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Honda Element



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Ridgeline is so much heavier that you can't even compare these two, at least in a multi-vehicle crash. Element may have better accident avoidance (it's nimbler) but the pickup has so much more mass.

  • tankbrotankbro Posts: 6

    Are you saying that more mass = more safety? All things being equal I would probably agree, but you pointed out that all things aren't equal; the nimbler vehicle may have some advantages. I will probably end up with the Ridgeline as it offers the mass advantage and the side curtain air bags. Still I would like to know more about the airbags offered in the Element. Do the side airbags protect the driver's head or can that only be accomplished by curtain-style airbags?
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    IIRC, most side airbags are typically designed to protect the chest area. Side curtains are typically designed to protect the head.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It's in a different size and weight class, so really you can't even compare them. NHTSA and IIHS acknowledge that.

    In multi-vehicle crashes, more mass sure does make you safer. The lighter vehicle absorbs the brunt of the crash energy.

    In a single-vehicle crash, crumple zones and even the ability to avoid a crash in the first place might recover some of that edge. But not all, IMO.

    The Element's air bags protect the torso, but not the head, I believe. Please correct me if I'm wrong, folks. Crash test scores are only OK, not great.

    Ridgeline is neat, that "trunk" is brilliant and it's so much wider in the rear seat, plus it has a lot more payload.

    If you don't think it's overkill for your needs, I say go for it.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Forester is one exception, it's side air bags protect the head and torso. But it's pretty uncommon.

    Side impact scores show that design works well, however, 5/5 stars in NHTSA and Good from IIHS in side impacts for the Forester. Plus the bags are standard.

  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    Yes, Subaru is doing everything well now except styling.
    The crash tests of the Forester and Outback are excellent, they get great gas mileage and now they are even on top of reliability ratings above both Toyota and Honda.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Are you saying that more mass = more safety?"

    The answer depends on the skills of the driver. But from a statistical point of view...

    "The report found that heavier vehicles in categories such as cars, SUVs and pickups generally had lower death rates. Among SUVs, the death rate in the lightest vehicles was more than twice as high as in the heaviest SUVs."

    From Detroit News
  • carlrcarlr Posts: 6
    Can you tell me where you got this information? I have not been able to get a commitment for curtain airbags on the '06 Element even by calling Honda.
  • believebelieve Posts: 74
    I thought I just read where the Outback failed
    the side impact test? I've been wrong before :>)
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    As posted above, Honda has stated that they will be adding several safety features (ABS, VSA, airbags, etc.) to all their light trucks by the end of calendar year 2006.

    The Element appears to be on a 5 year design cycle, just like most every other Honda product. In the fourth year of a five year cycle, the vehicle will get a refresh. This year was the CR-V's refresh. It got all the stuff Honda promised in their Safety for Everyone campaign.

    Next year is the fourth year for the Element (and also Pilot). So, both are due for this refresh. Both will also be sold as 2007 models - introduced in mid and late 2006. Technically, that would allow Honda to meet their Safety for Everyone promise, but upgrades like that in the very last year of production are almost unheard of.

    Of course, Honda reps will never confirm anything about future product changes. Even with the information sitting right on their desk.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Outback did very well in side impacts. It was the Legacy that tested poorly. Keep in mind there is about a 3" difference, i.e. the Outback sits a lot higher.

    Plus the Outback tested was a wagon, while the Legacy was a sedan.

    Subaru recalled the side air bags in Legacy sedans (only sedans) and the scores improved somewhat, but they were still only average.

    In a bizarre twist, an identical Legacy sedan earned the highest score of any car ever in Australian NCAP side impact tests.

    The tests are similar so noone can explain why. Go figure.

  • carlrcarlr Posts: 6
    Thanks for the info. When you say that "upgrades in the last year of production are almost unheard of," do you mean that is why they will do the airbag upgrade in the fourth (2006) versus the fifth year? Does this ALSO mean there will not be a 2006 ELEMENT model but only a 2007? I am anxious to buy one but I guess I may have to wait another year because I don't want one without curtain airbags.

    Suppose I could buy one now and trade it later but then there is the hit for depreciation!
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Put yourself in Honda's shoes. Would you spend a whole lot of money making changes to vehicle that is scheduled to get a complete overhaul one year later? That is why late upgrades are very rare.

    If Honda sticks with the 5 year cycle (and there's nothing to suggest that they won't), the Element should get a refresh for the 2006 model year. This refresh should include the curtain style airbags in addition to the seat-mounted backs that are already an option. Those vehicles should hit the lots in November or December of 2005.

    Then we will see a 2007 model at the very end of 2006. That will be the last year for the current generation of the Element. The vehicle will only see minimal changes that year - cosmetic stuff.
  • carlrcarlr Posts: 6
    Thanks again. Makes sense. At least I won't have to wait as long for the curtain air bags. Sounds like they are only about 7-8 months away.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    We don't know that the refresh includes side curtain airbags. It may not.
    Most likely the refresh will include standard ABS and seat mounted torso airbags (the same ones that are now available as an option), new paint colors, new tail lights, revised grill, bumpers, wheels and seat fabric.
    Honda has not promised side curtain airbags on all vehicles until the end of calendar year 2006.
    It would be nice if side curtain airbags were to appear on the 2006 Element though, but they have not been promised by Honda.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Yes, Honda has not promised curtain bags until the end of 2006, but there is no good reason for them to wait that long. Read up a few posts. There are no promises, but it is likely.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    The end of calendar year 2006 happens to coincide with the release of the next Element, so that seemed like a hint.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    No, the end of 2007 would coincide with the next Element.

    2003 Intro
    2004 2nd year
    2005 3rd year
    2006 refresh
    2007 final year

    The resdesign comes in the form of the 2008 model year.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    OK, then I'll look for side curtain airbags, ABS and VSC in the 2006 Element this December.
    If it has all that by then, I'll probably go sit in one and test drive it to see if I like the way it drives.
  • jlim1jlim1 Posts: 50
    I was initially interested in the CR-V, but by the news of it there have been reports of CR-V engine fires and PTTR.
    Has anyone known of similar incidents in the Elements? I guess they are not exactly identical mechanically, or do they (just in different skin)?
    Please advise. Thanks much.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    IIRC there was one single Element fire, but that's not enough to establish any sort of pattern. Actually, that low number implies there has not been the same problem.

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The Element (and Accord) are built here in the states. Thus, they are not shipped overseas and not subjected to the same conditions which caused the sticky gasket issue. That is what apparently led to the problems with the CR-V (which is shipped from Japan and the UK).

    On PTTR, yes, I believe some Element owners have reported problems.
  • mdubmdub Posts: 1
    Wife and I are thinking of buying an AWD EX Auto when the 2006 models hopefully come out with side curtain airbags. Any owners out there with small infants that have some input on kids (specifically infants) and the element?
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I'm not an owner, but you might want to consider this.

    The Element's rear seat is positioned way back in the vehicle. To secure or remove an infant from a car seat may require that you lean way over and into the car. Not especially good for your back.

    On the other hand, there is so much space in the backseat area, you may be able to climb right in and manage the child from inside.

    Both situations will depend largely on how big/small you and your wife are. It's something you should try while shopping.
  • goltgogoltgo Posts: 54
    Not an owner either, but I thought I should mention that the deep rear seat can be seen as an asset as well when it comes to infant seats. With the arrival of my nephew, the happy grandparents had to choose between putting the rear-facing car seat in granpa's Outback or granma's Element. In the Outback, the front passenger seat had to be brought all the way forward on its track and the incline adjusted to an awkward upright stance in order to provide enough room for the rear-facing seat behind it. The child seat is designed to flip around to face forward once the child is old enough, so it may be larger than rear-facing-only seats out there, and you might not encounter this problem. At any rate, the seat fit fine in Granma's Element. It is hard to get the little one out if you are determined to stay standing on the street, but she prefers to get in the back and sit next to him as she's unbuckling him, pick him up, and then climb out. Just my two cents...
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I initially had a PT Cruiser, which had too small a trunk to be useful. I compared it to an Element, but the trunk area was actually the same (small) because the Element has all this space between the front and back seats. We ended up getting the CR-V, which has less rear seat legroom, but much more trunk space. On the CR-V, you can also slide the rear sear forward and backward and/or recline it to trade off between trunk space and rear seat leg room. The CR-V had plently of room for both a backward facing baby seat and now for the front facing seat. Like you mentioned, front facing seats aren't space hogs, just the rear facing seats.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    The CR-V is a better choice people with kids.
    The rear doors of the Element will be an unbelievable hassle as you deal with infant car seats and letting kids in a out at soccer practice.
    The Element is also a 4 seater, which is not suited for families. The CR-V serves that purpose well, so why fight with an Element trying to make it do what it isn't intended to do?
  • gee35coupegee35coupe Posts: 3,475
    You don't have a center post to deal with when working with the back seat. There is just a big opening in the side of the vehicle just like a minivan.
  • I have young children, with one still in a car seat and the another in a booster chair. I just purchased an Element EX AWD and I have no problem with access to the rear seats.

    Regarding the 2006 Elements, I believe you won't start to see those until October-November 2005.
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    A minivan would completely ideal for families since a minivan also would not have the center post, plus lots more room, plus none of the Element's problems of letting rear passengers in and out of the back seats.
    When you have children that need to be let in and out of the back seat on a frequent basis, it will be a nightmare having to deal with opening both front and rear doors of an Element.
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