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I'm still an aspiring E owner, but as of yet I'm driving a slightly banged-up 1996 Corolla with 182k I bought back in college and used to deliver pizza, etc. It has been a great car with hardly any problems, and from what I can tell, it seems that the Element is pretty similar in that department.

I love the versatility of the Element, its boxy style, the spacious interior combined with short length (I hate long cars), fuel economy, power seems decent enough (I'm not a speed demon, so as long as the engine/revs are good at 75mph, I'm happy), AWD or FWD a plus (RWD plus CO winter = BAD) After reading up in these forums for the past few months, there's no doubt in my mind that the E is my kind of car, especially the 07/08 SC.

So here's my dilemma. I've been looking at replacing my car for about 2 years now, but it runs great still, so I've been sticking with it. I have two prospects for Elements that I could purchase, if I decide to go that route. Both are 5sp MTs, which is what I'm after (AT is a deal-breaker for me):

(1) 03 or 04 EX AWD, Orange, ~90k miles, owned by coworker, probably going to sell during this year. He tried to list it last fall on Craigslist at $10.5k with no bites (I'm not surprised, it was too high for me to even be interested). Now he's waiting to buy a new vehicle before selling, and I honestly don't have a time frame for what that would be. I'm thinking the lowest he'd go would be around $8.5k. He's the original owner, has had to only have one thing fixed (apparently a rock got stuck in the brakes and was causing horrible screeching).

Pros: Less expensive, like the color, know the first owner, AWD (good in CO), could probably pay cash

Cons: Not an SC (my preferred style), he doesn't know what year E it is (??), mileage is much higher than vehicle 2, I don't like seatbelts mounted on the door, I don't know when he's going to try to sell it.

(2) 2007 SC, midnight black, 5 speed MT with factory added fog lamps and spoiler and 16k miles (bought new in March '08). The seller (original owner) is asking for $15k. Apparently it had some hail damage on the hood and roof that State Farm got fixed (supposedly restored it back to like-new condition). Also, the seller said they got the rear bumper skin re-painted from a "love tap". I haven't gone to see it in person, but pictures look great so far.

Pros: 07 SC (sexy as hell 8), brings a smile to my face each time I see one, lol), really low miles, one owner, newer car, for sale now

Cons: More expensive, history brings up questions (I'd get a history check and get it inspected first), don't know seller, would have to take a loan to buy

I've been watching over the past year to get an idea of what a good deal here would be and what features I'd like for 07 SCs. I've seen 3 MT 07 SCs go through the listings life cycle over the past year. They ranged from 22k - 40k+ in miles and disappeared from the "For Sale" listings around $16k to $17k after sitting on the listings for 3-6 months (all similarly equipped with seemingly clean records).


My priorities for a vehicle:

(1) Reliable - Be able to take it up to 200k with very minimal repairs, 300k+ if I really set my mind to it.
(2) Economical - good gas mileage compared to similar vehicles, repairs and parts are not too pricey (rules out most German cars)
(3) Affordable - I know it's all relative, but I'd rather buy a used late model to save money and make the repairs needed down the road. I don't want to pay for "new car depreciation".

I currently drive about 9k per year, so I don't expect to be racking up a massive amount of miles. Still, even if I upped it to 12k per year, that would mean about 6 years of life out of the SC before the mileage would even equal what the EX is at right now.

So, all-in-all, I am leaning toward the SC. It seems like a good overall deal. However, since I'm new to this, here are my questions:

- Are there any major red flags that come up in your minds with either of these cars?
- Are there any particular things I should look at that may be common problems with either of these?
- Aside from the redesigned front, increased HP, seat changes, carpeting, are there any other significant differences between the 03/04 EX that I didn't mention (because I'm unaware)? Both vehicles have the 7 speaker CD player, alloy wheels, etc.

Thanks!
 

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If I remember right the SC only has FWD the EX , LX or early DX modles have the Real Time 4WD option. Good luck on you'r hunt.( someone correct me if i'm rong )
 

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If I remember right the SC only has FWD the EX , LX or early DX modles have the Real Time 4WD option. Good luck on you'r hunt.( someone correct me if i'm rong )
To piggy back this. The side airbags were not made standard until the 07. There is a good chance the 03/04 model does not have them and would be very bad in a t-bone.
 
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