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Old 04-15-2011, 03:48 PM   #1
Haulin' Honda
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I am now ready to buy a used Element now. What year seems to be the most reliable?

Ok, so I am ready to buy a used Element now. My budget is a Maximum of $15k, what year should I be looking for that has had the least amount of typically known problems? I don't care if the panels are painted or not. I do mostly in town driving. I do want the EX model. I want AWD. Thanks for your input!
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:17 PM   #2
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It doesn't seem like there were any particularly "bad" years for the Element...the car was largely unchanged for its entire model run from 2003 to present, with the exception of the addition of a 5sp auto (vs the 4sp auto) in 2007. There were some minor refinements here and there, but nothing really major has changed on the car. FWIW, it seems like the people with newer model Elements are getting better gas mileage than us with the earlier models, likely the result of the new 5sp automatic.

With a budget of $15k, you should be able to find a relatively new, low mileage example with little trouble. I bought my 05 two years ago with 58k miles on it for $12500, so you should be able to find a nice 07-08 in your range.

Incidentally, the transmission is the only thing that I hate about my Element -- I gave up looking for one with a manual transmission in my area because they seem to be extremely rare (with AWD). That was my mistake and I should have held out. This is the first automatic I've owned, and I think it sucks the fun right out of the car...it just feels so much more sluggish than it should. I assume the newer 5sp automatics are a little better, but I'm kicking myself for not searching out a manual transmission model. Still, I LOVE my Element and it suits our needs quite well.

Happy shopping!
Brian
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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I'd recommend an '07 or later. Starting with '07 you get a slightly more powerful engine, a transmission with more speeds which can help with gas mileage, the seat belts are integrated into the front seats instead of the doors so you don't have to unbelt to let a passenger in a rear seat out and I think you also get side airbags starting with '07.

Just bought my '07 a couple of weeks ago - AT, AWD, 55k miles for $12,900 before tax and fees.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:49 PM   #4
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side airbags have been available since 2003 actually.

The 5AT does not make for any more of a spirited driving experience than the 4AT. All the 5AT did was add another overdrive to the transmission thus improving the mpg.



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Old 04-16-2011, 01:48 AM   #5
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I always vote 05-06 as the best years. 03-04 had a few recalls that were fixed by 05, and the 07-08 models have brake issues that I still see members complaining about.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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Don't forget the coolant issue in a handful of 2005s.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:11 AM   #7
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The 2003/2004 models have the most comprehensive owner experience statistics. What issues they had/have are well documented.

The E has experienced a lot of changes since the model was introduced in 2003. Most of the "skin", brakes, transmission and engine components have been modified. If you believe in such things the CR listings showed electrical issues in 05/06 and body hardware problems peaking in 06/07. The '11 model is questionable because of the small production volume.

IMO, the 07/08 models are probably the sweet spot.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:30 PM   #8
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Is the gas mileage between the '06 & '07 models really that much different because of the 5 speed, or is it just minimal? 75% of my driving is in town

Last edited by Haulin' Honda; 04-17-2011 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 04-18-2011, 06:38 AM   #9
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The mileage appears to be about the same depending on your driving style. I have an 06 MT and love it. I test drove both the AT and MT. If you can find one and like MT, thats the way I'd go. A big difference in performance. MPGs about the same for both.
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Old 04-18-2011, 07:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigDouggler View Post
I'd recommend an '07 or later. Starting with '07 you get a slightly more powerful engine, a transmission with more speeds which can help with gas mileage, the seat belts are integrated into the front seats instead of the doors so you don't have to unbelt to let a passenger in a rear seat out and I think you also get side airbags starting with '07.

Just bought my '07 a couple of weeks ago - AT, AWD, 55k miles for $12,900 before tax and fees.
They must be cheaper where you live because I haven't seen an '07 or even an '06 for less than 15k in my neck of the woods. Maybe with over 100k miles.
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