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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I test drive an Element but the dealer let you drive only few blocks…

I would like to have a real idea of the driving in a curving road in the mountain and I am looking for feed back.

I currently drive a car with a manual gear box. I like to be able to downshift when going down the hill, so don’t need to press my break at each curve.

The element is quite heavy, so been able to down shift, and been able to control the gear I am on, seem very important.

I notice that a new generation of electronically controlled automatic gear boxes, such as the VW/Audi/Porsche tiptronic, allow you to select the gear you want to stay or to shift up or down:




1) Going down hill:
The Element automatic gear box has (only) four gears, I wonder if it is possible to select any of the gear when going down a hill, and what is your experience when doing so.

2) Curving road:
Does the gear box automatically up-shift when you release the pressure on the accelerator, like when you try to slow down just before a curve?
Does the gear box automatically down-shift when you press the accelerator, like you will do when you reach the end of a curve?

Does the Element with automatic gear box has this kind of (bad) behaviour and what is your experience while driving in a mountain road?
 

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You can use the auto as a pseudo-manual but it is NOT like the tiptronic I have in my Jetta 1.8T.

Everyone's opinion on handling is different but here is mine after 3 months with the E on New England curves vs. on a mountain where brake fade will certainly be more of a factor. The E does handle well, like a honda, taught and predictable, however driving position is more bus like then car like. Going hard into a corner you know pretty quickly that you are in a substantial vehicle, my stock E is again honda like coming in, you can do a manual 4-3 down shift to let the engine slow you down (and get ready for the exit), hit the brakes, which have a good feel... depending on the entry speed you had, it is obvious you are in a tall vehicle... the steering is predictable and you have some advance notice that the tires are reaching their limits. Depending on how much you slowed down, you can lever downshift again 3-2 or just hit the gas as you exit (not sure if you are in 3 whether you can control going into 2 with your foot - will have to try it), a stock E holds a line pretty well, if you are not shifting with the lever, the upshift is very contollable with your foot. The 2.4 revs pretty quickly, assuming your back on the gas while you are still in the turn, the stock shocks will compress a little as the E scoots out of the corner pretty gracefully. If you are still on the gas, speed comes fairly quickly.

Compared to my 1.8T, the E is TOTALLY different. The tiptronic has a + and - that you are really manually shifting (albeit electronically). On a corner exit the upshift in both the VW and the E are readily controllable with the gas pedal alone. It is in the corner entry and downshifts where the tiptronic shines, as you work the brake you 'blip' it down a few gears just like you would with a 5spd, it is not as natual with the E's lever but still possible.
 

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When I am in fourth gear and want to accelerate without really stomping on the accelerator, I just shift out of O/D with the button on the shift lever. You get more than 1000 rpm's more than in fourth and it allows decent acceleration without flooring it.

I own an Acura TSX with sport shift and this is nothing like that, but it works very well for what it was designed to do.
 

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Should be 'D-2' above not '4-3'... although this morning coming off the hwy i used the o/d button to do a 4-D downshift while i just got on the brake then as i entered the corner did a D-2 lever downshift, got back on the gas in the exit , moved the lever back to D and controlled the 2-D upshift with my foot, then put the o/d back on...works pretty well.

Never drove a honda that wasn't FUN!
 

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I just came back from a camping trip just south of Lucia. Driving included the Hiway 1, tight mountain curves, and silt covered backroads.

I was very impressed with how well Tortuga did on the trip loaded with 3 people, 2 dogs, and all of the necessary gear to get car campers through the weekend. When driving this vehicle, it's important to understand that it is not a car, nor will it handle like one. We named our E Tortuga because it's all about slow and steady. Tortuga offers a smooth ride, predictability in turns with surprisingly low body roll through the turns, and a very effective auto transmission.

This is the first vehicle I've ever owned with an auto tranny, and at first I was very skeptical. Once I accepted the fact that I should drive this out of corners for what it is, not a coupe, I realized how great the auto tranny is. I was able to enging brake using D1 and D2 without problems, and feeling the front wheel slippage followed by rear wheel engagement really made me feel like I was getting my money's worth out of the vehicle.

Over the past three weeks my wife and I have had Tortuga, we've been nothing but impressed.
 
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