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Honda Element



  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    Real world insurance results are not controled. Results may simply mean that drivers of certain cars drive more carefully and do not get in as many accidents or less severe accidents therefore it costs the insurance companies less to insure them due to lower claims.

    Crash tests show how cars perform in an identical crash scenario.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Use both sources of info for what they are worth.


    I agree that the real-world sample has to be normalized for the differences in demographics, for example less experienced drivers would tend to get in more accidents.


  • Obviously, I am having trouble making a decision on which new car to choose. I love the New Beetle, but it's got no back seat room and less trunk space, and the repair record is horrendous. I'm intrigued by the Toyota Prius hybrid. It's about the same size as the '03 Camry that I now drive. Then there's the Element.... completely different, but very interesting too, and there's a Honda dealer less than a mile from my house. My Camry has been perfect and has an awesome stereo, with tape AND CD, very important to me. But it's about as exciting as a refrigerator! Any advice from out there in Edmunds land????
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Keep the frig and take a trip to Peru or somewhere :-)


    A dealer within walking/biking distance is a big plus (depending on what they sell I suppose).


    Steve, Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sounds like you are imagining yourself and what you will drive. That's great, but once the honeymoon is over, which one will best meet your needs?


    Beetle was trendy but not practical, and the buzz has worn off long ago.


    Element is spunky and will always be more practical.


    Prius has wait lists and markups, though it is very nice at MSRP.


    Camry bores you so skip that.


    Drive a few and see which ones are fun to drive, yet practical enough to meet your day to day needs.


  • I currently own a 1995 Odyssey and intend to purchase an AWD Honda in the next year. I live in a rural area with lots of snow and have a steep driveway so I would like a automobile with AWD. I have studded winter tires on my Ody. but would prefer a more capable winter vehicle. Most of my daily trips are about 15 minutes in length on a highway - but I do travel long trips (2 hrs one way) at least once a month.


    I had planned to buy the Element liking its versatility but was surprised by the low mileage as compared to the Pilot. According to Consumer Reports magazine tests there is only about 1 mpg difference between the Element and the Pilot for highway and city driving. The Pilot is much bigger so if I am going to get bad mileage I might as well go with the larger vehicle.


    Can anyone give me advice regarding the pros and cons of the Element vs. the Pilot and even the CRV. The CRV is my last choice as it is small. There is only my husband and I so far in our family but I want enough space to lug mtn bikes, camping equipment and large items.


    - Brenda Silver

    Nova Scotia
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    You might try to find a 4 cyl version of the Highlander. As long as engine performance isn't a big deal to you. They get decent mileage, have a bit more space than a CR-V, and have a good AWD system. It'll be tricky to find an AWD 4 cyl model, though.


    Given a choice between the 3 you've listed, I'd say Pilot. Great AWD in that vehicle and enormous interior.
  • north1north1 Posts: 11
    I own an E and have driven the Pilot a few times on test. If you have the extra 10k to spend, then purchasing the pilot is the way to go. I get 24 mpg in my AWD EX Element and am extremely happy with its utilitarian setup. It doesn't ride as nice as the pilot but it wasn't designed to compete against larger SUVS. The element actually seems larger on the both and decide.....

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Pilots around here are being discounted now, for $28k they're a great value IMO.


    Of course you could get an Element for under $20k. So there's still a big gap there.


  • I see I need to clarify “medical costs”. The IIHS lists cars in the current model for the costs of medical claims by crash survivors. This is what it costs a person to repair the injuries sustained in crashes.


    The Camry is at 92, or injuries in a Camry crashes average $92 if $100 is the average for all cars. The Element is at 77. It costs 15% less to treat the victims of Element crashes.


    You are correct that driving style has a significant part in the severity of the crashes. A Passat is 79, the wagon variant is only 51. And Hybrids do well: a Prius ( 1st gen) at 65 is almost 90% safer than an Echo, even though the Echo had better crash test results. The Honda Civic Hybrid is 78, the regular civic is 127. The Mazda6 is at 129 despite much press about its safe design. Too much fun to drive?


    But its not all the drivers. And tests are only tests. Check the crash test passenger compartment intrusion measurements; there is not a strong correlation with injury costs.


    What actually happens in the real world is that of all small, reliable, and affordable vehicles, the Elements stands out. Good E!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Too many factors you'd have to normalize against.


    Wagons do better because they tend to have families in there, and parents drive more safely with kids in the car.


    Hybrid owners are very affluent (read: educated).


    I think a good score is a positive, sure, but there may be many reasons why, not the least of which is the manner in which they are driven.


  • Drive safe. I think the Hybrids are safer because they are underpowered, and their drivers are hyper aware of how they are driving- carefully - to get maximum economy.


    Anticipating when you will brake, accelerating slowly- its a concept that may account for the difference since structural changes, for example, between a Civic and a hybrid Civic are minimal.


    As a postscript, the Edmunds "True Cost to Own" shows that after 5 years the E costs about $5,000 less than a Subaru Forester.


    The E is a good choice!
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    We thought we had gotten a honey of a vehicle earlier this year when we found the Element.


    We have a front wheel drive, 5 speed manual EX Element in Galapogos Green.


    We love everything about the E except how it handles in slippery weather.


    It's TERRIBLE!


    We have had nothing but FWD vehicles for the last decade here in New England. They all did great in our winters: Sable Wagon, Plymouth Laser, Toyota Camry and Avalon.


    The Element on the other hand is just awful. We have 11,000 miles on our E since Feb of 2004.


    I was headed east on a major 4 lane a few days ago in very light rain. I stopped on an upward sloping road at a traffic light. Light changed and I accelerated away.


    The E went to the right, not forward!


    Bottom line! The FWD E desparately needs a limited slip differential or something to control its tendency to jerk right when the road conditions are just a bit other than dry.


    We are very, very disappointed with this aspect of the Element and recommend anyone considering purchase in our kind of road conditions to only consider auto/AWD.

  • Have you thought about changing the tires? I know you don't want to replace the tires at only 11,000 miles but some better all-season tread might help your situation. It's worth a shot.
  • Checking the alignment- by an expert- would also be a quick and cheap sugestion. I doubt that is normal or Honda would have had a few comments on it these past 2 years!
  • wet and snowy conditions, the 4WD has been the recommended way to go. I've seen numbers of complaints from people with the 2WD models.


    I am however, without my baby. Ellie had to go into the shop because I couldn't get her out of PARK. Throttle body sensor. Screwed up my gear and my idle.

    I should get it back by friday

    14687 miles and 1 week shy of a year since purchase
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $5k in 5 years? I kinda doubt it in the real world. It's cheaper to buy, but the rest should be similar expect gas, where the Forester would have an advantage.


    Are you comparing FWD to AWD?


  • Check Edmunds' 5 year total “True Cost To Own”


    2004 Elements:

    EX $32,345

    LX $30,160


    2004 Foresters:

    X $36,537

    XS $37,430

    XT Premium $41,675
  • but does that include interest vs paying cash?
  • If you look at Edmund's site you will see the answer for yourself, and a good deal more you should know. You have to make it fit your specific criteria; for example, I didn't finance my last car (cheapest Toyota made) and my wife's Passat had 1.9% financing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That surprises me, I doubt the real world difference would be that significant. I've had my Forester for 7+ years and since I've done the maintenance myself it's been dirt cheap to own.


    Any how, low operating costs for the Element seem very likely.


  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    So, What's the hold up with 2005 models?
  • This is very typical with this model. Same trend as last year. You should see the 2005s on the lots I'm guessing by February. There never is really a big push to get the current year off the lots after christmas...

    I noticed that last year when I bought mine december 23rd and most of them still were quoting me MSRP. There's still going to be alot of 2004s through the spring.

    It's actually not a high demand vehicle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Element has always come out with the new model year in December. I think it's the last Honda to come out each year.


  • yes they do come out with it, but I'm talking when you see them on the lots. They only get a few in because with the old ones there, there is not much room. Even your dealership might have them, but someone else has already bought them by the time you make it over. I didn't really SEE the 2004's last year around suburban DC this time of year.
  • 151ranch151ranch Posts: 109
    I have seen just a few here in Dallas/Ft. Worth, one particularly caught my eye - Orange with no body cladding. I thought I liked the orange a lot, but without the cladding it's a LOT of orange.
  • mamagmamag Posts: 1
    I have my 04 Element EX for a couple of months now & really love the car. (I just turned in my 02 Saab 93 and had an 00 Saab 95 before that!).


    Something that consumers should be aware of - the extreme weight limit noted in the manual. The maximum combined weight limit for cargo AND passengers is just 675 lbs.


    Total trailer weight for towing is 1500 lbs maximum (that includes the trailer weight too).


    I don't really know if that would have deterred me from the purchase - but something to know.

    If a 6 cylinder was available - I would have chosen it instead.


    The Element rides great - stereo is terrific. Just came back from driving from FL to NY (snow & ice - weren't a problem). Pick up was surprisingly good with all the highway merges.


    Small-ish gas tank required more fill-ups tho.


    One of the reasons why I bought the Element was the great versatility (seats up/ carpet.. & easy to clean because of our 2 dogs).


     Honda must realize it's a great car for dog owners - it would be even better if the rear windows would allow the dogs to put their noses outside. Maybe the next version of the Element.


    All in all - a great car. Easy to get in & out. Everyone who rides in it - digs it too!


    Would also like to see: compass & outside thermometer included in future car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Can you open the hatch glass? But that's probably not safe, plus it would rattle.


  • Dear Meez, Strangely enough, I am familiar with all three vehicles. I owned a '98 Beetle TDI, loved the way it drove, the fuel economy. Absolutely hated the maintenence on it. Headlamps went out seven times the first year I owned it, finally, all the dash lights went out (short in the electrical system), it cost plenty to fix. Decided it wasn't worth it. The wife and I have an '03 Prius and we just love it. Yes, it's small be still comfortable for both her and I, back seat passengers are a problem. The newer generation ('04 & '05) are even more fuel efficient. We had the on board computer go out on it but the manufacturer took care of everything on it. I am getting ready to purchase a Honda Element in several months and the reviews I read are mixed. I was going to get the 2WD but it sounds like I might want the 4WD. Also, I read a review in that you may want to look at. Good luck with your decision. G.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    2WD is terrible in slippery conditions of any kind here in Boston. Wet streets, icy roads, snowy lanes ... you name it and the 2WD Element will handle like a sled.


    Also ... the interior plastics are very, very soft. They scratch easily, the undercolor is lighter than the surface and you get irrevocable scratches all over the place, even in every day use.


    Buy carpets for the front, the rear seats and back. The plastic gets dirty quickly and takes a lot of maintenance.
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