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Honda Element



  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    A writer with a national magazine is writing an article on 8 cars that are under $20K for families on a budget or as a 2nd or 3rd car. He is looking for parents with young children who have recently purchased or are planning to purchase any one of the following vehicles: VW Jetta the new “Value Edition”, Chevy Cobalt (with SAB), Mitsubishi Galant, Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, Ford Focus Wagon, Honda Element, Kia Sorento or Dodge Caravan. The writer would like to know if they like it, dislike it, what are the family-style features and what kind of deal did you get on the car? If you fit what the writer is looking for, please email your responses to by May 13, 2005.


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  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Try Ikea, they have very good foam mattress in twin ($49) and double $99) sizes, and they roll up pretty tight. They both come with sewn on covers, so they are ready to use. It's foam specifically designed for beds - not too soft or too hard. These will beat a Thermarest for comfort, and because they are relatively thin (in the cheapest version) don't weigh too much. This assumes you won't be backpacking with your mattress!
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    When I bought my CR-V I checked out the parts dept. and they had lots of special products for body care, including products specifically for Element CR-V plastic bumpers and body panels.
  • dweiserdweiser Posts: 288
    I named it Watson from Sherlock Holmes' "ELEMENTary My Dear Watson". It's an AWD EX, auto. I'll be 60 this August and I really like this vehicle. Please, no snickering but I traded in a 2003 Nissan Murano SL with 9,500 miles on it. I liked the Murano very much, more luxury, etc, but I really like this boxy thing. I have owned three Hondas in my life and they were all pretty much bullet-proof. Hope one built in OH is too.
  • believebelieve Posts: 74
    Snicker? What for? My wife and I just gave up a 2003 Odyssey. I'd do it again in
    a heartbeat. We love this Element. The Odyssey was boring. Great for hauling
    friends and family for vacation and dinner etc etc. We just love the Element.
    I'll be turning 55 next month and this car does make you feel younger! ;)
    We have owned several Hondas since 1977. Not one ever had to go to the shop
    for anything but oil changes (I did most of them).
    Did I say we love our element? :shades:
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    I really think it's pretty interesting that a company with Honda's knowledge/resources could so misunderstand a target market for its own vehicle.
    Clearly they wanted to believe that the young adults such as those in the pictures in the brochure would buy and then progress through the Honda line as they got older. But one would think somewhere in the gazillion focus groups they probably conducted that they would have discovered that they could sell even more of 'em to the young at heart (who BTW also happen to have a bit of disposable $$$). I don't have much doubt that their less than inclusive marketing approach may have denied them more sales than it has gotten them. They really should have tried to "broaden their base" as the politicos say.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Honda actual target was identified as something like a 22 YO unemployed college student/recent grad. But they knew that those people can't buy new cars.

    Now if they directly targeted 55+, empty nesters it wouldn't sell. Today's empty nesters are pretty vain and would never buy anything directly targeted at them. They buy products that make them look and feel young.

    IMHO, Honda knew that older folks would buy Elements. Same with Scion - how many college kids buy Xb's?
  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    Well, it's only MO, but I can't give Honda that much credit for reverse psychology in their marketing approach. While I guess Honda could be different, most companies go right at the demographic they want, which (again IMO) is why so much advertising today reeks of pained attempts to be young and hip. Car companies love to develop appealing entry level models to nurture buyers up through their product line, and I think Honda was going for a somewhat similar (not unemployed, but out of school and working) market that VW reached with the Jetta and its ad campaign.

    I'd agree that boomers are less amenable to the obvious sell, but I'm questioning Honda's failure to broaden their approach across most demographics, not simply their failure to target 50+ empty nesters, who I think buy the vehicle for its excellent practicality and value (gotta think of retirement), not out of any desire to necessarily act young. When you get right down to it, the only demographic that the car is really unsuitable for is those with a couple of growing kids, who will buy a minivan. I think Subaru does this sort of age-neutral, active lifestyle marketing very well, and you really can't tell who they're aiming at. Sorry to belabor this point, but I Iove what Honda tried to do with the actual Element vehicle, but their marketing--to the extent they pursued it-- has always kind of bugged me.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    IIRC, Honda stated "unemployed".

    I didn't mean that Honda directly targeted empty nesters but they probably knew that most of the buyers were not going to be their target market. But the important thing for Honda is that the average buyer of the Element is 36 YO - much younger than Accord buyers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Jetta sold primarily to young women.

    Scion's demographics are pretty young, at least compared to Toyota.

    36 for the Element is not bad, most mid-size cars have median ages in the 40s, so they're succeeding in bringing in younger buyers. Oddly enough it seems to be one extreme or the other, i.e. very young or AARP members. Probably due to the suicide-style doors not appealing to 35-50 year olds with kids.

    Subaru uses a lot of niche marketing. They were pretty bold to use Martina in Forester ads, for instance. And they co-market with LL Bean a lot. They seem to have the college professor/bird watcher/fly fisherman demographic.

  • phily99phily99 Posts: 8
    Just bought an '05 Element LX. Asked for AWD & Stick no other options and a color that closely matched all the plastic (black or silver). You'd think I'd asked for the moon but they finally found one in a neighboring state. This old guy, 61, loves it! Great price, more fun to drive than my 1962 VW bus, very roomy, although not as roomy as the gas guzzling Chevy Tahoe that I traded, but still adequate. The rear seats fold up great but I removed them, very easy, don't need them, but do need the room. My son, 32 years old was ready to buy a Scion but after driving my LX box is converted. He'd go for the louder colors, keep the seats, throw in a better sound system etc, I'm sure. The point is, this vehicle is very flexible. It will appeal to a wide cross section of buyers. Young, old, boomers, X's & Y's. Cheap first car, great 2nd car, good start up family car (although no more than 2 kids and a couple of dogs) and I don't see the problem with the doors, they're excellent for rear access, especially for those poor mothers that have to go through the car seat routine all the time. Ah for the good old days when I hauled 11 kids to a soccer game in the back of an astro. Honda is realizing the wide appeal and I'd look for more variations in the future, both in options and marketing campaigns. Even my wife finally! left her '05 Chrysler 300 to take it for a ride and after she got her clutch foot working again (like riding a bike you never forget) she loved it, although not as much as her 300, which is a good thing.
  • goatruckusgoatruckus Posts: 4
    Does anyone have the cargo organizer? If so, could you please pass along the measurements for width, lenth and height.

    Also, are you happy with your purchase? Is it quick and easy to collapse?
  • phily99phily99 Posts: 8
    Just purch '05 element with stick. Love this transmission. Shifts very smooth and fun to drive. Only problem is the engine is too quiet. I'm used to shifting with the engine noise. Have to use the tach or turn the radio down. Question - does anyone know where I can find a graph with the torque curve for this V Tech? I do some hauling and this would help time my shifting. Thanks !
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The Element's engine is the same as the one used in the 2003-present Accord. Here's the torque curve supplied by Honda. Note this is torque at the flywheel, not the tires.
  • phily99phily99 Posts: 8
    Varmint - Thanks for Torque Curve info! Great low end torque. Thought I felt it but weights I haul vary, so wasn't sure.
  • daft_punkdaft_punk Posts: 6
    That is the question.

    I've a 2005 Element here. Anyone know at what mileage I should get my first oil change ?

    I drive a combo of city-highway-country and thought I should change it at 3000 miles. However, the dealer told me to wait until 5000, as does the manual. I normally would change it on the early side, yet the car uses break-in oil, so changing it early may not be a good idear.

    Wadda' you guys think ?

    The daft one
  • owenpowenp Posts: 1
    I have a rattle noise around the windshield / dash area that has had four attempts to fix - with no results. The last repair included replacing the A pillars.
    Is this related to the '03 windshield design class action? Any advise on fixing this problem?

  • tcarpentertcarpenter Posts: 3
    The AWD Element is the perfect car except that the sunroof is in the wrong freaking place!!!! What were they thinking. Can you put an aftermarket up front??
    Any idea if the next version will fix this??? :mad: :mad: :cry: :confuse:
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    The AWD Element is the perfect car except that the sunroof is in the wrong freaking place!!!!

    The sunroof was placed in back to be able to change in and out of a wet suit while standing up. With the rear tinted windows and the seats folded up, it's a perfect changing room.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If you want conventional, get a CR-V. :P

  • philly3philly3 Posts: 5
    Nothing in manual about early oil change - however my dealer offers FREE oil change & filter at first 3500 mi. on elements. Can't hurt and can't pass up a freebe.

    Sunroof location is worthless except for putting on my wetsuit, if I ever get one. I'd rather have integrity of a solid roof. Had no choice as this is standard item on 4WD's. I'm guessing, but moving the sunroof to a usefull forward location would probably compromise roof strength over the doors (no pillar remember) which is needed in the event of a roll-over.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    But the CR-V has one in that location and it meets all the same standards...

    Perhaps the Element is shorter? Is the A-pillar closer to the B-pillar? Maybe they thought anything between those would just be too small.

    I do recall them stating a large concern with rigidity given the suicide door opening below the B-pillar. That is an important joint, probably the weak spot in the structure, so they might not be able to remove it for a large moonroof.

  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    Interesting comments. FWIW, I never thought of the Element as having a "sunroof" at all--as opposed to having one in the "wrong" place. Honda calls the opening a skylight, and it's placement is consistent with the overall design and goals of the vehicle. In addition to allowing people to stand up in that location, the placement is mainly designed to permit long objects to protrude through the roof, so it's placement in the cargo area is appropriate. In addition, those who want to hit the rack in the Element probably will have their heads at that end and use the opening both for the view and the ventilation.

    I guess Honda should consider a "real" sunroof in the front for those who want one, with the extra $$$ it would cost, and assuming the structure permits it. But if I had my choice of one or the other, IMO the opening that's there now "fits" with the vehicle.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The original concept (Model X) had not just a moonroof, but a sliding panel which opened in that place. If you've seen the sliding roof on the Envoy XUV, you've got the general idea. When the concept was translated into a production vehicle, they had to go with a more conventional design.

    If you really want a traditional moonroof, get one installed. I believe it would have to be one that lifts up and over the top of the roof (rather than sliding into the roof), but it can be done. I've seen pics of an E with 3 openings up top.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    Of course the reason for the free oil change is to get you started on the 3500 mile habit so you will be back getting more oil changes at 7000 miles and on from there.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Go for it, we have ASC moonroofs on both our Forester and Legacy, one manual pop-up the other powered. They do make the ones that go up and over.

    The limitation would be the B-pillar - I would not let them cut it at any costs due to the wide door opening in that location. So it might have to be a small one.

    Imagine the ventilation you could get with all the windows and both moonroofs open, it would be almost like a convertible. :shades:

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    You said:

    The limitation would be the B-pillar - I would not let them cut it at any costs due to the wide door opening in that location. So it might have to be a small one.

    That brings to mind the early reports on the Element that indicate that B pillar area is heavily reinforced to provide adequate side impact resistance in a crash; the suicide door design apparently calls for a different approach than traditional doors. I don't know how much that reinforcement continues into, or is dependent on, the roof. This could be another reason why the Element doesn't have a traditional moonroof in a traditional location.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My thinking exactly.

  • lumbarlumbar Posts: 421
    FWIW: aftermarket sunroof

    link title

    The link will work; otherwise I have no clue how to insert the title.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    To include text in your link include the "anchor tag." It works like this:

    <a href="the actual link goes here in quotes">the desired text goes here!</a>

    which might be typed like this in your case:

    <a href="">Lumbar's Magical Link</a>

    which would look like this in the published version:

    Lumbar's Magical Link

    Try it!

    tidester, host
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