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Honda Element



  • moonkatmoonkat Posts: 265
    It takes high self-esteem to be driving a vehicle of your choice and indifferent to the opinions of others. That driver is confident of himself and does not require ornamentation to make up for a diminished ego (or other deficiencies). He is free to pursue goals which reinforce and enhance his life.

    I have been ignoring the "Element is Ugly" rhetoric for awhile now, but I gotta say it is appalling. First for the intolerance displayed by these people, second by their ignorance. The Element is beautifully conceived on many levels - functional/ergonomic design, utility, technically, and yes even in shape it is visually appealing.

    The true test, as always, is time. We'll have to revisit these attitudes in a few years and then a decade later. Fortunately, for most of us, I am preaching to the choir :-)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's OK if some never get it, it's OK if 90% of people don't get it. I bet Honda is hoping that CR-V intenders do NOT like it.

    As long as the other 10% of shoppers in the segment get it.

  • I've been very excited about the E for months and have followed its development on the Honda website and the links you guys have given for reviews, etc. Thanks.
    I'm a 40 something female academic type and yeah I'm excited by this vehicle. I do lots of activities with my 2 year old collie and I wonder if Honda knows this may be the perfect dogmobile for those of us who cart agility equipment to trials and our dogs with all their gear. Some of the events are day trips and some for weekends a few hours from home. The lease will be up soon on my Sebring convertible (Inferno Red) and although the dog looks really good riding politely in the back seat of the Chrysler with the top down, I know I have to get some thing practical. And yes, I want it to be distinctive,-- I care a lot about design. My previous car was a Miata, midnight blue with tan leather. The Sebring WAS my way of getting a bit more practical.
    I live in Central Virginia and have been on the list (#2, they told me) since September to test drive an EX Auto 2WD as soon as the local dealer gets one in. To kill time and since I love researching cars, I've got a good deal perking along on an MPV LX that would be about $1,400 more than the E's MSR of 19,500. It's possible I won't like the Element once I drive it, or, those Honda salespeople could annoy me.
    I'll have to make up my mind quick about the MPV since the dealer incentive will last until just after the first of 2003.
    I am just the type of extravert you're talking about who won't mind at all if we are stared at in the sunset orange E. I only hope the cargo area is big enough for the dog, his crate, and a good amount of gear. I only need the 2 front seats so I guess I'd take the rear seats out if it helped with loading it up.
    Bottom line is I am a person who needs a minivan or roomier SUV (priced around 20K) and I really don't like my boring choices. So Honda is offering something different and I'm thrilled about that. The only SUV that excited me design wise was the XTerra and frankly, the Element looks like more fun. Anybody else see this as a good dogmobile and wish Honda would cool it a bit on the "dorm room on wheels" schtick?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mazda will very likely have new incentives after the current ones expire. In fact they would tend to increase, not disappear.

    I'd wait and try an Element.

    Get a Miata used as a 2nd vehicle. That's what I did. It's the perfect complement to an AWD practical ride. :-)

  • daveghhdaveghh Posts: 495
    I own a 02 CRV and if the Element came out at the same time the CRV did I would have seriously considered the E. I would have to see them and drive them in person but I like the styling and fuctionality of the Element.

    Although, the mileage in the Element is a little disapointing.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Along with Moonkat, I've avoided detailed discussion of the subject. But here goes...

    The Element is actually very well designed from a styling point of view. The look is very cohesive from front to back, top to bottom. The use of similar shapes in the windows, headlights, and other places is a strong and very effective motif. None of the shapes clash with one another and the body lines are resolved with reasonable care. In this regard, the Element has better styling than the CR-V.

    A truly ugly car (we cannot escape comparison with the Aztek on this) will have few themes in the shapes, confused lines, and awkward proportions. That is simply not true of the Element.

    What we have with the Element is a styling motif that is non-traditional, not ugly. Automotively speaking, Americans have little appreciation for the box as far as shapes go. We've embraced angular wedges, aero-wedges, over-sized lights, giant fins, bell-bottoms, and plaid pants, but few appreciate a box or simple square. They just aren't used in our culture. It's not because boxes are inherently ugly.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I think the function to price ratio for the Element is pretty good. It's a small minivan with a small price tag. Sure, you can get more space and more power from a larger minivan, but you also have to pay a larger price. This vehicle replaces cars like the old Civic Wagon, the Colt Vista, and the Eagle Summit. Frankly, it looks a lot better, too.
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    The styling doesn't bother me in the least.
    I probably won't buy one because of lack of engine power and because reviews have said the front seats are set very low, like sitting in a bathtub with your knees pointing up in the air and straining to see over the dash and hood. I hate that. I prefer chair-high seating.
    I remember when the Nissan Xterra came out many, many years ago in the 1990's and I was excited to go test drive one until I sat in the very low drivers seat that had no height adjustment.
    I will have to go sit in one and drive the Element to verify those things for myself, but if it turns out to be true, I won't ever get one.
  • My boyfriend is 6'6 (mostly legs) and his legs weren't up in the air. He had plenty of headroom and legroom. I was also looking at pictures of it today and saw that it does have a height adjuster on the driver's seat.
  • chris777chris777 Posts: 126
    2003 Element 2WD DX
    Manual - Retail $16,100 | Invoice $14,880.64
    Automatic - Retail $16,900 | Invoice $15,618.56
    2003 Element 2WD EX
    Manual - Retail $18,650 | Invoice $17,232.76
    Automatic - Retail $19,450 | Invoice $17,970.68
    2003 Element 2WD EXS (Side Airbags)
    Manual - June 2003
    Automatic - June 2003
    2003 Element 4WD DX
    Manual - May 2003
    Automatic - Retail $18,300 | Invoice $16,909.92
    2003 Element 4WD EX
    Manual - May 2003
    Automatic - Retail $20,850 | Invoice $19,262.04
    2003 Element 4WD EXS (Side Airbags)
    Manual - June 2003
    Automatic - June 2003
  • chris777chris777 Posts: 126
    i got to drive an element along with a crv (almost an accord too but the sales lady had to leave early plus i am getting a cold or a sinus infection so ill hold off a bit on a full review untill i feel better

    comfortable seats
    better visibility than crv
    quieter than crv at 75-80 mph


    auto shifter too "loose" and awkward
    i think the steering stalk like on pilot , oddesey and the 1st gen crv would be better
    same to the crv's new shifter though it did seem to stick better than elements

    I do not care for the lame stereo no matter who made it or how "loud" it is

    my left foot became tired and sore I dont know if it was the dead pedal position or the low seating

    low seating I felt like a kid (or one of those 90 lb women driving a suburban)

    window too high or maby it was the low front seating plus the design angle in the corner kept me from propping my arm up with the window down

    gauges the steering wheel blocked my view of them

    cruse was awkward had to reach really far (and search) just to activate it

    I roughly measured the length of the bed btw
    65' with front seats back and 75' slid to the front
    (no room to sit slid all lthe way up as well)

    it was very very strange unlike any vehicle I've ever been in.
    you just have to sit in it

    I'll comment more later when I get rid of this cold
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Looks pushed way aside ... what is so special about what the Element does? Ya it has lots of space for stuff, big deal. The function factor just sounds like a gimmick to me as it doesn't do anything special. Lots of attractive vehicles out there that do the same thing Element does and you don't have to constantly defend your purchase.
  • moonkatmoonkat Posts: 265
    Thanks for the preview Chris:
    That makes two real world testers who perceive it is "quieter than CRV". You and Isellhondas'.

    As for the 270 watt stereo - tell it like it is!
    Honda needs to get on the ball and satisfy you (near) Gen-Y'ers.

    How about performance & handling comparos as well?
  • civicwcivicw Posts: 135
    In a world of too many choices, the Element provides something "different", but the suicide doors are a hassle, IMO. I also think it misses its young demographic target with its relatively high cost. One can routinely get a Civic LX auto for about $14.5K before TTL. In contrast, the fully equipped 2wd Element will cost around $19.5K assuming no dealer markup.

    Regardless, Honda will sell out its production to a mostly older crowd.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Don't assume it lacks power until you try one.

    dindak: space for stuff is a big deal to someone shopping in this segment. Isn't it? I mean, are you looking for lateral g's and steering feedback when you drive one? Or room to fit 2 (dirty) mountain bikes inside?

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Lots of attractive vehicles out there that do the same thing Element does and you don't have to constantly defend your purchase."

    ...and cost as little as the Element?

    The large door openings, AWD option, removeable seats, and big cargo area are huge pluses for a vehicle ranging upward from $17K. Sure, a minivan will offer the same utility, but few are priced that low.

    I also think that you can't really push looks aside. The look of the vehicle is part of its function. The styling says something about the buyer and it's not remotely the same message broadcast by a wagon or van.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, MPV and Sedona, that's about it for matching that kind of space at that price, and both have FWD disease. ;-)

    I hear Honda is supposed to do a Crew Cab off the Pilot platform, so they sure are getting a little more courageous than usual.

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    We looked at an MPV. I didn't think it was cheap at all. IMO, it was priced similarly to bigger minivans, which in turn, made it appear expensive for what it offered. The Sedona gives you a good van for a decent price, but I'd take the Odyssey for the additional features that it offers (and no, not because it wears an H emblem). Although I really wouldn't since I really don't like the Ody's styling at all, but given the choice between that and a Sedona ,I would.
  • jona57jona57 Posts: 194
    Three cheers to Honda for daring to produce something different!!!! GM tried with the Aztek & has gotten nothing but undeserved grief for it. Say what you wish about either of these edgy vehicles, but they are certainly unique- which is reason enough to love them. I happen to like the styling of both the Element & the Aztek , although I find the Element's interior lacking a bit in comfort (e.g. front seat cushions too low). I like the extra interior touches in the Aztek (but to be fair it is more expensive- though not by much with the current rebates!). I hope Honda, GM and others produce more vehicles like these with controversial styling. The current plethora of near-identical sedans, minivans, and SUV's bores me to death!!!!!

  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    Ya.. it costs a bit less than a van but that's the more is better logic I don't follow. Price per square inch may be the lowest but I prefer a good meal to an all you can eat buffet.

    Like I said, looks aside, the utility / function Honda is trying to sell this thing on just doesn't sound like much more than a gimmick to me. I'll take the CR-V anyday.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    What a hoot! On my way back from teaching, I stopped by the Honda dealer to see if they had any Element brochures. Lo and behold, not only did they have brochures, but the car too!

    It is nippy and fun to drive. I got it out on the interstate and it was comfortable and quiet. It has an auto up/down driver's window.

    Negative: Temp spare and a 675 pound payload.

    When I got back there were two other people there waiting for test drives. One (a 30-something) of which, who had a 2-day old silver WRX wagon—and just put a deposit down on the Element! Honda will sell every one of these babies!

    The one I drove was a green AWD EX automatic.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A base model MPV starts at $20k street price around here, and that's an LX (they dropped the DX). And you get a 200hp V6 and a 5 speed Jatco automatic, 7 seats with a magic folding 3rd row, and the only minivan that lets you open the rear windows.

    MSRP for the Ody may seem close, but actual prices will run about $4-6 grand higher.

    Anyhow, lots of people like the "all you can eat" deals. Do you order crabs that way, or by the dozen? :-)

    Cool, Bob, I thought they said the 19th was the first day? Oh well.

    675 lbs, though? You sure? That's very low. No wonder they made it a 4 seater, you couldn't seat 5 adults without exceeding the payload.

    The RAV4 has just 760 lbs payload and I thought that was too low. I'm surprised, too, because they added beefier 16" wheels, so if anything I expected extra payload.

    Other impressions? Material and build quality? NVH control? Seats easy to fold? Rear seat comfort? Hose-out-ability?

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "I'll take the CR-V anyday."

    Then you would be like most people. However, and I can't believe we have to hammer this so often, the Element is not for most people.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Payload was either 675 or 645. I don't remember for sure. It was marked on the door jam. In either case, it's very low, and very disappointing, considering its potential usage, and potential for abuse. The thing weighs almost 3600 pounds! Towing is 1500 pounds, 1000 pounds if there are no trailer brakes; the same as the CRV.

    The quality seemed to be typical Honda; need I say more? I didn't have time to go over it with a fine tooth comb, as I handed over the keys to another "tester" as soon as I got back :(

  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    -a 200hp V6
    -5 speed Jatco automatic,
    -7 seats with a magic folding 3rd row,
    -the only minivan that lets you open the rear windows

    You also get a smaller minivan. That may float for some, but not for me. Kind of defeats the purpose of buying a minivan.

    Actual prices for the Ody is not as high as it was before. You'll still pay MSRP or close to MSRP, but it's not in the neighborhood of 4-6K higher. Check out for Nov's sales data...Odyssey is the #2 seller. Honda has increased production to try to meet demand. IMO, they're 80% there and there are quite a few dealers willing to negotiate now that they have the Pilot to gauge customers with.
  • moonkatmoonkat Posts: 265
    Just noticed the topic is a year old today.

    It's been fun while waiting for E to debut :-)
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    lol, see what you started? (We expect you to be here when the 5th Anniversary rolls around!).

    (btw, first post was 01/26/2002, but I won't tell anyone if you don't).

    Steve, Host
  • dindakdindak Posts: 6,632
    All you can eat sounds good, but it usually makes a person feel ill after the meal is done.


    Hey, if you can handle the glares of people all the power to you. The Aztek is also a great idea gone wrong. I think both vehicles would do better if they didn't try so hard to different. What the heck do I know.. Aztek still sells so why not Element.
  • chris777chris777 Posts: 126
    I've been trying to think of comparisons,
    all I came up with was the old motor homes built on truck and van chassis where once you get done driving to your destination you climb up into the passenger living compartment

    (I'll bet the E feels exactly like the nissan quest show car in the drivers seat)

    just felt weird
    I am still in shock especially since no one mentioned it in any of the reviews
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    It was confirmed in the report above, so now I don't need to bother test driving it.
    Maybe the seat is adjustable or maybe it will be changed for 2004.
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