Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

This is my first post to this board. I've seen a few of the Elements around, and my first impression is that this could be a very versatile vehicle.

I need a vehicle with plenty of space for my Mountain bikes and camping gear. I also want something which is safe, fuel efficient, and comfortable for long trips. A decent amount of power and good handling are also important to me.

AWD is not essential, I would like a manual transmission though.

I currently own a 2002 Saab 9-5 Aero wagon which suits my needs quite well. The Element however, is half of the price so its worth considering!

Here's my concerns:

Safety
I noticed some posts indicating the design may be modified to include a B pillar- is this true? Will side air bags be an option in the future as it seems Honda's not offering them this year?

What about cargo retention? In my Saab, I have a net which divides the passenger area from the cargo area. There's also "cargo rails" which can be used to secure the cargo. Is something like this available for the element? I'm not really interested in getting hit in the back of the head with a cooler or camp stove travelling at 100kms/hr!

Is there seating for 2 or 3 in the back? If three, does the center position have a headrest and 3 point belt?

Mileage
What kind of mileage are you seeing on your Element? I realize its only a 4 cyl, but it doesn't look too aerodynamic. I'm currently getting about 8L/100kms with the Saab.

Comfort
Taken any 5 hour drives lately? How's your back? How adjustable are the seats? Are heated seats an option? What about automatic climate control? I've been quite spoiled in the Saab.

Interior
Is the rear hatch the only "sunroof" available? What about a front sunroof?
When the rear seats are folded up, is visibility an issue? Are the rear seats completely removeable?

Drivetrain
It appears that the 5 speed manual is only available on certain models. What options will I be giving up to get the manual?

How does it go with 160hp? At what engine speed is the peak torque output?
I'm used to considerably more power than that, but anything that's not sluggish is OK for me. Is it better than a CRV in terms acceleration and mid range passing ability?

Demographic
How old are all y'all? I've heard this vehicle is aimed at twenty somethings. I'm 29- will I still like this car next year?

What features do you like best? Why did you choose the Element? What other vehicles did you consider or own before the Element?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for your help!

bRAD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Wow, lets see if I can get all of these answered:

Safety first, the lack of B-pillar is not an issue since the pillar is still there, just hidden in the rear door. The Element should match or beat the side impact ratings of other small SUVs in it's class.
Side airbags do seem to have been skipped this year, but since they were armrest and not curtain, their overall effectivness in a crash is suspect anyway. The Element has multiple tie down clips. I believe two behind the rear bench and two more in front (owners correct me if I'm wrong). They are metal rings that are hinged to the sides of the cargo area. There are also interior bike fork mounts (optional). With the rear seats up or down you should be safe from the threat of sliding cargo. The back seat has room for two, divided by a set of cup holders, and the recline control lever/straps. Both rear passengers have three point belts.

Mileage; Forgive my antiquated empirial measurement system, but the Element gets around 21-22 miles per gallon on average judging from the posts here. I'm no good at conversion so that part is up to you. :)

Comfort seems to be a matter of opinion. I prefer a nice, firm, but forgiving seat. I currently drive a Wrangler, but have driven a couple Elements, and the seats are similar. I would say, that if you are like me, a five hour drive would be nothing in the Element. The seats are soft but supportive. If you are a soft cushy seat person though, they may seem stiff, especially the rear bench. Heated seats!!?? Sorry...... but they are waterproof. Automatic climate control is only available if you have a passenger who takes orders well, otherwise you are out of luck. The Element is not a luxury suv, it is a bare bones utilitarian transport with style.

Interior; The sunroof is only available over the cargo area, but I'm sure an aftermarket glass shop would be happy to install one wherever you want. The rear seats, when folded up, do block the side windows. Although I did not find this a problem on my test drive, you might, but the side mirrors are large and powered. The rear seats are removable, but apparently not to easily, so you'd probably only want to do it every once in a while, or leave them out.

Drivetrain; According to the testdrives I've read, you will be giving up 2 seconds 0-60, but gaining 1 MPG fuel efficiency by choosing the Auto over the 5-speed. SInce it seems the 5-speed will not be available in the EX AWD you may want to weigh comfort v. performance and decide which is more important to you. Honda has decided you cannot have both. No matter what decision, the Element is not a performance vehicle, so if you are expecting it to be, you may want to look elsewhere. It puts out 161 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm and 160 hp at 5500 rpm, so depending on the shift points you should have plenty of getup-and-go. On my test drive of an auto EX, I had plenty of power at hand for pulling out into traffic, and passing. I would guess it is on par with the CRV although the Element is about 200lbs heavier.

Demographic; I am 29 as well, and I do not believe the Element is limited by age, but by lifestyle. The people on this site are between 20 and 70, but all were looking for a car that has more utility than what is out there. The Element owner is the person who is willing to give up luxury for utility, carpet for rubber, leather for neoprene. We have muddy dogs, sloppy children, and unruly friends. We don't want a car that stains, rips, or wears. And above all we want flexability beyond a rear seat that folds down. So, will you like the Element next year? I don't know, but if you like it for the right reasons now, the chances of liking it next year, and forever, are great.

I hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,898 Posts
Hi there, and Welcome..

Intro: as far as your intro, the Element does cover all of those needs beautifully! Comfortable (even on long trips), space for mt bikes (with the back seats flipped to the sides, or removed), very fuel effiecent for an SUV!, Honda has about the best track record when it comes to safe, reliable & dependable. The power (umph) is surprising.. passing is no problem, it handles steep winding roads like it was floating.. extremely smooth!

B Pillar: the absense of the b pillar has already been more than approved.. and is very safe!

air bags are expected for the spring to be available.. they are not the window curtain kind so to me they are kinda worthless in that department.. side air bags really only benefit if they are covering the window (against the glass shattering into you, or your head bashing into it) past that side air bags really have no other use.

Cargo Containment: There are all kinds of cargo retention items available, they are not included, but you can customize this critter like crazy. There are anchor points for a cargo net to be like an envelope enclosure or anchored flat to the floor as a hold down for large items. The wall and door pockets can also be used to anchor to, they are designed for that.

Seating is for 2 in the back, both with cup holders.

MPG: is looking at average around 21 mpg! not too bad..

4 Cyl: actually it is very powerful for a 4 cyl, I have driven many v6s and this 4cyl has the same umph!

Seats: The drivers seat is height, forward/back, and incline/recline adjustable.. and quite comfortable.. even on those marathon drives! Not heated, this vehicle is simple & basic, not a luxury vehicle. This is a different entity than the Saab.

Sunroof: back only on the 4wd. No front, and the view on that islikely due to the pillarless design.. structurely can not be done.. but this is not a confirmed fact, just an assumption.

Back Seats: yes full removable... and when flipped up not a terrible issue, I was able to work well with it.. if youhave driven cargo vans it is kinda similar.. you work with it.. and a recommendation get the fish eye mirrors for the side view.. it does help!

Stick Shift: will be avail this spring, on all models.. so if you can wait that will be the option.

CRV comparison: it is comparable to the drive on a CRV, same smoothness, same power, and acceleration.

Demographic: you are in good company, majority here are over 40!! So the demographic has been Skewed!

LIKES: I love the washability factor in & out.. I never liked a carpetted car.. seemed absurd! The style, the versatility. Many here have dogs and it is very dog friendly! Camping, and having fun. For me it was the vehicle I had been looking for my whole life. As as child we had a very stripped down Chevy wagon.. it was real, and it was great! Things became too plush.. i love a nice basic vehicle but yet it has those nice little extras, little luxuries and unique features that are well thoughtout. I can bring HUGE drinks with me and not try to hold them between my legs as I drive. I can haul things with no problem, get plants and stuff with out ruining the interior. I can do about anything.. It is sooo spacious.. roomy, you have real elbow, leg, and head room!!! I love the way the door open.. wellheck summary I LOVE THIS CAR! I am partial.. smiles...

The Search: What I considered before hand.. well can we count my whole life.. I really had been looking forever for THIS car.. ever vehicle I ever saw there was something I did not like.. they were too plush, or too cheap, or too cramped, or too big, some look too much like a basketball shoe, others look boring.. the nice looking ones are skin deep.. and have horrible track records!

I considered the CRV but I did not like the carpetting, yet that seemed like there was no option otherwise out there, i hated the fabric inside, and the overall style yawn.. but it was far better in many important ways in comparison to all others.
I considerd the Rav4, ok other than a cool dash it ended there. The the Matrix, well the wheels look like they slapped spares on it.. other wise it was possible.
The Liberty: cute, very cute.. but a gas guzzler, and from a company with a bad rep.
PT Cruiser, what a laugh, no human room (no leg, head, shoulder, elbow.. etc) and it was sooo lathargic. Other than every thing I hated about it (which was everything but one thing.. which was) it was ONLY cute.
There were a dozen others but I thinks this gives you a good idea.

Above all it is individual, this is why there are so many vehicles available.. you have a like, or a neat, and there is something out there for you (or in my case eventually.. and Finally).

Good luck.. there are a lot of great minds here to help you.. enjoy![/b]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
A moonroof is not available on any element over the front seats. yes, you may find an aftermarket shop that know nothing about the vehicle to put one in. But, and this is a big but, you will no longer have protection in an accident. The b-pillars main strength comes from the completeing of the safety ring; in the floor this is via a cross member, in the roof it is a very similar setup just reversed, you know, it's on top. Should you cut this you will lose the majority of the vehicles structural integrity. Sorry, I'd rather live to see the sun on its own terms than die trying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
You guys (and gals) are great! Thanks so much for your insightful answers. I dropped in to the local Honda dealership after work yesterday to check it out. I learned far, far more from your posts than I did from the salesman!

After some consideration though, I don't think I'm ready for an SUV... yet. Generally I wouldn't buy a first model year of anything (Even Honda's not perfect, but I'd say they have an above average ability to release a new model with most of the bugs worked out. The engine and AWD system on the Element are already proven, as is the chassis)

I bought a wagon because I don't have room for a utility car and a sports car- so I bought what I think was a good comprimise. From a financial point of view, I suppose I'd be stupid to sell such a new car anyways. Between the initial depreciation and the sales tax I've already paid, I'd be taking a pretty big hit to trade it in now. As I get older and am looking for something to put a child (no kids yet!) in and don't have extra money to blow on fancy cars I think the Element will be a very strong contender. Perhaps I'll be buying one of yours after you've put a few thousand kms on it!

Thanks again for your help, and enjoy your Element! :wink:

PS, The silver/blue combination looks great IMHO!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
NYC to NH just 4 and a half up, 5 and a half back (I hate NY traffic).

The armrest was great, although some people don't like its location. The seats were no problem for us either.

We are used to making this drive, and also to Cape Cod about the same amount of time, maybe a bit more.

We had no fatigue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,898 Posts
bRAD: I am glad we all could be of help.. and please do keep posting in.. even if you are a way off from going for an SUV (yet).. we welcome ya!

Simon: 5 hr with manual or auto? cause really the arm rest will not matter with auto.. you don't use it for the stick that much.. unless you normally like to lean.. and I don't. Also would this be a long clear highway drive, or congested oh my gosh it was 2 miles and it took 5 hours drive? I think anyone anywhere in anything would get worn in a short distant long congested drive! DE traffic is horrible.. it literally takes 1/2 hour to an hour to drive ten miles! (this is where I wouldlike to have the sunroof gunner, grin)...

RML: humm we need to compare traffic stories! grin! DE is good competition for ya! guess it is too small for all the peoples, eh?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
[quote:1e8b42a45d="bRAD"]...From a financial point of view, I suppose I'd be stupid to sell such a new car anyways. Between the initial depreciation and the sales tax I've already paid, I'd be taking a pretty big hit to trade it in now...[/quote:1e8b42a45d]

My problem exactly! :wink:

Hey y'all! My first post here...as a "wannabe" Element owner. :?
I just bought my fourth Jeep a year ago, a 2002 Wrangler X, to use as my daily driver. Now I'm really regretting it. I love to off-road, but that's what I'm building up a 1946 Willys CJ2A for, so that I don't tear up my commuter/utility vehicle. I bought the 2002 Wrangler to suit that purpose. But my luck, now I discover the Element...I think it's perfect for my needs! I'm no college kid, just your typical 32 year old guy with a job downtown and a house in the 'burbs. The Element is pretty close to what I would figure as the perfect utility vehicle. :D

Unfortunately, like bRAD, I owe over $18k on a vehicle with a trade in value of $10-12k. :( And with a wedding planned in a little over a year, I don't have the extra cash to make up the difference.

Heck, as impulsive as I am, maybe I'll see just how tempting an offer the Honda dealer will make me. :twisted: I just don't see it working though. It's probably a good thing I can't find a dealer around that has a green Element on the lot! :D

Either way, I'm going to keep reading the posts here, and checking out you guys' picks! :wink: I feel silly being so excited about a boxy little inexpensive runabout, but I just know I have to have one one day! 8)

Anyone wanna buy a Jeep? j/k! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,898 Posts
RustyB: Welcome! that does stink when a vehicle devalues you so quickly... but on the upside there are more than enough people who would like that jeep you could put it up for sale to pay for what you owe.. then get the element!

We chose to sell our Tacoma outright, instead of trading, it has only lost 2K since it was brand new, and we can get way more than we owe.. just a matter of finding a buyer, when locally everyone is losing their jobs, sigh!

That is so cool you are working on an old 46 CJ, I loved those.. they WERE the true jeeps!

Keep us posted.. and also good luck on your up & coming wedding, congrats!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Just an FYI about the side safety issue.

The lack of a B-pillar does affect the safety of the E. It is still a very safe car, but the side crash test ratings aren't so good. You can't really integrate a B pillar into the door, it's not the same as having an actual B pillar that is an intergal part of the frame.

CR-V's (with a B pillar) do a little better in the side crash test. But both the E and CRV were disappointing.

They WERE tested without SAB though.

If I were to buy a new E or CRV (actually I am buying a CRV soon) then I would definitley spring for the side airbags. They are worth it in any car really. They are great at preventing head injuries which are common in side impact crashes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
:roll: hedgeborn :roll:
I'm thinking the E was "3" stars on side impact......
And someone posted on this site or the other that they had been "T" boned and suffered no more than the normal T boning......boy now doesn't that sound educated on my part........"T boning" LOL... almost as good as saying "hit in the gas hole"......

IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT BUYING THE "E".......DON'T
ALSO HELPS TO "KNOW" BEFORE OPENING MOUTH
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
:roll: hedgeborn :roll:
I'm thinking the E was "3" stars on side impact......
And someone posted on this site or the other that they had been "T" boned and suffered no more than the normal T boning......boy now doesn't that sound educated on my part........"T boning" LOL... almost as good as saying "hit in the gas hole"......

IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT BUYING THE "E".......DON'T
ALSO HELPS TO "KNOW" BEFORE OPENING MOUTH
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top