element or minivan for dogs? [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: element or minivan for dogs?

05-01-2005, 12:27 PM
I am trying to decide between a used minivan or a new element. We have large dogs and I am wondering if they would be more comfortable in a minivan, due to a real low entry level. I read that one of you travels with mastiffs in yours. Do you feel it is a better choice than a minivan? Would the minivan get to dirty/smelly, as opposed to the platic interior of the element? Please help with your experiences.

05-01-2005, 12:53 PM
I have a 47lb dog that enjoys riding in the car.

The dog has occupied my prior vehicle, a Ford Windstar(JUNK!!), as well as the Element.

To me there were few differences between the two, in terms of canine transport... wait, my dog agrees. :)

The lower entry point on a minivan is a valid point, but I don't think it would be more than an inch or two lower.

The Element has a slippery floor, and is one of the main reasons I purchased the Murdock mat, which helps greatly. It also prevents the floor from getting scratched by claws

I guess if you frequently transport wet dogs, the Element might be better suited.

Go Honda or Toyota if you go the minivan route. Everything else will only disappoint you in terms of dependability or resale value. A minivan would also be appealing if it's second row windows were power roll-down.

05-01-2005, 02:01 PM
We still have our Caravan, but love the E. We bought the E with our dogs in mind, and it's great....BUT...the biggest advantage the minivans have concerns ventilation. The E can get very hot; the windows in the side(back) doors really don't let in that much air, and they can't be controlled when driving, and the rear sunroof also lets in a lot of heat. We've had the E over a year and have tried all different kinds of options, but the Caravan still wins hands down as far as dog comfort, and cleanup as well. It loses big time when it comes to the fun-to-drive factor. Gas mileage in the Caravan is better than the E and the sliding side-door access is great, but spurting the E around town, especially through snow, sure beats the minivan.

05-01-2005, 03:29 PM
My dog isn't as much at ease in the Element seats. He's a 60 lb lab-mutt. The captains chairs & rear bench seats in the old aerostar were more to his liking. Plus the floor is slippery.

I told him to get over it. He isn't making the payments.

Galapagos Turtle
05-01-2005, 04:14 PM
My Husky and Shepperd both love the Element! They really liked the seats and I didn't mind either as the fur was easy to clean up, but I was afraid their claws might injur the fabric. They reside now in the back and still have plenty of room on short trips and for longer trips I take out the seats and install a dog cage. I have enough backseat drivers as is..:lol: As for the slippage factor; I purchased some outdoor carpet (generally found around pools) and cut that to fit the back. The girls love it and it too doesn't hold hair!

I know if you search the threads you'll find a neat site that sells pet ramps. There's some great pics too.

Good luck!

hiker chick
05-01-2005, 04:30 PM
Gidget (42-pound Samoyed) loves the E! Her last car was a Miata so the E is a vast improvement for her, space-wise.

She rides on one of the rear seats, folded flat, with a beach towel covering it. Have the Honda all-weather mats on the floor.

She is frequently muddy and soaking wet from hiking and swimming. In fact, I need to go retrieve her towel from the E and put it in the washer. Extremely muddy hike this morning and she just got a bath to wash it away.

We're taking the E on its first camping trip weekend after next. I'll finally take a bunch of pics and post. Gidget and the E.

My sister's Samoyed's chariot was a Chrysler minivan, which worked very well. Especially when he aged and became arthritic. He was 70 pounds.

05-02-2005, 08:51 AM
We have a 77lb (male) greyhound and a 62lb (f) grey. They both love it! The side entry is actually a tad lower than the rear. Having no carpets and an easy to clean interior is a HUGE plus over a carpeted mini van. The Murdock mats are a definate buy because even if you put dog beds down they don't slide around like they do on the vinyl flooring.

05-02-2005, 09:03 AM
I have 3 greys (all over 70 lbs) , and they were used to a 2 dr Ford Escort, so they LOVE the Element. I just put the Murdock mat in back, and 3 dog beds. They love the fact that they can lie down and not touch each other. I haven't taken them out much yet, but plan to this summer.


dog drool
05-02-2005, 12:04 PM
I traded in a grand caravan for my element. I took my mastiff shopping with me when I bought the E. the matiff could get in to the E easy as she got older she would put in her front and I would lift the back end in, no problem. The up side of the E is it is much easer to clean, do get the mats so the dog doesen't slide. The van was difficult to keep clean, drool every where., also the doggie oder did not wash out The pluse of the van is you can crate the dog. large crates do not fit well in the E. With eithe car I pulled out the seats had a 2 person 1 dog car.

05-02-2005, 12:23 PM
Our Basset/Beagle mix, 45 lb, thinks her E is the best.
She can easily jump into the back door when open and with the higher back seats she has 360 degree view of the outside. She wishes the back window rolled down for her to get air, but she can get some fresh air from the pop out windows.
Easy in & out, easy clean up. These are really cars for people with dogs.

05-18-2005, 10:02 AM
Our two Greyhounds (as well as our Beagle mix) where one of the deciding factors for buying the E. We'll put one back seat in so the dogs can rest on different levels and out of each others space. (KIDS!)
Besides, who wants to be seen in just another minivan?!

05-18-2005, 11:16 PM
I have owned 2 minivans and 2 SUVs, and the Element (for my dog, a German Shepherd / Collie mix) wins hands down! The side entry (suicide door entrance) is plenty low enough for the dog to get in and out of. I keep one seat folded up out of the way, which lets him roam up to the front, or stay in the back. I use my wife's yoga mats (one unrolled up the aisle and one across the back area) to prevent the dog from sliding around (and scratching the floor). Works like a charm! I wouldn't have ANY OTHER SETUP, and there's room for 2 decent-sized dogs. My friend often brings along his Golden Retriever...

Regarding the observation about heat dissipation, I haven't experienced a summer yet with my new Element... That could be a problem, although I'm thinking of rigging up a screen for the rear hatch. (Nobody will approach my car with the dog sitting inside, and this will allow air to flow in much greater volume).


05-19-2005, 07:38 PM
We just bought a (flashlight)battery-powered fan unit to aid air circulation in the back...it's the kind that's used on wire dog crates at dog shows, etc. Just have to figure out the best way to utilize it. It uses 4 D-cell batteries, or some kind of 6-volt adapter.