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Honda Element



  • npgmbrnpgmbr Posts: 248
    Ok, I'm supposed to buy an Element EX 4WD in two weeks. Yesterday I drove a Pontiac Vibe for the day and really liked the car. Just like the Element, its everything I want but it also seems to have something the Element doesn't.

    What I like about the Vibe is the fact that it has the height of a car which makes me feel safer driving it (particularly here in the DC are) because of the constant opportunities for sudden braking or swerving to avoid an accident.

    I consider myself to be a good driver and have avoided a few accidents by being able to brake and make a quick lane change when necessary/able. I think this is part of the reason why I don't like anti-lock brakes. I've become very good at pumping the brakes so anti-locks would just screw me up.

    Anywho back to my point: I'm afraid that if I were to make that type of sudden brake and lane change in an Element that it might roll. My fears a probably unfounded particularly since my Tracker never behaved badly in that type of situation and it was rated fare more likely to roll.

    I just don't know what to do. I really like both vehicles and would buy them both if I could but im not sure if I want to be driving an Element in 5 years at 37 yrs old.

    Any current owners have any advice or comments they'd like to share?
  • hppypaulhppypaul Posts: 43
    I'm 39 and really love the Element. Have a 4WD, EX with 5spd on order. It's so much more versatile and fun to drive than a regular SUV, plus the stereo kicks. The only thing more fun to drive is a MINI Cooper. Go for it.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    I'm considering one.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Yes, I'm still shopping. I just got the pink slip for the Wrangler (hooray!) and really can't buy until I pay more down on the Taco (probably this fall, so I'm getting closer). I was even thinking about forking over enough to replace the seats and keeping it (still an option) but at 113,000 plus miles, I'm not sure that's the best idea.

    I wasn't going to consider the Element, because I didn't like the look from the outside, but I made the mistake of asking a neighbor of mine to let me see theirs. The interior is the most practical of any vehicle I've seen for what I would like. They love their 4x4 auto and say it doesn't have any problems with our commute (he works "down the hill" also - just in a different city). I'll still prefer the 5 speed, though (such a short clutch and short throw shift - at least compared to my usual vehicles).

    Just my personal opinion - while I'm not crazy about the looks of the Element, I prefer it over the Vibe. I went to look at them when they first came out and didn't bother test driving one.

    As far as the Element goes, I was surprised at how it didn't lean much and felt so solid. Has any one driven one on a windy day? Since it is so boxy, is it as bad as a Wrangler? Since part of my commute is usually windy, that is a big consideration for me.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066

    You might want to take a look at the Scion (toyota) xB as well.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    When my husband saw the Scion at the LA Auto Show in January his comment was that it looked like a Taxi cab, and he wouldn't be caught dead in one. Our experience with Toyotas hasn't been the most positive so I think he would murder me if I suggested he look at the Scion.

    On the other hand, he turned up his nose at the Element in a very strong and vocal way at first, but after looking at the inside and then test driving it, it is quite high on his list of priorities. So maybe I could get him to at least look at it, if for no other reason than comparison.

    I haven't seen any Scions on my way to and from work, but I have seen quite a few Elements, for such a new car.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Scions are just starting to be sold right now, and only in California.

    For what it's worth, from a review on another web site...

    "As severe as the xB's outside is, it delivers on its promise of a roomy inside. Next to the two cars Toyota expects the Scion to go head to head with, the Honda Civic and the VW Golf, the xB leads in virtually every passenger compartment measurement, and generally not by small amounts. Remarkably, the xB offers more passenger room than the larger and taller Honda Element.

    Scion xB delivers about 6 inches more front and rear headroom and 3 to 5 inches more legroom than Civic and Golf offer. Amazingly, the xB boasts nearly 3 inches more front-seat headroom and 7 inches more rear-seat headroom than the Element, despite the Element being 6 inches taller. The Element does offer a lot more front-seat hip room, however, and slightly more rear-seat legroom.

    For hauling booty away from the local flea market and garage sales, the xB offers a smidgen more space than the Civic and the Golf. The Element tops the xB, however, offering 74.6 cubic feet of cargo space versus the xB's 43.4 cubic feet. And be forewarned, ordering the subwoofer speaker requires forfeiting about 2 square feet of the cargo area's floor space.

    Cubby space is about normal for the class. There are the usual map pockets in the doors, cupholders front and rear and so on. There's a nook in the lower half of the dash to the left of the steering column, a cranny to the right of the column and a visually symmetrical, but taller and wider, shelf-like opening above the glove box.

    Now I actually like the Elemnt VERY much, I'm just throwing out alternatives. :)
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I just looked up the Scion xB on Edmunds and found out it won't meet my personal needs. I need a 4x4 or AWD to get out of my driveway sometimes in winter - I have a "thing" against chains and shovels at 4am.

    Advantage to Element.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    That's interesting crash info, I wouldn't buy an Element until I knew more about it. I'm really curious to see some crash tests on the xB.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    Looked at a 2WD EX auto Element today. Dealer wanted MSRP $19910 + $1000 appearance package + $440 side steps, + $200 for mud guards. We told him thanks but we have 3 cars and alotta patience. Besides, we still have to drive a 5-speed 4WD to be able to comfortably make a decision.

    One thing I noted is that the 4-speed auto in the Element is one of the best Honda automatics I have ever driven. I had a 2001 EX V6 Accord and loved everything except the tranny. So an auto in the Element wouldn't be that bad. But still gotta at least drive the stick.
  • hppypaulhppypaul Posts: 43
    I drove a fwd 5spd over the weekend and the manual is the way to go. I've got a 4wd, 5spd EX on order in orange. No dealer add-ons and $250 below sticker.
    Will still shop around but this seems decent. Very, very fun to drive.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I also test drove the FWD 5 speed. It has a short throw and a short clutch. Took some getting used to, but I really liked it. The clutch was much easier than either the Taco or the Wrangler - something to think about if you drive in stop and go much.

    My salesman said that the auto tranny won't hunt on hills, like older trannys do. Was he right or was he just trying to sell a car to a little old lady? If so, I might revisit my decision not to ever get another auto if I can help it.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Your salesman is probably right. Most of the modern autos have some kind of grade logic that reduces, it not elminates, gear "hunting" on hills. The sophistication of the algorithms does vary though - the MB systems are usually considered the best. Don't know about the Element/CRV specifically.

    I wouldn't shy away from an auto for this reason.

    - Mark
  • goinstaggoinstag Posts: 20
    I have a 5-speed, but when I test frove the manual it was fine on hills--didn't notice gear hunting at all. I'm used to a manual and felt that there was a slight lag on the auto kicking in in comparison when getting on the highway, but it seemed pretty good.

    As for those Scions, I checked them out this weekend while my dealer was installing my foglights. I don't see anyway that the xB can have nearly the legroom of the E and didn't like the xB styling close up at all. The xA, however, was a surprise: I thought it was better looking than the larger Matrix (less "swoopy" design) and seemed nicer than the xB to me. Cool little sporty hatchback.
  • My wife drives an Odyssey auto with grade logic control. I've driven it over our little mountain (2000ft) a number of times and it doesn't hunt at all. It will even kick down a gear when decending a steep hill to allow the engine to help with the braking. In all it's a really nice transmission. If the Element's unit is of a similar design then it should perform well going up and down hills.

    The only difference might be the V6 in the Ody vs the 4-banger in the Element. The Ody has a good deal of torque and might not need to downshift as much as the Element. I dunno - you might want to ask an Element (or CRV?) owner in your area how their truck performs on the hills.

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    I think I recall that the xB has more legroom than the Element, but half as much cargo space.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    And twist axle rear suspensions. For those that thought the E would be anemic... And no AWD either. But what you want. They do come with carpeting.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    The E has a great engine and handles well. However, it's tall and rides high, and twist axle rear suspension or not, I bet the Scions handle better.

    Basically, buy the Element if you need the extra cargo space, but buy the xB if you just want to enjoy the drive and pocket the $4,000.
  • anonymouspostsanonymousposts Posts: 4,202
    The Element is "more" car than the xB. If you just like the xB that's cool. But for me I couldn't deal with the axle and small engine. The Element handles pretty good for something of it's weight and height. It feels like it was made for the highway.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    The Golf GTI uses a torsion beam rear suspension a setup very similar to the xB's twist axle, and it's a very sporting car. The suspension alone is rarely what makes or breaks a cars handling. I think you are making too big a deal out of something that you never would have noticed if you hadn't read about it.

    As far as acceleration goes: - xB - 9.0 - E - 8.8 (2wd 5M) - E - 11.4 (AWD 4A)
    Honda - E - 9.8 (2wd 5M)

    So in reality, the AWD Element is actually slower than the xB. Despite it's bigger engine, it's got over a thousand extra pounds to lug around. And gets 10 less miles to the gallon.

    The only reason the element feels like "more car" is because it's a lot bigger and heavier. It carries twice as much cargo, but transports less people, and has less space for those people.

    Again, I don't see why someone would buy an Element over the xB (styling notwithstanding) unless they needed to carry more cargo or feel more secure in a larger vehicle (the true curse of the SUV). And the price difference is just a bonus.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Simply to not to have to shovel my driveway at 4am, and not have to worry about chains. Most of the time in my area they will let you go with just 4x4 or AWD instead of chains. If it is bad enough for 4x4 to require chains then it is bad enough for me to stay home!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I sat in an xB at the NY Auto Show. Space utilization is impressive, and it draws attention. The interior is very economy, though, and I hate the center mounted speedos. It's basically a big Echo wagon. The price is its best feature, $14 grand with ABS and stability control.

    Saw the crash tests on Dateline, I was disappointed with the Element's performance. Both front and rear passengers were in bad shape. The IIHS simulates a taller SUV or pickup hitting it from the side, unlike NHTSA.

    The much lower-to-the-ground Forester earned a Good score, though side chest/head air bags are standard. The Escape did well only with the optional air bags, Poor without them.

    Pretty solid argument for getting side air bags. For the most part, the dummies without them suffered near fatal levels of impact, and with them they were generally unharmed.

  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    It's going to be even worse seeing how regular cars do in those tests. But I was surprised the Element did that poorly.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    I'm just wierd that way. That's the only reason I haven't owned a recent Maxima. I'm aware of the Golf's suspension. It's been around since they were calling theM Rabbits.

    I was all over the Xb until I found out it was a reshaped Echo. As much as I love the Echo, I was hoping for a little more.

    And I too hate the center mounted guages.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    What's interesting to me is that the Element's structure held up fairly well. Even without the B-pillar, it scored "average", which is as good as it got for most of these vehicles. Many with B-pillars (including the CR-V) scored marginal or poor in theat particular category.

    The score that hurt the Element most was the torso score (poor). Honda's side airbags should improve that.

    Muffinman - I agree on many points. The Scion is a good little buggy. The engine may be a tiny little screamer, but the weight advantage over the Element is huge. The content levels are very comprehensive for such an inexpensive vehicle.

    I dunno about faster, though. MT clocked a 2wd 5 speed at 8.1 seconds. While the AWD models are slower, I expect that the Element will end up the drag-strip champ.
  • I saw an orange Element yesterday on the way home with some chrome bits on it. It looked fantastic. I have always thought orange is a vehicle color the owner will one day regret, but it looked natural on the Element. Very sharp.

    The truck was parked on top of a wooded mountain where mountain bikers park their vehicles while they ride. It looked like it belonged there.

  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    I was gonna buy one the other day but the salesman thought he was selling water in the desert. I'll wait til the end of the year.
  • because their products actually sell themselves. Element, Odyssey, Pilot, CRV, Accord, s2000; all of them desireable enough to stay above invoice and in some cases at MSRP. When we bought my wife's Odyssey in 2001 we had to pay MSRP and wait two months! I've read here (Juice I think) that Odys are now selling a little below MSRP. Waiting for the Element should help a bit on the price.

  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    The AWD 5 speeds aren't even available yet. I'm gonna give it a little time. I'm in no hurry.
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