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Honda Element



  • I've not actually seen an Element in person, but there is one specific thing that makes it "do something different," and that makes me like it: the fact that the interior is all heavy-duty and easy to clean. If you're going to use your SUV/wagon for dirty work of any kind, you don't want carpet, leather and cloth all over the place just waiting to get stained and damaged.

    I love my Pontiac wagon, but that nice carpet on the load floor drives me nuts. I use it to haul around dirty hubcaps often, and I have to be careful to put down old bath towels before loading them in there, or I'll get permanent black brake dust rings in the carpet. With all the plastic and rubber in the Element, I could just chuck hubcaps in there from all directions, and easily sponge off any residue afterwards. If I had $16,000 lying around, which I don't, I would definitely look at an Element.

    -Andrew L
  • scnamescname Posts: 296
    Saw one today. Chevy Astrovan came to mind immediatly. Doesn't look so odd like in pictures at all. Honda should replace those plastic with painted steel fenders.

    If I havn't bot 02V already, I'd pick E just for the suicide doors and tailgate.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I think the plastic gives the Element its unique touch. Not even the Avalanche gives you that much cladding.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    The Element is now on the Honda website. There are a lot of accessories to choose from, both for the interior and the exterior.

    My favorite is the privacy shield:

    Sometimes during finals week, I basically sleep in my car overnight at school since I commute.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Keep them! It's one of the items that make it unique. And they look great, IMO.

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Could be due to load rating of the tires, Honda, once again, trying to keep the numbers well within the threshold.
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Actually, I think the Aztek looked better before they axed all the plastic cladding. It looks more awkward now. Cladding seems to be getting popular as I noticed the new 4-Runner offers it also.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    They're 215/70x16, which are certainly up to the task. That's larger than what the CRV uses.

    The vehicle is heavy, just under 3500 pounds, for the EX AWD automatic. I suspect the suspension components were not upgraded from the lighter CRV.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Bob: I think the trailer brake requirement for anything over 1000 lbs is almost universal, isn't it?

    diploid: I like the Ody too, I just don't necessarily like the idea of paying that much for a vehicle you need, vs. want. Plus add a moonroof and an extended warranty and prices get steep.

    Aztek sales are poor compared to the Rendezvous, which also costs more. It's a certified flop. Consider how many dealers Pontiac has, and the huge marketing push it got. I mean, c'mon, they were the primary sponsor for Survivor, the #1 show at the time, and still flopped!

    Hey Andrew, long time no see. But you'd definitely get the DX with steelies, right? :-)

    That shield is cool. A surfer really could change in there. The "bed" looks lumpy, though, take an air mattress to throw on top of them.

    Another vote for cladding. The stuff is like teflon. Painting the bumpers means you should budget for maybe 2-3 repaints to cover up dings and scratches. That's about a grand of savings.

    Bob: they did use stiffer springs rates, IIRC, and thicker no-sway bars. Factor the tires, and the low payload rating is puzzling.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    << Bob: I think the trailer brake requirement for anything over 1000 lbs is almost universal, isn't it? >>

    Pretty much so, at least for small-mid size SUVs; even for some full-size SUVs/trucks, Toyota for example.

    << Bob: they did use stiffer springs rates, IIRC, and thicker no-sway bars. >>

    I don't know.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'm sure about the sways, but not about the springs. I recall one review said it had less body roll than the CR-V because the anti-sway bars were a thicker.

    But that alone would not increase payload.

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The suspension in the Element is a "squished" version of what is used in the CR-V. I would expect there is less ability to accept the compression of a heavy load. Some components were upgraded, but the overall design is the same.

    I've with Dindak on the Aztek. I dunno if it was the cladding, but the concept version looked much more athletic than the production model.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You mean the same springs, just compressed more because of the curb weight?

    Aztec's problem is the sloping D-pillar. They probably did it so they could fit that camping package (some say camo package to hide the ugly rear). But you lose space and end up with a rear that looks squashed.

    Then add the flared nostrils, eye lids, gills, etc. Check out the amateur photochop topic here, someone squared off the back and removed all the angry looking scoops on the front and it actually looked pretty good.

  • neon99neon99 Posts: 15
    I had an hour to kill yesterday after work, so I stopped by Irvine Auto Center (Flabedoe?) Honda Dealer.

    They had an Element in the showroom (MSRP $19K, 2WD). There was another gentleman there giving it the hard eye. He was mid-late 20's and he mentioned his wife an dog a few times. I was only there to take a look, as I just recently purchased the Saturn L-Series Wagon (0/0/0 baby).

    First impression was that it was better looking in person than the internet. This was a Silver model. We went through the interior pretty well, put the seats in maybe 10 of the 64 (number repeated by salesman many times) of their possible positions. Including both up againt the side for maximum space.

    It was a good amount of room, especially in the height dimension. Odd sized, or large square items will find a home in there fairly easily. My LW wagon technically has more space, but it is certainly not as accommodating in that respect. I briefly stood next to a CRV, which I could easily look over the roof, while the E was taller than I am.

    Then, to our surprise, the "E Expert" came over and suggested we test drive it. They opened the double doors and drove it out of the showroom. An odd thing happened, it's dimensions appeared smaller once in motion. In other words, it seemed big parked, but less so on the road (visually).

    There are a few considerations as four people stepped in. First, make sure you close the doors in the correct order. Second, the seatbelt is on the rear door, so yes, you do need to make sure it is off before people can get in the back. Neither were a big deal.

    Now on the road, the guy I was with was the one to drive. I opted not to drive as I was not in the market, have driven plenty of 4 bangers, and got a real good idea of the ride from the front passenger seat.

    It was not all that impressive from my perspective. They guy driving said it drove like his wife's Civic (not my favorite car). The engine was a little buzzy, the ride was bouncy, and for the brief high speed run, the wind noise got pretty loud. There was not any road noise that I noticed. I didn't lean greatly, but you could tell this is not a sedan.

    Overall, I was impressed with the packaging. Very practical, and plenty of personality without hitting you over the head with LOOK AT ME. It did lose points on ride and drive. My wagon is faster and smoother. I'm just not a big fan of SUV roadfeel. I would give it a 8/10 for effort, and a 6/10 for personal desirability.

    One small note, the driver mentioned that the A-pillar felt like it was in an odd position (too forward?), where he would be looking through his driver side window to be viewing the road in front of him. He felt it was an odd sensation, but something that could be gotten used to.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    64? Am I missing something? Both down, both up, one in each position. That's 3. It's symmetrical so the 4th is basically the same as #3.

    It slides fore/aft, but so do the front seats and we don't consider each of those different configurations.

    So it felt smaller from inside? You think it's the short overhangs? Better visibility?

  • AnakinAnakin Posts: 410
    The problem with the aztek design is GM's bean counters. I liked the concept. It had decent proportions and looked rugged.

    The bean counters demanded the model be built on the Montana minivan platform, which affected the overall proportions of the vehicle. then they topped it off by putting tiny wheels on it, which made it look even more ungainly.

    Since Bob Lutz has been around, the designers' work has been a little more likely to see production, which should help.
  • neon99neon99 Posts: 15
    Seat positions? I don't know, just what the sales guy was saying.

    I didn't say it felt smaller from the inside, but rather, it looked large sitting by itself in the showroom, but appeared smaller in dimension as it was driving out of the showroom into the parking lot. I was not in the vehicle while this was going on, so it was an outside perspective thing. Maybe it had to do with that in the showroom, you pretty much had to stand right next to it, while once it was outside, you could view it from several feet back.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I meant "Load Rating" of the tires, not the size of the wheels. Tires can have different load ratings within the same size. Assuming use of tires with load rating of, say, 1150 lb. each, total weight they can safely take would be about 4600 lb.
    Now, factor in the weight (payload plus tongue weight if a trailer is being pulled, full tank etc. etc.), a 3600 lb. vehicle is likely to get very close to the limit on the tires (also factor in weight distribution since tires will have different weight to carry).

    In other words, if E were lighter by 200 lb., it could have used that towards additional payload. In fact, 2WD version may actually have a higher payload, if Honda chooses it to be.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    is the number mentioned in the brochure, which is accompanied by 64 thumbnail size images of possible seating arrangements. I didn't really study them, as they were so small.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    No doubt the Aztek is a flop. That said, it should have never been anything more than a niche vehicle in the first place. Wonder if sales are up or down from the first year?

    Concept of the Aztek looked pretty good, but it was still ugly IMO. Wonder if they will kill it or redesign for 04/05?

    Element has 2 things going for it.. Honda's reputation and a realistic sales goal. Aztek sales were projected way high (75K+). Honda projects 40K for Element I believe.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not only that, they removed the 3rd row seat from the Montana, and didn't even offer AWD for the first several months. All that perceived ruggedness and no AWD?

    Any how, back to Element, I guess they are counting the bed positions? I don't see how they can come up with 64, though.

    It is versatile, sort of like the PT Cruiser interior, only bigger. Or a minivan, only smaller. Depends on your perspective.

  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    40K projected sales?

    I wonder if Honda will be able to meet that goal.
  • With all the posts on payload, I thought I'd post this pic I took over the weekend of a 2WD EX Auto. Not sure what payload means exactly, but the pic shows the GVWR, FWIW :)

  • To determine payload subtract curb weight from GVWR.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    is listed on the label that's on the door jam. It also has the tire pressure, etc. Actually, since there is no "B" pillar on the Element, it's on the side of the door (I think it was the front door?), where the two side doors meet.

    Not sure where that label is from? Under the hood, perhaps?

  • Driver Seat(2) - Upright and Flat
    Passenger Seat(2) - Upright and Flat
    Left Rear Seat(4) - Upright, Flat, Against Wall, Removed Completely
    Right Rear Seat(4) - Upright, Flat, Against Wall, Removed Completely

    2 x 2 x 4 x 4 = 64

    That's how you come up with 64 seating configurations.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    But why multiply those numbers?

    Shouldn't you add them?
  • For each possible position of each individual seat, the other three seats can be in any of their possible positions. I'll show you the first few configurations. And I'm numbering the positions to make it easier on me(Upright = 1, Flat = 2, Against Wall = 3, Removed = 4).

    Driver,Passenger,Left Rear, Right Rear
    etc... It comes out to 64 possiblities, though it really isn't that big of a deal - if you look at the possible combinations in most cars and minivans, they all have lots of combinations.
  • I am the first on the Honda dealer list with a deposit down on an Element here in Santa Monica in west Los Angeles.

    The dealership just received a silver 5spd DX so I naturally took it for a test drive.

    I'm impressed with the room. I'm 6'0 and my room mate is 6'5 and we both fit in the driver's seat.

    Tons of rear seat room and heaps of headroom.

    More surprising's peppy!

    With three people in the car the Element chirped the tires in second gear easily. Lots of low end torque.

    Granted I was driving a 5spd DX, the lightest possible Element but my friend and I weigh 450lbs between us and the sales lady thrown in has to be almost 600lbs of payload and the E was pretty fast!

    Since I did not take the Element on the freeway I am talking about low end power really....the first three gears. I am used to my 95 Infiniti Q45's 280 horses and I can tell you the Element is no slouch.

    Handles well too, pretty neutral....even when I threw it into a few turns pretty aggressively it did not understeer and that's with the DX cheesy wheels and tires.

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    "I'm impressed with the room"

    If a box shaped vehicle doesn't have room, I don't know what would.
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