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Honda Element



  • ssender1ssender1 Posts: 28
    Odometer just passed 3500 miles. I was skeptical about prior posts complaining about the low grade plastics used inside and out. I can attest that, contrary to some posts, the exterior plastic cladding has held up relatively well - the interior plastics, on the other hand, have been a huge disappointment. The gray plastic sills at the doors and rear hatch are incredibly soft as is the darker gray plastic used on the inside of the doors. The darker colored plastic leaves white marks when scratched and cannot be returned to its original color.

    Another problem area is the rear hatch which does not fully close 50% of the time (it must be slammed very hard). This has resulted in a dead battery on 2 ocassions (the rear hatch light stays on). I have had a problem with the engine revving to 1500 rpm shortly after starting the vehicle and shifting into drive. Drives side seat belt rarely retracts completely. I suspect that most of these problems will be easily repaired next time I bring the vehicle to the dealer.

    Still no squeaks or rattles. Overall mid 20 gas mileage. Seat fabric is nearly indestructible.
  • pemflukepemfluke Posts: 5
    im wondering i been looking at automobile accessories like car vacuum etc which say are 12v
    but if you see the plugs they are short like for cigarette lighter what the hell can i plug into the 12v and i have a car vacuum and tire inflator that i used to plug in my cig.lighter in they are useless

    pulled over to curb today to mail some letters
    and this other car pulled up to my element and i thought "finally some people taking notice" and the passenger beckoned me over..
    hell she just wanted to know where the dmv office was
  • goinstaggoinstag Posts: 20
    I'm in San Francisco and have checked a few dealerships so far. Grace Honda is out for me--they were high pressure and irritating. The Daly City dealership wa the other extreme--low pressure and helpful. My next stop is SFHonda, but if your Corte Madeira dealer treats you right, I'd come up there. Looking for a manual 2WD EX myself, trying to decide between Shoreline Mist and Galapolos Green.
  • jefyoujefyou Posts: 6
    Have had my EX for 1 week and so far I love it. As for anyone with dogs (I have 2) it is a God send.

    One thing I want to ask others is about wind noise. I notice that when I hit 40 mph the noise above my head picks up considerably. Below 40 it is very quiet. I also tried folding the side mirrors in and it made no difference so I rule them out as the culprit. I have the roof rack and that may add to the noise (did not notice this on the test drive w/ no roof rack). Anyone else notice this? Otherwise I assume that it is just a result of the less than aerodynamic shape. Still, I wouldn't trade it for anything else under $30k.
  • ozone1ozone1 Posts: 87
    I'm going to the Corte Madera dealer today and the SF dealer tomorrow, will let you know how it goes.
  • Does anyone know when side air bags will be available? I've asked 2 different dealers and they tell me "in a few months" but when pressed admitt they're not really sure. Thanks!
  • kholzmankholzman Posts: 7
    The salesman I talked with admitted that Honda hasn't given them any word on when side airbags will be available. He did say that they were still expecting 4wd/5spd models in May or June, though. We're pretty set on a 2wd/5spd in orange now, just have to decide when to buy.

    And in response to the earlier question about trade-ins, we're planning on adding the Element as a third car. My BMW is getting close to paid for, and the only way my wife would trade her Beetle would be for another one (which we did last summer, a '98 TDI for a 2002 TDI, black for white, hopefully VW will keep making the NB for another four or five years, because I think we'll do the same thing again, you just can't beat 45mpg and lots of low-end torque).
  • Im sorry, but the orange is available only in EX trim. The DX is available in black, blue, or silver. Come to chicago and pick up a DX 5 speed for $13,999 w/transpo fee!
  • minime5minime5 Posts: 41
    As long as you're not expecting a radio, A/C, ABS...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sales are a big success, then. For March it looks like the sales were purely incremental, no scavening off CR-V's normal sales level.

    They may have to boost capacity at the plants!

  • kholzmankholzman Posts: 7
    No, we're looking at an orange EX 2wd/5spd locally. It's pretty much what we want (we're planning on adding fog lights and maybe a few other extras). Living in the desert, the extra weight and cost of 4wd didn't make sense to us, and the DX model is too stripped out for even my minimalist tastes! A/C is an absolute necessity here, and I like the idea of the stereo with an input for my iPod.

    So we're really just waiting until we're comfortable with the idea of spending the money on a third car ... probably in June or so ... though if we have to take our Great Dane back to the vet in my wife's New Beetle, it just might be sooner!

    Does anyone have comments on how easy it is to completely remove one of the back seats? I think I'll want to keep one all the way out and have the other laying flat (should make a good dog bed).

    Thanks! (and BTW, it's nice to see a message board w/o a lot of flames or silly arguments)
  • minime5minime5 Posts: 41
    I'm also looking into a 5sp/2wd/EX for a third car. Only my other choice for the role is the opposite end of the spectrum - the MINI. The Element is a nice car for a good price, I'm just looking for a smile on the face car versus the utility car. The dealer removed the seat in a matter of seconds when showing me. He was also able to hook it up to the side window fairly quick. That's a nice trick!!
  • ozone1ozone1 Posts: 87
    that's hilarious, I'm shopping the same two cars you are. It's either the MINI or the Element, both make me grin.
  • kholzmankholzman Posts: 7
    I'd trade my Z3 on a Mini Cooper S, but we don't have a dealer here in town. I'm really reluctant to own a car when the nearest dealer is (at least) 300 or so miles away. The Mini is supposed to be a total hoot to drive -- corners like a go-cart -- and it gets great mileage to boot. But the Element has unique styling (looks like the [non-permissible content removed] child of an H2 and a Mini IMHO), and the practicality just can't be beat for me ...

    If only they'd put the sunroof up front where it belongs. :-(
  • minime5minime5 Posts: 41
    That's hilarious - I thought I'd be the only nut comparing two completely different cars!!! When are you going to decide? How are you going to decide?
    kholzman - I also love the styling of the E and think that it's a mini-H2 (with better rear seat legroom). The MINI is really a fun car to drive - the inside is also very unique to any other car.

    I think that I'm going to order the MINI tomorrow - good luck with your decision ozone!
  • kholzmankholzman Posts: 7
    Which Mini are you getting? A Cooper or a Cooper S? What color? Really wish we had a dealer ... though I'd still have to buy the Element first. Can't fit a Mastiff or a Great Dane in a Mini.
  • goinstaggoinstag Posts: 20
    I stopped by SF Honda today and they were pretty non-pressure. They didn't have any manual EX's at all, but I saw my first orange Element and liked the color a lot more than I thought I would--I think it's a good color for it (though I still want a green one). They couldn't provide any info on when sde airbags might be arriving, which I think I may wait for--I've pretty much decided that I don't need 4WD. Good luck with your search.
  • If I go through with the DX 5 speed, adding A/C here is $1200 plus adding a stereo with a front aux input for my ipod (hello fellow mac man) and decent speakers is another $300 brings my total to $15,500... Thats still some $4,000 LESS than a 5 speed EX (assuming a price of $19,000. Thats a lot of change in my book. Adding an armrest is only another $100 or so... Waddya think?
  • AnakinAnakin Posts: 410
    I would give it some time and buy the car later on when it's not riding the "brand new model" wave.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    So I guess Element falls into the "fun car" niche.

    Wait a little while, but if they're discounting below MSRP, you probably won't do much better by waiting. Honda isn't one to offer rebates.

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    It's a bit like the PT Cruiser and new Beetle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I hope the appeal lasts longer, though. The guy that paid $25 grand on E-Bay for a New Beetle can now sell it for about, what, 1/4 that amount?

    Same with the PT. Except once all is said and done at least you're left with a little more utility.

    I think as long as you're not paying above MSRP, you won't suffer a similar fate.

    Join the SUV craze, sure, just don't go crazy! :-)

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Here are two "fun cars" playing games with each other. =)
  • gsemikegsemike Long Island, NYPosts: 1,974
    I finally saw the Hoonda Element close up, inside and out. Man is it ugly and the commercials are annoying.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That photo makes it look like the Hummer is driving OVER the Element. Or that they're about to have a child of their own! LOL

    Off topic, but I photochopped this today:


    You need to be registered at, but it's worth it! :o)

    Chris Bangle is ruining BMW and someone's got to stop him. The new 5 is HIDEOUS, and to prove it I pasted Dame Edna's mask on the front, and you can barely tell which side of that photo was doctored! In fact, I don't remember! LOL

  • kholzmankholzman Posts: 7
    One of the Honda dealers here is selling EX's for $1,000 under sticker, or at least was just a few weeks ago. Seems like there were a few more niceties to the EX v. DX thing (alloy rims, among others), but I can see where buying a DX and adding what you want makes sense, too. I don't like the current trends in aftermarket radios, so I like the idea of a factory unit that does everything I need (iPod input and in-dash disc changer).

    That picture of the new 5er is a kill! I actually kind of like the new 7, but the Z4 leaves me cold -- I'd buy an S2000, SLK, or even a Miata before I'd get a Z4! Actually, I'll take my Z3 over any current roadster. :-)
  • ssender1ssender1 Posts: 28
    Have any other owners of a 4WD Element noticed a loud noise when backing up about two to three feet. It's hard to describe the noise except to say every time I hear it I think I've run over and crushed something. Could it be the 4WD disengaging when the car is in reverse???
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Are you making a tight turn while backing up? Like when pulling out of a small parking space? Or does it also happen when backing in a straight line?
  • Hi E gang,

    I love this car! Once it passes The Wife Test...I'm goin' shoppin' !! I need some advice first though...

    2WD vs. 4WD -
       • My first thought was I don't need 4WD in San Jose, CA. I don't foresee us doing much snow country time either.

       • However, a friend felt that for safety the 4WD makes a difference in traction during really rainy weather. (If true, that alone might sway me, as I have a toddler and we plan on having a #2 in the near future.)

    Does the 4WD REALLY make that much of a difference in rain? Any experiences to recount?

       • Plus, in my friend's opinion, if we resell the E later on, supposedly the 4wd retains its value better than a 2wd and is easier to resell, because many people THINK they need 4wd, when they really don't in 99.7% of their driving situations.

    Anyone have any thoughts on that?

    SAFETY -
       • Side airbags - Sounds like there is no telling exactly when they'll come out. So my question is:

    Are they really worth waiting for?

       • Crash tests - I'm expecting the E to have sterling front and side impact ratings, similar to the new CR-V I'd think. But I noticed on its rollover test, the new CR-V got only three stars (of five).

    Any thoughts as to how prone the E will be to rollover? Any way to tell when complete crash test results will come out?

    Well, thanks in advance for any opinions you care to share!

    Herb :-)
  • ozone1ozone1 Posts: 87
    Well, my test drives of the Element and MINI are complete. First off, the Element. The SF dealer was pretty good I guess. They are attempting to sell them at a markup, however. When I told my sales guy that the other dealer I spoke to (in Corte Madera) was not selling at a markup, he changed his tune real quick. I did like the Element a lot. Three things did bother me however....I still am not convinced about the longevity of the plastic cladding, and also, I drove it up a steep SF hill and when I floored it, the front wheels lost traction and I had to struggle to keep it in line. Now, I am used to rear wheel drive cars (Rodeo and Jeep), so maybe that's just part of owning a front wheel drive vehicle. The third thing is the lack of headroom for the rear passengers. I'm only 5'9" and my spikey hair was touching the roof. My wife was concerned about the interior quality, but I didn't think it that was bad. Oh, and if you are shopping in the Bay Area, I really preferred the Corte Madera dealer, no markups on any Element.

    I know this isn't the MINI board, so I'll keep it brief....we're buying the MINI. Test drove a Red/White Roof CVT Cooper (automatic plus a clutchless manual option) and fell in love with it. I didn't see the need for the extra HP of the Cooper S. Yes, the Element did and still does make me grin, but the MINI makes me jump for joy while while running around in circles waving my hands in the air...nuff said.
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