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Honda Element Prices Paid and Buying Experience



  • First of all, I hope I'm posting this in the right place and apologize if I'm not. I'm freaking out because I'm so confused about several things and I'm literally planning on buying an Element in the next week or two.
    I've read SO much on here, and today I went through the process of getting 3 price quotes on the EX AWD, manual. I've been researching everything about the vehicle on this site for several weeks, tho it may not seem like it.
    1. I'm getting bombarded with e mails and phone calls from the 3 dealerships from whom I requested quotes and all of them keep making reference to my '4W Element', although I requested info. on the 'AWD'. IS there an AWD as stated and why aren't any of the salesmen addressing that instead of a 4WD?
    2. This is going to sound so stupid, but I thought options (which aren't available from what I read) were the same thing as accesseries. I just went to the Honda website and saw a long list of them, so that has thrown me off. Would any Element owner recommend any interior accessories in particular, although I'm basically looking for practicality with a tad of snazzyness and a canine-mobile? (I.e., the arm rest with storage, etc.)
    3. Could someone please explain what this salesperson means by this statement in the e mail: "Any pricing information that follows via email or on the phone is only valid through our Internet Department Manager".
    4. Ditto on this question a different salesperson asked me in an e mail:
    "Do you specifically and only have to have a 2008 Honda Element or would you consider a similar vehicle especially if I could save you several hundred dollars?" (What does he mean by that and why would he be asking me that question??). I don't know if this matters, but this is going to be a cash purchase.
    Secondly, I really am sorry for my ignorance and the length of this post. I have looked this site over despite my questions. I'm a scared woman when it comes to buying new vehicles and would truly be grateful for any help. Thank you SO MUCH!
  • Hi, Congratulations on choosing the Element as your next vehicle. We (the wife and I) have one and we could not be happier (out to 1600 miles now). By way of comparison we also own an 08 Accord EXL V6 which we are also happy with. I will try to answer your questions, but the first thing that I will tell you is that the Element is the most discounted vehicle in the Honda line-up. It is not unheard of that some dealers will sell one at their unit cost, or even below their unit cost just to move inventory. I posted my buying experience in this forum post #686, the price that I paid was $1500 to $2000 below the then Edmunds TMV price. Please remember that in this economy the advantage is yours. :) Q1= The terms as used are interchangeable. There are only front wheel drive and all wheel drive. Q2= Better not to buy any at dealer all are available from internet Honda dealers cheaper (Bernardi honda or others) Q3= Phrase means pricing not good with floor salesman, who sometimes have a different price and compensation schedule! Internet sales is often part of fleet sales who can offer a deeper discount (theory being lower overhead) Q4= Who knows, maybe he has a used one he would like to sell, or a move you to a car with more mark up. Ps. While you are proud to pay with cash, the dealer will not see this as a positive (they make money on financing) probably better to keep that fact to your self until you agree on a price ;) It helps to know how many units your local dealers have in inventory. And be ready to walk out if necessary (you can always go somewhere else or even comeback later after a cool down period). Good Luck!
  • gmitch, I wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post with such detail. That was really nice of you and you helped me a lot! This is where I am now:
    The only local dealer in my area has made me an bottom line offer (on the '08 EX Manual) of $21,588. That includes title, taxes and something else I can't remember. He also said it would include floor mats, cargo tray, exhaust cover and wheel locks.
    I received a less expensive price from another dealership, but it's in another state, so the local salesperson cautioned me about the title and tag expenses I'd have to pay which would consequently drive the price up to what he's offering.
    Is that a good price?? I'm SO disappointed in not being able to get the color I wanted; he checked the 4 state region. He stated the 08's were getting few and far between.
    I just wonder if I should lay back for a few days or accept that price. Thanks for anyone's help and again, gmitch, much gratitude to you!
  • gmitch7 almost got 100% (apologies to gmitch). There is a huge difference between AWD and 4WD.

    All Wheel Drive (AWD) means power is being sent to all four wheels all of the time - hence AWD. Some people like to have the added power to the four wheels at all times but, having AWD will cost you at the pump.

    Meanwhile, 4WD is a term that means power can be sent to all four wheels if needed. Honda offers what is called, "Real Time 4WD". That means that 90% of the time you're driving your Element you'll be in front wheel drive. However, when accelerating on to the freeway for example, the Real Time 4WD sends power to all four wheels to provide firm and steady acceleration. The other time(s) your Element will be in 4WD is when the front wheels begin to lose grip again power will be shifted to the rear wheels to help gain traction and once the added traction is no longer needed, you'll once again be in a more fuel efficient 2WD.

    To address one other thing, some accessories (or added options) do require installation and you're not a very handy person, I would suggest purchasing those items from the dealer and having them install them. Other, simple installation items can be found online at deeply discounted prices. So do some shopping and figure out what take serious labor vs. easy install. Just my .02
  • Hi, gmitch here ;) ;) Sorry if my post wasn't clear! In my post, when I said that they are used interchangeably, I did not mean that they are mechanically the same. What I meant was, that in his specific case (buying an Element), the terms being used by the various Honda persons responding to his request for a price quote are using them interchangeably even if inaccurately . There are two kinds of Element, front wheel drive and real time 4 wheel drive. He mentioned that dealers referred to the other kinds which don't exist in the Element trims. Sorry!!!
  • You are welcome! About your second post, I don't know where you are (for some reason I thought Washington state?), but it could make a difference in how much inventory they have. In my experience the volume dealers (the ones who sell more cars) are likely to have a larger supply of Elements (its my understanding that they are given "x" number Elements for "x" number of the good selling cars (think Accords and Civics), and because Elements don't sell as well they tend to pile up (a dealer around here would have a lot of Elements if had 7 or 8 since their sales are rarer) Most of the dealers here have a browseable online inventory (not 100% accurate but close enough), if not you can go to the dealership and count the Elements and trims for yourself (don't forget to look on the back lot). You can even go after they are closed so that you don't have to talk to anybody! You need to have a good idea how many they have of the type you want (even though they might only have 2 or 3 in the trim that you want, that's plenty since they don't sell that many per month. Look at how often there are post in the Element price paid forum compared to the Accord forum). Respectfully I doubt that they gave you a bottom line offer until they are sure that you are not shopping their price at other dealers, plus a bottom line offer at the beginning of the month might look very different at the end of the month when he might need just one more deal to make his quota or qualify for the next level of bonus (this is the advantage of buying on the last day or couple of days at the end of the month). I can't evaluate your offer because I don't know what the tax, title, license, Doc and other fees are for you area (give us the price of the vehicle before those fees). Buying out of state is no more expensive than buying locally, except for the travel cost since the taxes and other fees are generally the same (call your local tax office and get an estimate). You won't pay double taxes. You can call the out of state dealer and tell them that you are going to "tag and title" it in your area and they can tell you what you will pay. It is not uncommon for them to throw in cargo tray, mats, and wheel locks (they have a cost, but the actual cost to the dealer is nominal). About your color, it might not be available (but then again, it might be that he simply wants to sell you what he has), you can easily get a list of Honda dealers and their phone numbers on the internet and call them yourself. You can not know that what he said is true, and you are responsible for yourself. Ps the 2008s are all that there is, the 2009s have not yet been introduced. Should you lay back?? In my opinion YES! Nothing to lose everything to gain (gives you more time to research the details and gives the dealer more time to get desperate for one more deal). I only buy at the end of the month and it has served me well. The only other thing I can tell you is to feel free to mention the other dealers sales person's name during the negations (they are very competitive and don't want to loose you to another dealership, and it shows that you have other sources of information). Good luck!!!!

  • May I make another suggestion--delay as long as possible the purchase of this Element. The reason or the strategy--the U.S. economy is about to crash. The DJ diving at 500+ points a day is going to continue sending this country and the world into a real bad recession. Soon the auto dealers will feel this impact and will be devastated and dealership failures will result. It's happening already. Maybe the beginning of 2009 might be a good time to walk in and tell them you want this car "way" below invoice, and make it clear you'll walk if they don't accept. Most likely they will be desperate enough to accept your terms. I'm in the So. Calif area, and there has to be at least twenty dealerships. You'll be soon holding all the trump cards. Good luck.
  • skang1skang1 Posts: 1
    Great, choice. I have an '03 Element and will be getting an '08 probably in another wk or 2. I show dogs and I can fit up to 2-400 crates and a 300 crate in the back of my Element after taking both back seats out. It has been an outstanding car. I currently have 217k miles on my Element...and next to no mjr repairs...I replaced 1 strut and had to replace some kind of clip/holder (can't remember the exact part) on or near one of the front wheels. Both of those repairs were in the neighborhood of $500...not cheap, but I still wouldn't consider it major. I have had new breaks once and have also been doing very well with Yokohama tires...I seem to get about 85k miles on them...I am now in need of my 3rd set...the factory tires only lasted about 45k miles if that much. I think with the taxes, title, and license and the thing you can't remember the price they are telling you sounds very good. It seems that the good prices are in the 20,000 ball park. Good luck and I hope you have many happy outings with your pups.
  • Price of $17,630 includes everything except actual cost of taxes and tags, which, of course, vary from state to state. Dealer was Auto Park Honda in Cary. No options purchased. Nice car. Very pleased with the deal. I don't think 5-speed manuals are selling very well, but the 5-speed makes the car quite zippy.
  • Hello everybody, this is my first post...i recently purchased an 08 element EX awd (gray) on Oct. 15, 2008...The sticker price was 23,860 but my cost was only 20,200 plus doc fee of 200 for a total of 20,400 excluding taxes and plates...The dealer said the mark-up was only about 1600 and there was dealer cash of a 1000.
    There was no trade.

    I sold toyotas for 2 years and learned alot about the car business during that time...Many times I sold vehicles for well under invoice, sometimes even under holdback...To get these kinda deals everything had to fall into place just right...For example, year-end model, slow day, manager's mood, they need to move a car for future allocations...However, it never failed the biggest winners were the shoppers who were either threatening to go outta town for a better deal or had just driven quite along way to get a better deal than what they found in their hometown. And while the internet is a great way to get a good price you will still get the best price negotiating in person.

    Here's how it all went down...I live in Omaha and got my best price at all three locations, the best quote was 20,860..The quotes varied by as much as 700 between those three..I then went to Williamson Honda in Lincoln(50 miles away) and they matched my best price in Omaha...Still not satisfied (I know traveled miles equates to dollars saved), I called a Honda dealer in St. Joseph, MO and told them the price I was trying to beat, they essentially said they could match it and I asked them if they could beat it, to my surprise they said yes by a couple hundred dollars and the next day I drove down(about 150 miles)...Being in the car business before I wasn't going to settle for their quote of 20,660, so after driving the element we went inside and I told them during the presentation of numbers that the total I was willing to pay was 20,400 including the doc fee ( find out what the doc fee is before making your offer)...It took a while but they eventually accepted my offer especially knowing if I left they would never see me again...

    remember, never act to eager!!!
  • Bought an '08 Element SC in Root Beer for $20,300.50 a month ago. Dealer threw in the all-season floor mats, I got the cargo tray, wheel locks and fog lights. From reading other posts, I believe the deal was right. I used the internet quote strategy and it really seemed to bring the dealers down to earth. My initial quotes were some 2K higher, but with patience and email print-outs, I finally got a price that I felt comfortable with at one of my local dealers. I found another section of this forum which has accessory installation instructions, and plan to use it to add some underbody spoiler trim and a roof rack. I found the dealership's prices for the parts and installation were a bit inflated, and the items I want to add are relatively simple to install with the directions I found. Wish me luck. I've never owned a car longer than 2 years, but as much as I like this Element, I can imagine driving it 'til it falls apart. Being a Honda, that's gonna be a long, long time.
  • pd $18,700 ... now that Honda is offering a $1,500 cash to dealer incentive! We have 2 dealers in town and the Element is my 3rd Honda purchase in 7 months (long story). My preferred dealer had (1) 08 EX left, but could not sell it at the other dealer's price, though he would have loved to have had my repeat biz. He said the price I got is over $1K under cost, and he was pretty flabbergasted. I looked up the Edmunds TMV - $18,697 - emailed my offer of $18,700, and my offer was accepted by the internet manager with no negotiation at all. I paid cash, no trade, etc. ... so that simplified things. MSRP sticker was $22,460.
  • Hello
    I don't know if everybody gets my experience with 2009 Element models, but here is my story.
    1. Emailed 4 Honda dealers about their price for 2009 Element (Alabama), only one replied (Brannon Honda). For LX 4WD the quote was 21.300 OTD. We scheduled a test drive ASAP
    2. Entered the dealership. "Sorry, we don't have 2009 Element right now, but here is 2008 EX 4WD you can test drive". OK, did test drive it. Told them, it is not what I want, but we went to see how it goes (3700 rpm at 75 mph Interstate, my CRV easily keeps 2500 rpm at 80 mph - same engine).
    3. Went to discuss 2009 Element price. "We can't deliver it before 5/2009, nobody else can in AL". WTF? "We can give you OTD price for 2008 EX 4WD as $22.300, it is a great price!"
    What a waste of time.
    People, do you have this problem everywhere, or it's only AL? There are some 2009 on eBay all the time, but not many.
  • Hi newcrvman:

    Sounds like you're getting the run-around. I sold Hondas a few years ago, and they're jacking with you. When I bought my end of season '08, they had about 5 '09 models on the ground in all the trim lines at Bob Howard Honda here in Oklahoma City. An LX can be had for under 20K, so their price sounds a little high. I'm not sure what dealer incentives are available on the '09s, but my '08 SC had $1500 in dealer incentive. Plus, I got into their holdback a little bit. You can check this out incentives on the Edmunds incentives page when you search/research the Element you want. They likely don't have any rebates, but usually have dealer incentives. That's free money, if you can get them to part with it. And trust me, they're not gonna tell you about it. With the car market as it is today...even with the fast selling should be able to get a better deal. When I bought mine, I was the only person in the show room. Let's face it, even Honda is having a hard time. The Civic is where they're not budging much on price, not the Element. Very hard to believe that they won't have any '09s until May. I bought my '08 in November '08, and as I said, the dealership here had several '09s...I even looked at one, but couldn't get the color I wanted, so went with the '08. There was no difference in the way they drove. I personally preferred the '08 to the '09, but that's just a personal choice. There isn't that much difference...just a change to the headlights, tailights, grille, and seat fabrics, so it's not like it's a totally new vehicle they're rolling out. Stick to your guns, get some more internet quotes...even from surrounding states. They won't know if you're really willing to drive to another state for a better deal. Print the quotes & see the sales manager and let him know you're serious...he won't let you walk. Also, the best deals to be had are always on the last sales day of the month. They always want to sell JUST ONE MORE, so they make concessions they might not ordinarily make. If you get the deal you want, it might be almost a no-money deal,so they may try to make it up in the finance department. It pays to have you're financing arranged ahead of time...but don't let them know that. Hope this helps, and best of luck. I'm willing to bet you can do better.
  • Thank you so much. Well, they are busy selling new Accords, so they don't really care about delivering me that Element when Accord sells, I think. I know 2008 and 2009 are about the same, but I can't stand the way muffler looks like in 2008 - in 2009 it is much nicer. LOL, I know that for most of the people it is funny, but that small thing makes all the difference to me. I will check with GA, TN and TX - the 2009 Elements on Ebay were from those states. 3 major dealers in AL just don't have any 2009 Elements seating there, so it is just easier to deal with somebody who has. Thank you again
  • Not funny at all about the looks of the I mentioned...I looked at an '09, but the way they changed the taillights and grille sorta put me the color I wanted was discontinued in '09. Hey, if I'm gonna pay $20K for something, I'm gonna get what I want. Good luck to you if you utimately get to pull the trigger...If I can be of any further help, just holler.
  • I am a Honda dealer in the Minneapolis area. I did a quick search for a 2009 Element LX 4WD in my internal Honda locater for the following states: AL, TN, GA and MS. In the four states I found three. Wolfchase Honda of Bartlett, TN has two and Gerald Jones Honda of Martinez, GA has one. Just for fun I checked OK to see what they show in-stock. I found that Don Carlton Honda of Tulsa has one and Bob Howard of OK City has just one as well.

    Your local dealer is correct, no one in AL can deliver one until May.
  • Hey mplshondadlr:

    That's too bad...what is their deal? But I do know that Bob Howard had 5 on the ground when I bought my '08. That's not very good customer service. Not available until May??? Heck, I think I'd tell them to get lost. Even though the majority of people are wanting the Civics or Accords, I would think a dealer who wanted the business would go to the lengths necessary to secure the vehicle newcrvman is wanting...
  • The deal is Honda is no longer mass producing them. They have cut production on the SUV's and focused production on the Accord, Civic and Fit. The Element is a nitch vehicle anyway you look at it. Since it's introduction Honda has produced and sold fewer then 400,000. Nation wide there are fewer then 80 Element LX's available.

    For dealers, it has nothing to do with customer service. We're at the mercy of Honda. Were it up to us, we would sell everyone who walked through the door a car. Sometimes things are beyond our control. :mad:
  • That's so odd. There seem to be a ton on the road here in Central Texas. I like the Element, and have been trying to talk the wife into giving up her Xterra for one, but no dice so far. I hope they continue to make them for a few more years.
  • Hello mplshondadlr,

    Great that you participate in this forum. I really appreciate it. I don't think that I'm in the same boat as the person from Alabama (I hope) since I've been told otherwise from my dealer here in Mississippi.

    I have actually placed a small deposit (refundable anytime) on a 2009 EX 4WD auto that is supposed to be delivered within 45 days. I initially had a very bad sales experience with the internet manager that I escalated to Honda in Torrance, CA. This resulted in my ending up negotiating directly with the owner. He has indicated that the regional Honda rep will expedite my order in order to satisfy me as a customer and make up for the initial faux pas.

    After reading the post that stated no 2009's available until May got me worried. As you have access to info unavailable to us, would you mind checking to see if the same would hold true for MS - i.e. no deliveries until May? No slam on you as a dealer, but due to my experiences buying many cars and fleet vehicles, I'm somewhat dubious of car dealers and their promises.

    Best Regards,

  • Thank you, Mplshondadlr "Wolfchase Honda of Bartlett, TN has two" Just emailed them to see what they want OTD. I'm about to betray Honda and buy Hyundai Santa Fe SE AWD for 24.700 OTD, so, hopefully, they reply with something reasonable before I do it. 300 miles to drive to TN, but may go if they don't play games. Element LX AWD vs Santa Fe SE AWD, who knew where I will end up.. If it is not Element, then I want V6 and heated mirrors, LOL Also, it is strange, but Honda dealers do not give me good money for my CRV trade-in. "we need to certify it, it is $1800 to do it!" Why do I care if they want to certify it or not? Hyundai is giving me KBB with no problems, $1700 more than Honda.
  • LOL, my post got deleted. Stay away from Wolfchase Honda of Bartlett, TN - LX AWD listed at $23,xxx before tax, internet manager (Heather) is rude and incompetent. Apparently, Element is coming to an end if dealers started to charge more than MSRP for some models
  • They probably have it priced based on market value. In other words, they know there are very few out there to choose from. We all know what happens when demand exceeds supply - prices go up!

    But, a 2009 Element LX 4WD has an MSRP of $2215.00 - not north of $23K as you noted :confuse:

    If they're charging more then MSRP forget 'em!
  • Hello All,
    I live in the metro west boston area and I just got an '09 EX 4WD for $20k even. Wanted to know if I got a decent deal. It was only the second dealer (but 1800 less OTD quote) I went to, so I wasn't sure if I could have gotten a better deal elsewhere... Anyone add any insight? Also, anyone know of a good pet divider for the Element? I walk dogs for a living and they don't offer any accessory like this... It's funny how they try to sell you accessories with the cute little girl who promises she's getting you a good deal, then later to find out I could buy them cheaper at the dealer myself, without her getting any off the top. Bought a Thule roof rach for less $$$ with twice the load capacity. Other than that I had a good experience at Herb Chambers, although I was very paranoid and hypervigilant after reading all of the nightmares on sites like this. Looking forward to your responses... Thanks.
  • Sounds like a great deal. For mplshondadlr, check out the following site...appears they have 8 or so. t
  • Hi all- new here. I love the Es and have been looking for an '07 for quite a while. I ended up buying an EX for 12K. It is in perfect condition, and the salvage title came as a result of theft, not fire, flood or accident. I love it. Has anyone else ever bought a salvage title car? It's a whole new world for me. I'll be dealing with registration and insurance tomorrow. I have one week to pay, and make sure paperwork will go through. Very decent seller.
    would enjoy hearing others who have taken this unusual route. BTW, I got about 28 mpg today, which exceeded my expectations.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,798
    and the salvage title came as a result of theft, not fire, flood or accident

    I don't think insurance companies salvage stolen vehicles. They only salvage vehicles if the cost of repair exceeds 75% of the vehicle value.

    I would check with the insurance company that salvaged it, as to why they did that.
  • Hi scout9

    I work for an insurance company and have seen them total many seemingly undamaged vehicles. The reason for this is because many companies have a mileage many miles did the thief put on it? Also, they have no way of knowing how the vehicle was driven during it disappearance, where it went, how many time it changed hands while stolen etc. Insurance companies will total the vehicle because the odds are greater for them, if the owner retained the vehicle, that the insurance company would be dealing with a litany of complaints the insured might encounter with the vehicle down the road. It would be extremely difficult for the insurance company to deny payment for something that came up down the road and they don't want to take that chance. So they total it, pay the original owner, and the vehicle goes to a salvage auction. The selling price of a theft vehicle with no apparent damage can be quite high, and the insurance company is glad to take that offset, which basically amounts to an economic settlement. Theorectically it is often cheaper to total, sell the salvage and recoup the expenses, rather than risk being bombarded with constant complaints down the road which may or may not be related to the theft. That's the scoop, scout9, and since it's a Honda, I wouldn't expect trouble if you can't find anything wrong with it now. I've owned a Honda Accord with a salvage/rebuilt title that I bought for a song, and it turned out it was a recovered theft. I could find no evidence of body work or other damage. I owned the car for over 2 years with no problems whatsoever. Good luck with your Element.
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