropdeepdrop Posts: 89
    OK, I know that the Element does not have side curtains in "04. I know they WILL have them by the end of calendar year 2006. I know that Honda is very secretive about features of upcoming model year cars.
    Is it POSSIBLE that the "05 Element will have side curtain airbags as an option. I have looked for rumors and have found none, but that may just mean that Honda is really good at keeping secrets. i really think side curtains are important and I would hate to buy the car this month and find out that I could get side curtains in August.
    I guess the flip side, is that if I wait until August to find out, and they do not offer side curtains, I will probably have to buy a 2005 model which would be more expensive than what I can buy right now. Does this seem logical?
    Thanks for any input. I think I need a shove to help me decide whether to buy it now or wait a month.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    "but that may just mean that Honda is really good at keeping secrets"

    They are.

    I would wait for the 05's. If you aren't too picky about color you should still be able to find a 04 somewhere. Honda releases the new models around August-September so it won't be much longer. And even if you have to buy a 05 the price difference shouldn't be that significant. And at least you won't have to kick yourself in the rear later.
  • otis12otis12 Posts: 169
    I've read in the CR-V forum that a 5-speed auto tranny is coming in MY '05. Anyone know if the Element will also get the 5-speed auto tranny? Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That would be a nice improvement. It ought to quiet it down a bit, too, I bet 5th is taller than the current 4th. Mileage might improve also.

  • pitbouvpitbouv Posts: 7
    I am considering an Element for my next vehicle and have a question regarding the ground clearance. I live in a flood-prone area and used to have a wonderful 2002 Kia Sportage 4WD with oversized tires that would go through water-filled streets like a champ. Sadly, she was totaled last year and they no longer make the Sportage. I like the Element a lot, but wonder if anyone can tell me what size tires are the largest that can fit onto an Element? I figure a lift kit is out since it is a unibody construction. Has anyone gone through sitting water with an Element? I am considering the EX AWD with auto. Thanks!
    Pitbouv in Florida
  • parkyparky Posts: 20
    First, we love our element. The past weekend the engine light came on at 10K miles, and at the same time the shifter locked in place. The light coded a faulty ECM(main computer). It was replaced, and then another engine light code for Barametric pressure. That sensor was replaced.
    The auto shifter lock was due to a throttle body service bulletin. You can pop the platic cover off the shifting housing and use your ignition key to engage your shifter temporarily.
    Also, my wife crash tested our Element four weeks prior at about 35mph head on into a guardrail, so maybe this was a delayed reation to the crash for the ECM. She is fine!
    By the way I am a rolling billboard for Honda on the weekends. I trailer a 2004 CRF250X dirtbike too! Great SUV, and best dirt bike I have owned in 26 years and 8 bikes later.
    Hope some of this info helps!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Tires are already bigger than the CR-V it is based on, so I'm not sure you could stretch it a lot further.

    Taller springs would help, if any are made, because with an indy suspension that does raise the entire vehicle.

    However - keep in mind you have an alloy block, that's not going to like dipping in a cold puddle when it's hot. You're just asking for trouble.

  • I am a newbie considering/browsing for a new or lightly used Element. I'm pretty much set on a manual transmission, AWD configuration.

    What surprises me is that stick-shift models seem to be so rare in the marketplace. On a vehicle with such a big fun factor, I would expect to see more.

    1. Do I just not know the secret handshake, or do people just not know how to drive anymore?

    2. As a purchasing strategy, will dealers compete on a special-order purchase the same as they might when they are selling out of inventory? I am willing to be patient.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think it's 93% now, the percentage of automatics out there. Even then most of the 7% of manuals are in sports cars.

    You can sometimes get a better price if you order and wait, because the dealer isn't paying interest on that car for it to be in inventory.

  • hal9001hal9001 Posts: 28
    It may have something to do with the fact that traffic has gotten so bad across the U.S. With the introduction of metered freeway on-ramps
    I gave up on manual trannys in the late 80's. It's just too much of a hassle slogging through city traffic nowadays.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Also, automatics are sooooo much better today. Many have as many ratios and now they're managed by the ECU instead of being vacuum operated. Add manual controls and easier resale, and that's why manuals are rare.

  • sebski21sebski21 Posts: 10
    Being a Honda fan too I'm setisfied with me E at 4,500 miles. The average mileage at 25.5mpg. I also went from Isuzu (98 Rodeo manual) to E automatic (my wife's request). I agree with you about the road noise and I'm going to replace my good year tires once they wears up (I realize that will not help a lot but still). The doors sounds like a tin can but the lack of insulation is what this E is all about! And I think $2-4,000 more for V6 and extra will make this car for no-Y generation no more.
    PS. I have noises coming from tailgate hinges (as explained by Honda service), anybody?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Acura is supposed to build an RDX on this platform, who knows, it might offer that V6. But it'll cost a bunch more.

    Tires can help a lot, FWIW. My Forester dropped a few decibels when I went from Dueler A/T tires to a quiet touring tire.

  • ztorinztorin Posts: 48
    I have similar tailgate noises. Kind of a "tinny" sounding rattle or popping. Sounds kind of like if you drop a bolt onto a piece of sheet metal. Happens over most bumps and during turns. Driving me Crazy!! I can't locate it.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Keep in mind to have the hose-out-ability you gotta give up some carpeting and insulation, things that would get wet and start to stink.

    Can't have it all. A little more road noise is to be expected.

  • sebski21sebski21 Posts: 10
    Yes, this is it! I went to a dealer, they knew the problem, tightened the bolts at the tailgate hinges and this helped... for a day. Sure it's not even a problem but also drives me nuts. I hear it while parking, over bumps at low speed. Has anybody else had/RESOLVED this problem?
  • drive62drive62 Posts: 637
    Does it really have hose out ability? No drain holes, so spray a hose in there and I'd think you'd have puddles. Wipe out is more descriptive, no?
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    The whole hose-out thing is a myth. It "looks like" you could hose it out because there is no carpet, but if you really did it, the water would leak into places it isn't supposed to go, loosen adhesives on the plastic floor, puddle inside and cause other problems.
    Look in the owners manual on cleaning instructions.
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