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Honda Element Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • I know for the 04, new features are std keyless entry ($106 and 5 min to install in the 03), and a passenger arm rest, and a darker blue color. There's also the LX line (btw the DX and EX). That's about all the new stuff I know.

    There's good site that shows you how to install the keyless entry and a passenger side armrest.

    I'm heading off to buy it today!
  • I found this on a site:
    Invoice price is not what the dealer pays b/c they get rebates (e.g. I go to circuit city after thanksgiving sale to pay $10 for a case of CDs, then send in a rebate so its free).

    Take the invoice price
    Subtract 2% of the Retail Price (dealer hold back)
    Subtract "floorplan fee" (honda builds this in so you can't find out what it is, but I'm guessing about $200)
    Subtract any factory to dealer incentives (cost me $7 to purchase a list of current ones, but element wasn't listed)
    Subtract and Factory to consumer incentives.

    You can also subtract the destination, and doc fees, how else could they sell it to me at this price?

    There is some $500 rebate listed in edmunds, but its for the dx model. I'm guessing it may apply to the other ones.

    To get an idea of what to offer, add 2%-5% for their profit.

    Don't buy anything else from the dealer (glazing/protective coat = scam, no extra warranties, no $300 keyless entry [buy it for $100 and it takes 5 min to install]).


    I did two rounds of emailing to get $18750, and I made sure the out the door prices. Even though a dealer is still saying he'll beat this by $100, I don't trust him. My credit union is giving me a 36 mo 3.6% rate.

    I spent about a week researching prices, 3 days test driving, 24+ hours on the internet, and talked to a bunch of older and wiser people. the best interenet site was


    This is the price they pay
  • Interesting info you posted. Is it Honda specific? On a simple basis, getting the dealers in CA to offer at Edmunds invoice is pretty good. In NY, they advertise $100 above invoice. I got the same offer walking into a random dealer. So, at the end of the model year, we should be able to get below invoice. If Edmund is right about the DX $500 incentive, there is every reason to expect that below invoice for a DX. Thanks JG.
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    Good info you posted. Boy, there are a whole host of loopholes in this process. I'm going in with a check already written out, ready to sign; let's see what the NY folks do with that. Good luck to you in your trip to the dealer in CA.
  • Are you sure the new 04 blue is darker? I thought it was lighter than the 03.

    I wish they'd bring back that bright blue that was on the previous gen CRV a few years ago.
  • I went in with a check from my credit union for the amount they quoted out the door: $20,514.56. The whole process took about 45 min. They handed me over to the finance guy; no real problems, but I did cause alittle touble b/c I wanted him to put zeros in the odometer readings, not leave them blank (when I went in a few days ago, I wouldn't sign the form to test drive the car, instead insisting that someone test drove with me; I also wouldn't put a deposit because the form they wanted me to sign was the DMV bill of sale form). He tried to sell me some extras, like lo jack or warranties, but I said no. I paid nothing higher, and my check was made out for that particular vin only.

    Anyhow, I'm planning on installing the keyless entry, approx $107 shipped and it takes only 5 mins. My salesman did pitch that acceessory again to me before I left, but I just smiled and said no ($300, no thank you). Other than that, it took 45 min b/c I and my brother and a friend read through everything before signing; I didn't want to inadvertenly sign something to waive my rights if anything went wrong. I also took the yellow copies off myself and put them in the folder I brought along.

    If I was a better negotiator, I could have probably had them toss in the keyless with the $18750 price, since it costs them less than $100 and other honda dealers will "beat any prie by $100". I could also have pressed the $45 documentation fee. I nenver did pay a destination fee of $460. Hope this helps everyone.
  • zmanzman Posts: 200
    Congratulations. My $18K gambit did not go so well for the '03 AWD EX 5-speed. But I'm going to be patient; the closer they get to the arrival of the 04's the more (I hope) they will be willing to negotiate.
  • Where did you get your element?
    If you don't mind, you could email me at

    I'm in the Bay area too, looking to get an element (maybe even before the end of the month) and would love to know more.

    Did you get any bids from around sacramento?
    It is a bit far north of us, but i hear you can get really good deals around there.
  • I didn't really want a dealership that far away. I knew that it would be harder to "walk away" if things didn't go smoothly. Also, I expected to go to dublin at least 2 times; once to check out the car and get a firm price. At which point I left ot go to my credit union to get a check for the exact vehicle (check was only good for that VIN). When I went back, it wasn't to lower the price anymore (but I guess I should have tried), but just to fill out paperwork and make sure I only paid the quoted out the door price, and not a cent more. It also helped to give the check to a friend who when with me, who was reponsible for handing it over; this also stopped me from buying any thing else the dealership/finance office tried to offer me.

    If you try sacramento, I would suggest renting a motel room for at least a nite. Use it as a "cooling off" period after you get an offer, and really be prepared if they don't have the car the next day because it was "sold" right after you declined "such an incredible deal". IF elements were such hot sellers, they wouldn't be selling below invoice. Also, they will tell you every model of the element is "hard to come by". You could be able to canvass the other dealerships without having to worry about having to drive home to the bay area. That $80 room (or less) could save you hundreds! It also helps to set an exact time limit you are willing to spend at a dealership (like 45 min or an hour) and tell them that. It makes them cut through the run arounds, and you actually look impatient and mentally are, even if you know you have time.

    I hope this helps. Please let me know if it did or didn't!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,554
    Your advise although well intentioned I'm sure will leave some would be buyers carless.

    There is no "flooring charge" for one thing.

    What determines pricing on Elements or any other car for that matter is the current MARKET on them.

    These aren't exactly distressed merchandise.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Isn't that usually another word for holdback?

    Steve, Host
  • Holdback is different from the flooring charge. Take a look at the site:

    "Dealer Floorplan Assistance" Fees /Wholesale Financial Reserves./Dealer Interest Fee
    Some dealers charge this fee, which is icing on the cake. Have them remove this insult. Dealer Floorplan Interest is the interest that dealers pay for loans to buy the cars on their lot. Usually the factory pays this as part of the holdback, itemized as a separate invoice item. Floorplan interest can cost $150 per month for each car. On an Eclipse invoice I have, the factory gave the dealer $185 in floor plan assistance, and the dealer itemized it to the buyer as a fee, double collecting for $370! The factory gives the dealer 1-2 months of interest. The longer the car sits unsold on the lot, the more $150 interest checks the dealer pays. They want you to "assist" them in "paying it", which is the factory's expense, not yours. Dealers know we are on to them, so some have changed the name to a confusing term called "Wholesale Financial Reserves." or "Dealer Interest Fee".

    Honda includes this on their invoice, not listing it separately like other auto makers. Is User isellhonda a dealer? Hmmm....
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Still sounds like holdback to me, and no, you shouldn't pay it "twice."

    Steve, Host
  • I guess if you really wanted to, one could think of a floor plan fee as holdback-like, but not really. The reason why it's different is that inorder to get a better idea of the "True" price a dealer is paying for a car, you deducted the 2-3% dealer holdback, and then you also deducted the flooring plan fee and the other rebates (factory to dealership, factory to customer)and fees (destination, "documentation fees", etc.).

    As for mr. isellhondas saying that it is the current "market" that determines the prices on car, boy that sure sounds like a dealer talking. Why should I pay "market" when I know what the dealer is paying. No matter which car or model you look at, dealers will say "This is a hard config to come by", or "Boy did you pick a hot car". When buying a car, I don't care what the market pays; I only care what's the best deal I can get, which better be less than market! People who take the time to read these boards and do research should always pay less than the uninformed buyer's "market" price (aka sucker's price). Knowledge is power!

    On a side note, having an economics and accounting degree, it makes me laugh when dealers throw out terms like "market price", and the finance manager tries to up the price of a car by saying he can lower my monthly payment (paying $10/month for a 5 years is NOT better than paying $20/month for two years).

    Everyone should check out
  • yalsyals Posts: 1

    I have a question to all experienced Honda buyers out here. What in your opinion based on previous years of dealing with Honda is the best time to buy Element? Now - when Honda is offering 3.9% (ending 12/5/04) but Element 2004 is not on the dealer’s lot yet. Or wait month or two? How low the price may drop after its arrival? Couple hundreds or thousand?

    The matter is I have to buy one until last day of February 2004. And if it is depends on market I am in Chicago.

    Thanks for you time and opinion.

  • Dealer came down to $19,590 on 2003 EX AWD Auto with Side AirBags. Sticker was $21,590, so $2000 off.

    Does this seem like a good price? I am curious to hear some replies to the previous posting... 2003 now or wait a few more months when the 2004s are on the lot.
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    The longer you wait for an '03, the less likely it will be that you will get what you want. After all, they aren't making any more of them. The prices people (including myself) are paying for the '03s now seems to be about as low as it's going to go. In my opinion, buyers are in a great position now as dealers are trying to rid themselves of their '03 inventory in order to get a larger allotment of '04s.

    I'd say now is as good a time as ever to get an '03, but not for the price quoted to imaveggie. At very least, you should be able to get them down to invoice (around $19,100). With minimal prodding, you can get under $19,000 (at least I did). Must say, however, that I'm not sure about the Chicago market - I'm in Baltimore. As always, timing is critical. The last couple of days in any given month are the best time to get the deal you deserve.

    As for the advertised 3.9% interest rate, my advice to that is to ignore the TV ads at all cost. I'd also leave any reference to desired interest rate or monthly payment out of negotiations over the price of the car. Check first with your bank / credit union, as they may be able to do better. Honda Credit can also do better if they know there's competition (I got 3.65% at the end of November). Just like the price of the car, the interest rate they "advertise" isn't their bottome line.

    Good luck!
  • Seems like they are the ones to beat. They are in Elmhurst. No local dealer would touch them.

  • Just purchased an '04 Element off the truck.
    Orange, EX, 4WD, Auto for $20,186 + tax and tag.
    I think it was a reasonably good deal.
    Hope this helps somebody else.
  • OK, your the first that I know of that got an 04. How do you like it?
  • Like it fine. Very utilitarian. My kid loves all the leg room and the stadium style seating for his car seat mounted on backseat. Gonna love the room in the rear when I load my paintball equipment in. Biggest complaints after having driven 1.5 hours in it are the lack of a good place to put ones left foot rest and the door is hard on the knee when leaned on it. Also, the drop down armrest is very close and narrow so not very usefull. If the shallow floor level cupholder area could be replaced with an armrest level center console (like you see in SUV's and pickups) that would be awesome. Anybody here of a 3rd party addon to do that?
    The car doesn't like sprinting much and the highway noise is a bit bothersome but it has pretty good handling around town.
    For what it is and the cost I think it's a good vehicle.
    I think 2004 added keyless entry and passenger armrest but don't notice anything else different form 2003.
  • Blue EX. $20,733. Added All Weather Mats and a Trailer Hitch for $754(takes a while to get the hitch on, I guess). I agree about the arm rest and lack of a place for your left foot. It drives nicely. My 2 dogs should love it. Only bummer I can think of right now (after 1 day) is that when both seats are folded up, it is hard to see when backing up. Otherwise, I think in the EX, there should have been a few more accessories like the fog lamps and roof rack included. Other SUV's do this on their highest end models. Maybe it's a good thing, because I have found the accessories to be far less expensive out on Ebay than from a Honda dealer. Most of the parts on Ebay are genuine Honda parts from actual dealers willing to sell for less. I hope someone comes up with a tall center console that will fit right into the existing one and that it has a padded arm rest....will write more after driving for a month or so.
  • mreamymreamy Posts: 6
    Turns out Honda already thought of the armrest issue. Should've been standard.
    Search for armrest...looks good, gonna order one.
  • Out here close to DC at Tysons Corner

    Last week we went into the second dealership and I told the sales manager I wanted the 2003EX4WD Auto in satin silver with:
    Seatback bungees
    Shade Screen(for skylight)
    Carpet floor mats
    Keyless entry
    Cargo net
    Cargo Cover

    Plus taxes, processing, destination, DMV fees-


    My highest I (silently) felt comforable was $20700.
    He took five minutes and said $20850.
    We got started on the paperwork.

    2/30,000 worth of free oil changes

    Of course my fiance wanted the extended dealership warranty which added another $985 so we have 6/100,000 with an insane amount of things covered including rental cars or hotels away from home til the work is finished.

    No financing.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    If you are having buyer's remorse about the extended warranty, often they are cancellable. Check the fine print.

    Steve, Host
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,554
    I've been gone therefore I didn't respond before.

    Yopu can have all of the degrees in the world however, it's always the prevaling MARKET that determines pricing. Same thing applies to houses and other things.

    So, it really doesn't matter what the dealer paid for a car. If the dealer won the car in a contest, and got it for free, it's still worth whatever the market is at that time.

    If a dealer's lot is crammed with a slow selling model, of course, they will take a very slim deal just to move the inventory. If it's a hot seller in short supply it'll be a different story.

    This should all seem so simple.

    As far as your "floorplan" advise, your facts are terribly distorted but I won't respond to that. No, we do not list or charge a "floorplan" charge. I have no idea what other dealers selling other brands do.
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    There's actually a good reason why they put the small armrest and a floor center console on the Element. Just like the CR-V, Honda wanted to provide the ability to climb through to the backseat easily without getting out of the car. The concept is common among minivans, and seems to be aimed at the parents among us. Odd, however, that the car is not exactly marketed to those in the minivan segment.

    I too thought about springing for the larger armrest, but decided against it when I saw that the installation requires you to cut into the seatback cover with a utility knife. I would think that once the integrity of the fabric is compromised, that little cut can easily become a gaping hole over time. I'll stick with the smaller armrest, thank you.
  • I am poisting this info out of being nice. To those shopping in the Chicagoland area, no one seems to be able to beat Grand Honda in Elmhurst, IL. This was in this Sunday's paper.
  • elby1elby1 Posts: 2
    That sounds like an excellent deal, Kayla. For comparison purposes so I can translate to NY $s, may I ask what the VA sales tax and DMV would have cost (or at least what the VA tax rate is)?

    Thanks very much,
  • ycyashycyash Posts: 1
    I just bought a Honda Element EX 2004, Side airbags, Manual. With 6 Year / 100,000 mile warranty for the total of about $21,200 with tax & tags & a cargo net. The MSRP for the warranty is around 1100, but I was able to get it for 850.
This discussion has been closed.