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Honda Element



  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    After buying a house on today's market, who can afford a shovel!

    My driveway is too long to do that easily. and besides, I pay a guy to plow it. I'm not going to do half the job before he shows up!
  • weelzweelz Posts: 20
    Was un-aware of posting links.My apologies.

    ateixeira I bought the ECHO hatch which is only available in Canada and also in Europe and Australia under the name Yaris & Vitz.The Scion is not sold in Canada.

    I have nothing against Honda I have driven them before without problem.I just feel this vehicle is too "new" for me.Maybe the 04's will address some of the "quirks".

    It may have come in handy last night as the power was out so we could have slept in the car :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I shovel it myself (note to self: re-negotiate that chore with wife).

    It's easier to shovel fresh snow that hasn't been driven over and packed down, of course. But then again, you're not shoveling it, so who cares!

    Yes, Element owners that lost power quickly discovered what a great "tent" it makes.

  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    Taken from edmunds Consumer Ratings & Reviews here

    We are 60 years old and need a single vehicle to do every thing. The Element is perfect. I took trash to the dump after hanging the rear seats up on the wall. Works greate.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    when i sold hondas, i sold the first E in the dealership. my customers were a married was 65, woman was 63.

    weelz...the element is almost entirely from honda's parts bin. for most of the vehicle, especially the powertrain, its been around awhile.
  • weelzweelz Posts: 20
    Obviously that did not come from the same bin.

    Seems like a design flaw to me.For Honda to put out a service bulletin on it there has to be some type of problem.The ball peen hammer diagram fix did just not appeal to me and almost looked primitive for a fix on a modern vehicle.It just seemed to me when I drove it the windsheild was too flat and would be catching rocks and debris.Maybe they will have it worked out with the next re-design of the vehicle or perhaps it has already been addressed with this fix.
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    demographic of all car models according to Automotive News Magazine. So they are doing okay. You gotta think how many young people can afford a $19,000 Element vs. older people. Most younger folk buy used cars.

    That Echo hatch looks like a nice ride. I read about that one also in the Automotive News magazine. I'm jealous of you Canadians.
  • Looked at a CR-V tonight as a possible other than to an Accord 4 door or an Element and came away feeling that I would be happier with the Element or Accord. My 6'6 man barely fit in it. It would've been doable but why sacrifice when you have the Element.
  • bwiens1bwiens1 Posts: 3
    Thought I would add a post for those in the frenzy of car shopping:
    We now have 3,000 miles on our 4WD EX Auto w/side bag Element and are absolutely thrilled. Some things of note inlcude that we are a young family with a 2.5 year old and another on the way and find the rear seats are ideal for child seat access. This is an awesome kid car! We load it with kid and crap, just back from the beach, and everything fits and works so well. The back tailgate is ideal for diaper changing and our son can climb all around and spill his food and we don't worry. All our guests love the rear seats. Surfboard on top, practically Wal Mart inside. I mountain bike a lot and my bike does fit easily inside standing up with no wheel removal.
    No wind noise problems. Drive to San Diego a lot and cruise 75-80 on I15 with no problem climbing hills or passing. RPM at 3,100 or so, feels smooth. Also, I live at 6,000 feet and have no problem climbing the hill home. Even the auto transmission is geared to not jump around. Very smooth and quick acceleration.

    Back moonlight does require the optional screen which I installed myself, wish it was a solid slide out, that is silly.

    Got rear ended in my brand new car already at about 5-10mph. Scratches and cosmetic damage to Element, destroyed front bumber and grill on Chevy Silverado? Wouldn't have expected that. Don't have repair estimate yet.

    The auto tranny lever is so great where it is and does not interfere with anything. Quite the contrary, I don't have to look at it to feel it and shift when you are maneuvering around parking areas D-R-D-R...

    Speaking of which, the turning radius is divine! Better than our Camry wagon we sold.

    Getting too long, but just wanted to let people on the fence know that we are happier and happier with our Element and are seeing new ones driving around all over SoCal. Critical mass I think.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    It is nice to know that you have no problems. I got a similar report from my neighbor with an auto. How do you find it getting on the freeway? I test drove one and thought it would not have problems with freeway on-ramps, but wondered what you thought.

    And yes, there are more and more on the road. Last night I saw my second Scion on the road. When I first saw both vehicles at the LA Auto Show I thought they were very similar. Now I can't imagine why I ever thought that - they are really quite different, and the Element wins all the way!
  • bwiens1bwiens1 Posts: 3
    I get on and off freeways a lot, as we all do, and find the Element is plenty good at accelarating. I have no problem beating out most other cars. If I press the pedal down a bit, but not close to flooring it, it jumps up and moves great. Given that this is a 4cyl big thing in a small package, I am totally happy with its ability to jump on a green light and get on freeways without any of that horrible innefectual whining many cars have.
  • I have the same 2.4L engine in my Accord and it really is an awesome engine. Quiet and it seemingly has power in any gear.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Anonymous - I've spend some time in my sister's 03 CR-V and would have to agree. It' a very flexible engine.

    BTW, congrats on the family addition.
  • 900pres900pres Posts: 1
    I am very interested in purchasing a new Element but would like to know when the 2004's are going to be available and what changes are going to be made. Anyone have any information?...thanks.
  • My sales rep said they are due in Sept. She has not heard any specifics as to changes. Rumors are keyless entry on EX as well as arm rest for passenger seat. Keyless entry is the one I want added.
  • xwebxweb Posts: 12
    I live in Germany and am seriously considering buying an Element. I am now facing the 2WD vs. 4WD question. Any opinions on 2WD on wet roads, in snow, or in mud? I'll be facing lots of bad weather soon.

    Also, does the 4WD add anything else besides the moonroof for $1100? Although that does seem like a fair price for this upgrade.

    I'm thinking EX w/side airbags, just can't decide on whether 2WD is safe enough.

    Thanks for all the great tips! I love this board!!
  • Yikes...the hitch is almoust $500. I jusy got the E a month ago and of course (Murphy's Law) I need a hitch SOON. Did not count on having a small sailboat but now I do.

    Can we get aftermarket Hitches and Balls, if so were. At $500 is worth more that the boat.

    Couls someone advice...and finally what was the towing max on the E? Doeas anybody know????

  • There are always after market trailer hitchs, but if you want a Honda hitch check a site like
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Shop for a Hidden Hitch or a Draw Tite, those are usually much, much cheaper. Some go for as little as $80, though you'll also need a harness.

    I bet Honda outsources production of that type of accessory. I know Subaru does, then they mark it up. Even then I paid $180 for mine, OE Subaru. $500 is insane!

    Do they include an oil cooler and a power steering cooler? I know they do for the Odyssey. That might explain it.

    Edit: looks like no, Handa had it for $212. They say even list is under $300. That dealer is trying to rip you off.

    Towing capacity is 1500 lbs for the Element.

    xweb: you'll only find out FWD was not enough if you get stuck. Do you really want to wait until you're stuck? Get 4WD. In the snow and mud you'll benefit from it.

  • I noticed the list price on the Handa site too - just didn't want to rub salt in the dealer inflicted wound.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Perhaps it's $500 installed?? Or perhaps that includes the wiring harness which is $168 list?? That would bring total list to $463. Also take a look at the installation instructions at the earlier link. The hitch is fairly straightforward - the harness is not. First 2 pages are Honda legalese. 3-9 is for the harness including removal and reinstall of bumper and many interior bits. 10-13 are for the hitch - with the bumper on.

    I thought the CRV hitch was a joke to install!!
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    ...I can't believe how many Elements I'm seeing around Boston driven by all sorts of folks - most skewing older. I saw a silver one this AM - with a nice mesh grill on it.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I believe Honda has "on demand" 4WD - the rear wheels will only activate if the front wheels are slipping. In other words, if you are bogged down. Which isn't usually the case on typical snowy roads.

    Subaru uses "all wheel drive" where a portion of the power is always sent to the back wheels - this helps much more on curves and snowy roads.

    The main advantage to 4WD of the Honda variety in California, is that it will save you having to put on chains when the "chains required" signs are up in the mountains. Even though in those conditions the 4WD really doesn't help. (In the midwest and eastern USA, people get by without 4WD or chains all the time.)

    I have been told that "traction control" systems that prevent wheel spin and slides by selectively activating the ABS system on a wheel by wheel basis are almost as good as AWD in keeping you out of trouble on snow and ice; and also that snow tires on FWD cars are better than regular tires and 4WD or AWD.

    So there are a lot of ways of approaching the 4WD issue. (Of course 4WD is essential for off-road use, but the Element is not really an off-road car, with or without 4WD.)

    The Elements 4W is totally useless on wet roads - it simply doesn't activate in a timely fashion. The Subaru AWD, VW 4 Motion, and Audi Quattro systems are designed for wet roads. They use all four wheels, all the time.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    $463 is outrageous. Sounds like the install isn't that straight forward, either (it was for my Subie, fortunately).

    Do you have a Trick Trucks or a U-Haul near you? Those types of places do it. Even Pep Boys does.

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Micweb - Ummm... yes and no.

    RT4WD is a reactive design. That's true. However, it is much faster and more effective than you seem to expect. The rear wheels will kick in after the front tires spin about one quarter of a turn.

    The main advantage is that it allows the vehicle to remain in FWD mode when power to the rear is superfluous. The drivetrain is more efficient this way, which promotes good fuel economy and acceleration.

    Traction control systems will help you accelerate in slippery conditions by preventing power from "leaking" out one side of the differential. They don't do all that much for cornering and handling. (They don't do anything unless you have your foot on the gas.) You need a stability control system that manages all four wheels to balance a car in a slippery turn.

    I agree that proactive or full-time AWD is the best in terms of absolute power distribution. But your paper assessment of reactive systems is considerably weaker than experience has shown.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The catch with traction control is it retards momentum. Some times you actually want a little wheel slip.

    My friend leased a ML320 and actually turns it off in the snow, he thought it was a nuisance.

    Also, a FWD vehicle going up a steep hill is a recipe for disaster. All the weight transfers to the rear axle. The fronts have no traction and aren't likely to get it even with traction control.

    Consumer Reports' test a couple of months back had AWD better than even snow tires on FWD, IIRC. The advantage was slight, but imagine both with the same tires.

  • Have you ever seen another E with the mesh grill? Is that a standard E accessorie?
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Where in Germany are you? I think it would depend on where you are. Years ago I lived in Mannheim and Karlesruhe and had a (then) boyfriend (now husband) in Lahr. I often drove to Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern. When I first went over there I had a 3/4 ton Dodge van, then sold it and bought a mustang (tons of fun!). I never felt a need for 4x4 on those roads (though I did drive carefully when it was icy).

    I do agree that the main benefit of an AWD Element for me is to go around the chains required checkpoints. I currently use a Wrangler to do that, but have discovered that its system doesn't help much on icy roads.
  • xwebxweb Posts: 12
    So I don't expect to be driving through snow as often as on wet roads and/or icy roads. But I do have a somewhat steep road to climb to get to my house, lined with cars on both sides--I don't want to slide into anyone in my new Element!

    Of course, over here, the roads are cleaned pretty quickly, and the car I have right now, a 15-year-old Opel Kadett hatch (FWD), has not given me any trouble, although I am very careful to drive slower when it's wet or icy or snowy.

    micweb, varmint, ateixeira--thanks for the material to think about! It does sound like the AWD system would be somewhat helpful, but perhaps I could make do with snow tires. Of course, then I'd be spending as much for a second set of winter wheels and tires as the AWD costs anyway!

    I used to live in Montana, had a 1984 Toyota Tercel wagon with 4WD I engaged with a lever. It did help, but I still managed to slide into a curb when I took a turn too fast (driving on packed snow). Then I had a 1991 Nissan Sentra 4WD (full-time) which was great in winter driving but otherwise a lemon. I liked having the flexibility of 4WD, and it came in handy a few times when parked on muddy logging roads.

    Plus the weight penalty of AWD for performance--it doesn't appear to affect the gas mileage much, but the extra couple hundred pounds must have some impact on performance. Anyone driven both versions?

    I'd absolutely love to test drive an Element, but unfortunately there's only one military-related dealer, and they have none in stock--whenever they get one in, it gets sold immediately!

    I guess I'm leaning towards 4WD now, even though I can't get it with a stick through this dealer.

    Anyone ever ship a car overseas? Maybe I can buy one in the States and have it shipped over if it's not too expensive.

    You all are lucky to have all those Honda dealerships to test drive at! Maybe I need to make a special trip just to go test driving.

    Of course, then the 2004s will come out and I'll be confused again. Thanks everyone, you all make this one of the best forums I've seen.--x
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    i think winter tires can do more for you than all wheel drive can. it doesnt matter what wheels have traction if your tires dont have grip.
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