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I care, it scored the lowest of all tested except the Aztek for the rear passengers. This is where my two young ones will be, fortunately in car seats! I would have liked to have seen better results. I am due to purchase one next week. I assume this Element was tested with the SAB.
 

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I understand that 5 stars is the preferred rating for the back seat but does a 4 stars rating really mean a significant decrease in safety? 1,2 or 3 stars would give me concern but not 4. Am I wrong?...be kind :)
 

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[quote:667fe85491="Hendon"]I understand that 5 stars is the preferred rating for the back seat but does a 4 stars rating really mean a significant decrease in safety? 1,2 or 3 stars would give me concern but not 4. Am I wrong?...be kind :)[/quote:667fe85491]

Good Question ! Be kind to Hendon.
 

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[quote:fd6e501b58="hedgeborn"]They did not test the model with side airbags. It would fair much better.[/quote:fd6e501b58]

Can you fair any better than 5 stars?
(Remember the backseat has no side airbags).
 

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I am waiting for a lemon law resolution from Kia and was planning without a doubt to get an Element when it over. However, this is the second crash test that shows head injury to rear passengers, both hitting the frame of the vehicle I believe.

My kids will be riding in the backseat. Their carseats have side impact protection built in, but that will only be for a few more years, then they'll be in the seats.

I don't think I can buy a vehicle that is shown to have that type of injury in the back seat. It really sucks, because I love the Element, but if I bought it knowing the risk to my kids and either of them sustained a serious head injury while riding in the back, I couldn't forgive myself.

bex
 

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bexter12: I couldn't agree with you more but make sure you study every vehicle for the total picture. For example, the Element has rated extremely well on all other safety tests. It appears that it may be as safe as any small vehicle when you look at the total picture. Also, 4 stars is a pretty good rating on the side impact, just not perfect. There are a lot of things to consider and there are always some compromises to be made because I don't think there is a totally safe vehicle, especially in this size and price range. As an example, getting a 4 door vehicle could expose young children to the possibility of opening a back door and falling out (small chance, but it could happen). That cannot happen with the E. There are a lot of factors to consider, not just one test. Good luck with your decision.
 

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Also consider -- what percentage of total collisions are side-impact?
 

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I think it is strange how someone can focus on one aspect of a vehicle and totally dismiss buying the vehicle. Is there truly a perfect vehicle out there that fits anyone's safety, price, styling, and fuel economy target? If there is, please share it with me so I don't have to research anymore. I refuse to pay over 20k for a car. $400 car payments are enough for me. The Element is below 20k. Tell me a safer vehicle for the same price. You gotta weigh every aspect and hopefully find a compromise. That goes for any car, not the just the Element.

It is like HEman said about a four door vehicle. What are the odds of having a side collision in the back vs a youngster opening the back door accidently? I think I would be more worried if the Element got 2 or 3 stars.
 

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[quote:bd2747cde1="bexter12"]
I don't think I can buy a vehicle that is shown to have that type of injury in the back seat. It really sucks, because I love the Element, but if I bought it knowing the risk to my kids and either of them sustained a serious head injury while riding in the back, I couldn't forgive myself.

bex[/quote:bd2747cde1]

Yeah, good luck finding a vehicle that fits your profile of no injury to any back seat'ers from any angle, let alone just side. Or get an Excursion and put the rest of us at risk from the very behemoths they use to simulate a bad crash.

:roll:

You might be better off at home. No disrespect...sad to say, but probably true for everyone who has to take a car to get anywhere these days. Between those behemoths, cell phones and [some] truck drivers who don't rest enough, it's a rough world out there. But that is why I take extra, extra precaution when driving, esp. going through intersections. I had to brake fast just a few days ago b/c some dope in a Suburban ran through a VERY red light as I turned left through that intersection.

Steve
 

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I truly love this vehicle. But two side impact tests have shown significant rear passenger head injury. I'm not just buying the vehicle for me, if I were, I'd be driving another Jeep Wrangler like the one I gave up when I got pregnant.

I'm not going out and buying an Excursion or a Hummer. I'm not staying at home all the time and padding my home with nerf... I'm just studying the safety factors of vehicles I'm considering and making decisions based on those findings.

The element's design with the rear passengers sitting beside the pillar does make the passenger compartment intrusion minimal, but two tests (one severe and one not as severe) have shown those rear passengers to strike their heads in a way likely to cause severe damage.

For me, that's enough to rule out this current model of the Element. If there were no one in the backseat, I wouldn't think twice about it.

Sorry guys. I really do love your e's and am not knocking them, just saying why I've decided against one.

bex
 

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That's cool -- you've explained your reasons why. :)

Am curious what vehicle you are going to go with. Would you let us know when you decide?
 

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[quote:76e98e980d="aristoBrat"]That's cool -- you've explained your reasons why. :)

Am curious what vehicle you are going to go with. Would you let us know when you decide?[/quote:76e98e980d]

No idea. I've got several months before the lawsuit is settled (lawyer says up to 10) and I'm going to start researching some other vehicles. I liked the Pacifica until I saw the 5 star side impact was because of side curtain airbags. Curtain airbags aren't to be used with kids under 12....

Other than an odyssey (which I don't really like) I'm not sure what's out there...

bex
 

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I went back and compared the gvt. and IIHS side crash test data and they seem to be conflicting to me.

IIHS said the rear passenger did strike their head on the window but didn't see a likelihood of serious injury. Then the gvt test shows good rating but higher likelihood of head injury. The gvt test showed the dummy striking the frame instead of the window like the IIHS test.

I'm starting to go nuts and wonder just how to interpret these things. As I go back and read, everything about the element sounds very safe, but that one little tag line on the side results.

I wonder also if I am trying to rationalize anything because I love the element so much and really want to buy one.

I have a feeling that even by the time my lawsuit is settled, I still won't have made any kind of decision.

Confused

bex
 

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[quote:d3fa925cd0="bexter12"]I went back and compared the gvt. and IIHS side crash test data and they seem to be conflicting to me.

IIHS said the rear passenger did strike their head on the window but didn't see a likelihood of serious injury. Then the gvt test shows good rating but higher likelihood of head injury. The gvt test showed the dummy striking the frame instead of the window like the IIHS test.

I'm starting to go nuts and wonder just how to interpret these things. As I go back and read, everything about the element sounds very safe, but that one little tag line on the side results.

I wonder also if I am trying to rationalize anything because I love the element so much and really want to buy one.

I have a feeling that even by the time my lawsuit is settled, I still won't have made any kind of decision.

Confused

bex[/quote:d3fa925cd0]

Be very careful. It is easy to get sooooo wrapped up in analyzing a vehicle that you start getting "Paralysis Through Analysis". The end result is that much of the fun can be taken away from purchasing something if you spend too much time analyzing every single detail and every single complain that others might have. The E is a Honda. That alone should give you enough satisfaction with safety and dependabilty.
 

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I'm not sure that I agree with Jay entirely - the fact it's a Honda doesn't prevent it being a potential deathtrap, though it does strongly imply is isn't!

But I think the differences in result for the IIHS and NHTSA side-impact tests are faily simple to explain. It's not the results that differ really, it's the testing methods. The angle of impact, height and force of impacting obstacle and location of impact on the vehicle all directly affect the amount and direction of energy transfered to the vehicle and therefore the direction and force of subsequent, causitive, movement of passengers inside it.

The two tests seem reasonably consistent in their results to me - though not necessarily the INTERPRETATION given by the two authorities to those results. The IIHS tests were to a very stringent new standard and the E didn't fare that well structurally. The NHTSA tests were to a lower standard and the E fared better, but the difference in angular impact and momentum would mean passengers thrown in differing angles and thus with differing potential injuries. Why or how worse injuries get more stars in a safety rating is a matter of the different standards and criteria of analysis applied by the two testing authorities, but in the end it's the damage done by the impact and it's real-world ramifications that are the real issue.

In the end, it's not really an issue of which test shows what when comparing tests done to the E, it's how the Element compares to the same tests done on other vehicles, and how safe it would be in a real-world crash.

One thing that struck me as interesting was a comment from an IIHS 'expert' on a crash test/vehicle safety program on TV last night (History Channel, Modern Marvels). He said that frontal offset tests were the most stringent indicators of vehicle safety, in part because they are the most common form of impact and in part because they involve the highest levels of impact energy. In these tests the Element fared very well with little deformity of the passenger compartment and no likelihood of serious injury and the testing gave a reasonably real-world set of conditions. Given that in the real world, few side impacts are on a stationary vehicle but on one that is perhaps traversing an intersection and struck by someone running a red light, the forces involved are somewhat different, not just the sideways forces of the impacting vehicle, but the angular forces of the moving vehicle that is impacted, thus invariably differering angles of momentum and possibly different height and impact point than in the static tests. These factors make it impossible to predict the angular motion and energy with which passengers would be moving. It doesn't invalidate the side-impact tests in any way, because these show the structural integrity (or lack of it) of a vehicle, but gives these tests a context that needs to be considered when looking at how to interpret the results.
 

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Maybe another perspective. After reading all this about the side impact crash tests, I went out and sat in the back seat of my E and just observed what we have there. First, if you have the seat back in the full upright position, your head is right beside the center post. I can see where a head could easily bang against that post in a side impact and I can see where it could do damage. So, I reclined the seat back several inches. It was not only more comfortable in that position but now my head was away from the post and beside the window. The window was several inches further away from my head. I then sat in the backseat of my wife's Acura 3.2TL. I didn't measure, but it seemed that my head was about the same distance from that window.

What does all that mean? Probably not much since I have no idea about what would be safe in a crash BUT I would not want my head next to that pillar if there was a side impact. On the other hand, I don't believe there would be anymore of a problem with my head being next to the Element's window than it would be with my head being next to the window in the back seat of my wife's Acura or any other car I can imagine. So, bottom line is that IMHO, I believe the head damage possibility can be greatly minimized by just making sure that back seat passengers have the seat backs reclined until their heads are opposite the window and not opposite the post.

Just one person's opinion that probably means nothing but makes me feel a little more comfortable about the situation and I still believe the Element with side airbags is probably as safe as any vehicle you can buy in its size and price range.
 

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One thing that make me smile (aside from owning an Element of course) was that a co-worker who has a Volvo and has regularly dropped into my office to give an opinion on my Element, came up to me as I got to my E the other day to tell me he'd decided due to the side impact tests NOT to buy one because it was clearly not safe and that instead he was going to buy something else. Safety, he told me, is his greatest priority. Hence the Volvo, I guess. He proceeded to climb in it and drive off without putting on his seatbelt. When I asked him this morning, he said he never wears his seat belt because he thinks they're dangerous in an accident.... so much for his commitment to safety!!
 
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