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Discussion Starter #1
I am within a few days of purchasing an Element. Am I concerned about some of the problems mentioned here (cracks in windshield, window rattles, leaks)? Sure. Even accounting for trolls with a grudge against Honda, there are legitimate concerns.

I am desperate to have an alternative so I can feel like I have a choice. I cannot find anything at the approximate price that has the space and utility of the Element. I have a golden retriever and my wife is an avid garage saler. I am tired of having to clean the dog hair from the back seat of my old Bonnieville and borrowing my son's truck to pick up stuff that won't fit in its trunk.

If there really is NO ALTERNATIVE, then that's fine. If there is, I haven't seen it. If there is, I sure need to know about it.

Thanks y'all.

Chuck
 

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Well, if it makes you feel better, I've been driving mine for nearly 1000 miles and haven't had any problems at all whatsoever. For every person registering a complaint here there are probably hundreds of silently satisfied owners...

Drew
 

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Im silently satisfied with mine and I have almost 4000 miles on it... No problems at all... I share your concerns but there really is no decent competition that shares many of the utility features of the E and VERY few come close on styling.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I might mention that the offer I received on a Shoreline Mist was only $500 over invoice and the accessories and their installation are VERY reasonably priced (the same price or less than online parts sellers). I think being at the end of the month really helps. The dealer being in a moderatly small town fairly close to a large urban area may help as well. I'm willing to go the 90 miles to make the buy.

I have looked and looked and nothing is more attractive than an Element at any price. Now I'm just sitting back and taking a deep breath before making the plunge.

Thanks Drew and BriBoy for such a fast response. I'm sure others have looked for alternatives as well, and the responses here raise my comfort level (or could make me move very swiftly to consider an alternative).

Chuck
 

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I understand your thinking, Greybear.

I don't like feeling like I have just one choice in life - unless that choice just happens to be exactly right for me. I drove several cars, and I was willing and able to spend the money to get the *right* car for me, before I decided to buy an Element in a few weeks.

I drove the Land Rover Freelander and wanted to love it. It's a sweet ride, no doubt. But I have *no* headroom in that car. None. I also don't think the interior's that great for what you're paying.

I loved the Kia Sorento because it's pretty inside and out and very drivable. I have reservations about the quality of a Kia at this time compared to a more established brand.

I wouldn't call either of those 2 cars I mentioned a direct competitor with the Element. They're vastly different. Apples. Oranges. Carrots. Every vehicle I drove changed my thinking about what I wanted in a car, and I kept sort of confusing myself (and those around me) with my wide variety of cars that interested me.

But I've come around to the E.

You know there are many Element competitors:

Ford Escape
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Liberty
Nissan X-Terra
the unspeakable Pontiac Aztec

I could go on, but there are many websites with all kinds of information that I couldn't hope to reproduce.

Every purchase decision is the result of a mental algorithm of a matrix of different factors that make a car good or bad or indifferent. Some of these factors are hard to quantify and highly subjective, some are objective - as in dollars and cents, horsepower, warranty.

Maybe drive a few more cars and think to yourself "Well, will I trade off the comfort and style of this interior for having to vacuum up dog hair?" or "This vehicle costs more money but maybe it will haul more?" or questions of that sort.

Maybe it would help you to do some research, write some things down, and think hard about what really means the most to you in a car driving and car owning experience.

I wish you all the luck in the world with your car purchase.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow, what a thoughtful response and specific suggestions. Thanks Luscious!

I'm off to the dealers right now....

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Whew! I'm back after a whirlwind visit to several dealers. Sat in the Ford Escape, Jeep Liberty, and Nissan X-Terra. Of the three, I liked the Jeep the best. I liked its styling and Jeep has a nice pedigree. It had nice headspace and leg room. But I don't think it's in the same class as the Element.

The Element had a more "Spartan" feel to it. But I like that because it can be cleaned up more efficiently. Space arrangement is a huge difference. I really like how the back seats fold up and the large flat surface is available to my Golden Retriever (with rugs on the floor).

The utility of the Element is far-and-away more impressive than the cars I looked at today.

So thank you one and all. I am now at peace. :lol:

Chuck (Greybear)

p.s., I looked fondly at a new bright red retro Thunderbird. <sigh>
 

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Not to stir the waters on an already-settled issue, but when I was shopping, I looked at the Toyota Matrix. It's another tall wagon and claims to have 50 cu ft of storage space, which isn't bad. Short version of my impressions: the Element thumped the Matrix. For the long version, click here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Aykew, your link did not appear to show up. What's the URL?

Chuck (Greybear)
 

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This is my ninth Honda product. Never had a major problem, the list of minor ones is paltry. So far my Element is perfect (a whole week now!) and I expect my experience to be consistent with the others.
 

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Greybear -

I am happy that whatever I rambled out was of some help to you.

In a car search, or any other decision where you're making a choice that's a big part of your life - college, job, house, health care - I don't think there's a thing as too much information. Facts, figures, opinions and alternatives help you reach an informed decision with which you'll be comfortable.

If you feel good about the Element, then I'm thinking it really is THE right choice for you.

Good luck and let us know how your purchase comes out!
 

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Teat drive the Jeep Liberty....its not as smooth as the E nor does it handle with the ease of the E. I shopped the Jeep (nice styling but the ride didn't do it for me)..the Matrix (a little cramped in the front passenger area)..the Escort (crash test results pretty much stopped me) the Outlander ($5000 more). The closest rival, to me, was the CRV. It is a totally different vehicle though, more refined interior but not as utilitarian.

Finally, in the day of the look alike SUV, nobody mistakes an Element for anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well said, billybud. I sat in the Jeep Liberty today. I think it looks great, but the interior space arrangement does not attract me as much as what the Element offers. I like your use of the word "refined." The Element strikes me as ultra ... what? What is the opposite of "refined"? Course? That's not the Element. The Element is not fancy. It's more elegantly simple and understated. It looks like it has a useful purpose other than showing off or simple transportation.

Thanks again Luscious. I'll let you know how the final deal goes in another thread (knock on wood).

Chuck (Greybear)
 

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I've owned a bunch of vehicles in the past 5 years. 11 to be exact. I was one of the first people here to own a Liberty, and had it for over a year. Honestly, I'm not quite sure why I traded it. At the time I thought a pickup truck was a "necessity", and the Liberty didn't give the cargo room that I was looking for. It was a decent vehicle, the seats weren't the most comfortable, however. Great off-road performance (although old-time "jeepers" would dispute that to the death), decent looks and was functional. At the time I bought it the only ones they were selling were V6s, and they guzzled gas, in my opinion. I'm sure the 4 cyl they have is a little better, but that's because it has no power, from what I hear. There was also a concern about the height of the vehicle and the fact that Autoweek flipped one in their test. Jeep responded by dropping the vehicle a little bit. Jeep isn't really known for "reliability" or "quality", even though they make a first-class 4WD.

I like the Element better. I never really went off-road that much so the need for a hard-core 4WD system wasn't a necessity (the system that the Element has will do just fine), and I don't have to worry about getting my vehicle "dirty" inside. It just wipes clean!
 

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It's interesting to me to see what all people come up with in terms of vehicles to test drive when comparing the Element to the world at large.

When I first saw an Element, I wasn't even aware that I was in the vehicle shopping mode. I had a 2 seater truck, and while I felt cramped by it's limitations, it literally hadn't dawned on me that there were far more flexible, more personaliziable, AFFORDABLE options. I thought I pretty much knew what the major car makers had to offer, and just wasn't really interested. That is, I wasn't interested until I specifically looked into the Element.

For years, I've wanted something that had the practicality of the mini-van, the realiability and flexibility of a small truck, and the upright seating of a small SUV. A cross between the VW microbus, the antique Greenbrier and the Morris panel van and a traditional fullsized station wagon, would've been fine by me.

When I first realized what an Element might actually represent, I was pretty much sold on the concept. Considering that I'd previously tried to sell myself on the concept of a discontinued Mitsubishi concept box van, and a rather problematic Subaru Forrester, the Element concept wasn't that much of a leap, and trusting Honda was lots easier than blindly jumping into either of those other two.

For me, what with a local Dodge/Jeep dealership that is well-known for it's TERRIBLE service dept., Jeep anything was totally out of the question. (Your mileage may vary). My comments in this regard are very specific to one amazingly bad dealership in Durham, NC. ) Anyway, I was pretty sure that I was only interested in vehicles by either Toyota (prefered) or Honda.

So, I test drove the Rav4, the CRV, the Highlander, the Pilot SUVs and the Odyssey and the Sienna minivans. Those experiences just reinforced the idea that I really wanted the versitility of the Element. For me, the lack of velour seat cloth, and the lack of carpeting in the E, just helped sell it. And the versitiltiy of interior space was the real reason for purchase. I didn't perceive anything else as being as versitile, nor as comfortable for 4 adults. The price clinched the deal. If hauling 5 passengers was a big deal to me, I'dve gone with the Honda Odyssey. If getting a dedicated SUV was important to me, I'dve looked harder at the Toyo 4 Runner. If hauling lumber was a primary consideration, I'dve looked harder at extended cab pickups. But, for me, the Element just seemed to occupy a niche that none other really addressed. Namely, it's ultimately utilitarian for those that want a compromise vehicle to start with. If you want an interesting compromise of utilitarian hauling space, useful, comfortable passenger space and non-wasted commuter space, in a package that looks cool and gets good gas mileage, then the Element may be worth serious consideration.
 

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Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Liberty
Nissan X-Terra
I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but the element can not be compared to these others. The trucks in the element's class are the CRV, Rav 4, the Vibe, and the subarus. the ones above are 4x4s on truck chassies that can go off road and have low range gears. The element is build on a car chassie. I am a long time truck owner and refer to my element as a truck, but the reality is that it is not a truck.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
natural wonder, your desrciption of what attracts you to the Element is an exact match to what I would say. I'm really glad to have started this thread and to have so many of you provide such thoughful and well-reasoned comments. I would think other visitors to the site who are trying to make a decision like I was would find the thread very useful.

boneheadz, thanks for pointing out the importance of comparing within class. I will take a look at the Vibe as well.

Chuck (Greybear)
 

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The Vibe/Matrix are more cars than SUVs, in my opinion. I would like to see how many AWD Vibes and Matrixs they sell percentage wise with the entire model line. The dealers around here have a ton of GTs but no AWDs. I could see the RAV4 comparison, but not the Vibe/Matrix.
 

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[quote:9aeea80a67="Greybear"]Aykew, your link did not appear to show up. What's the URL?

Chuck (Greybear)[/quote:9aeea80a67]

Sorry! It's http://www.hondaelement.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=405&highlight=toyota+matrix

[quote:9aeea80a67="wr70beh"]The Vibe/Matrix are more cars than SUVs, in my opinion.[/quote:9aeea80a67]

True enough, but I wasn't shopping for an SUV exclusively. (Also remember that the Element is based off of Honda's universal small car platform, like the Civic.) I was shopping for a "crossover" vehicle, which includes some small SUVs, tall wagons, and hatchbacks. I needed a car with a relatviely small footprint that had a lot of cargo room and a spacious interior. I also looked at the Mazda Protege5 and the VW Golf, though not as seriously. The Matrix and the Element were the front runners from the start because they seemed to offer the best combinations of the features I was looking for.
 

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[quote:1483654a9d="boneheadz"]
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Liberty
Nissan X-Terra
I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but the element can not be compared to these others. The trucks in the element's class are the CRV, Rav 4, the Vibe, and the subarus. the ones above are 4x4s on truck chassies that can go off road and have low range gears. The element is build on a car chassie. I am a long time truck owner and refer to my element as a truck, but the reality is that it is not a truck.[/quote:1483654a9d]

Oh, okay.

I'm sorry if I mislead anyone. That was anything but my intention. The information I was using came from

(1) at least one auto website that had a feature like "Compare the Element to _______" and those vehicles came up as "comparisons"

(2) my own impression of those vehicles as being something like the E - as I was considering the E a small SUV.

Clearly if the chassis is the key comparison factor, then that's a critical difference that I missed, so I blew it. It's kind of odd though, because my Lexus RX300 was built on a car chassis and it was definitely considered an SUV.

Apologies!

:oops:
 
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