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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really thought I was ready to buy the Element. I LOVE it! My ONLY concern is the 4 seater. I have a 9 month old and want to have one more child soon. That makes a family of 4. So if we have an element that means no one else, including visiting family members can drive in the car with us. My husband has a company minivan now, but we can't count on that long-term because they may be taking it back and giving him a 2-seater pickup truck. So reluctantly, I have started thinking I may have to get something with more seating, like a minivan. Boring, but how do I tell my mom, "sorry, no room for you to come with us in the car?" HELP! What should I do? Honda really didn't think this one through much!
 

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Element's great. But if that doesn't fit your needs, for the money I can't recommend anything more than the Subaru Forester (I prefer the 2.5 XS Premium). Give the 2003 2.5XS a drive. It was redesigned for 2003 and is an awesome vehicle--for a wagon! It even has more ground clearance than an Element (by about .3 inches).

It fits tall people better, has a lot of fine details like in dash 6 disc CD with cassette, automatic climate control, and their unmatched all wheel drive, safety, and crash test results.

Oh, wait, this is an Element web site! Well, I have the 4WD EX and love it, but I tell every family that asks my opinion about cars the same thing (above). I also recommend the Element, of course.
 

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chloed,
1st off, I think you need to really identify what it is about the Element that you specifically like. 2nd, I think that you need to make a hard decision about how important carrying more than 4 people is to you. 3rd, I think Honda did indeed think this one through very thoroughly, they just didn't think of it in terms of trying to be all things to all people. Keep in mind that this was designed from the ground up as a vehicle that would appeal to a very narrow band of the buying public. The fact that it appeals to so many of us that are well outside that narrow band, just testifies to the idea that they really got a lot of things right in this initial attempt.

My negative opinions on minivans go way back. I grew up in a VW Microbus. Suffice it to say that I learned early on to loathe underpowered, nonareodynamic boxes. I've always thought that I was fundamentally allergic to the entire minivan idea, but I have to say that after looking at both the Toyota Sienna CE and the Honda Odyssey, my opinion of minivans has been significantly altered for the better. Either is a very worthy vehicle, far surpassing early attempts by VW, Dodge, Chrysler , Ford and Chevy. The new crop of minivans is really a quite different animal than any that have preceeded. Well, except for the VW. They just really haven't ever got the whole concept right in terms of what the American market wants, but that's a whole 'nuther story. But anyway, either the Toyo Sienna or the Honda Odyssey are worth mentioning twice. As a caveat, I'll offer up that I've never owned either, but was tempted by them enough to be willing to abandon my prejudice against the breed and really consider ownership. If *comfortably* seating 5 or more adults was important to me, I'd again look very hard at those two minivans.

As for the overly popular Subaru Forrester, I don't mean to be disagreeable with the previous poster, but I do vehemently disagree. I'm only 6ft. tall and of entirely average proportions in every dimension, but riding even short distances in the back seat of one of those was very near to torture for me. When I had to endure the back seat, and it's total lack of legroom and headroom for an extended trip, I made a mental note NEVER to get into the back of one of those again. It may be a fine model for the primary owner/driver, but as a passenger, I find it far more cramped than is acceptable.

That is really one of several areas where the Honda Element stands head and shoulders and most importantly, KNEES above the crowd. It's got so much legroom between the front and rear seats that folks much taller and larger than me would certainly be comfortable with the dimensions. The only caveat there is that the rear seats are pretty darn low. But I don't find that too much of an issue. I made a point of sitting in the rear seat of the E for awhile, and will do so again before I commit to buying one. That is one of many attentions to detail that really most impressed me about the Element.

So, really, you've just got to list your own priorities.
 

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Simple! Stick with Honda and buy a CR-V. Seats 5, prolly has better gas mileage, but is not as "unique" as the E.
 

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Its real simple: get the Honda Odyssey for the family and buy an Element for yourself! You won't be disappointed. :lol:
 

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i traded in my 2001 subaru forester for the element..nothing wrong with it
but thinking of moving to oregon and i always like to service my vehicle at the brands service center and subaru dealership are few and far between.
but the forester was such a great car with so many, many extras in it..
i highly recommend it!
 

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Leave you or your wife at home for a well deserved break from the kids and pop mom up front and off you go! I thought about the 4 seater limit as well but decided to go forward. I figured any other car in that class would still not fit more than 2 car seats in the back. By the time my third kid comes along, we will be looking into buying the new VW Microbus when it hopefully comes out.
 

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chloed:
Know you won't care to read this but....you are a minivan candidate, maybe an Odyssey.

If you need to be able to carry more than 4 occasionally, Odyssey (or other minivan) is ideal. It has twice the cargo space as an E, not much less gas mileage, much better acceleration (7.7 0-60!); and proven safety ratings.

Me, I'm in a 99 Odyssey (literally), wife drives the Pilot (8 seater in a pinch) and considering an E. Our two kids - 5 and 10 want to do camping and biking now and I'd like a "smile-on-my-face" utilitarian vehicle. And no the Pilot doesn't cut it. Besides, if I hurt Mommy's truck it could be painful for me.

Sorry, but E doesn't cut it for primary transport vehicle for more than 4. If you still need an SUV that seats more than 5, I'd suggest a Pilot LX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all for your very good advice! I'll let you know what I decide. Even if I go with another vehicle, my heart will be with the E. Maybe by the time we're ready for a 2nd vehicle the E will be out in YELLOW! Yeah!
 

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sometimes only being able to seat 4, is a blessing... i'm an only child but my g/f comes from a large family... its always nice to say,"hey, i can only take 2 more"...
 

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That's one constraint there's no getting over - 4 people.

That's why Honda needs to build a bigger version of the Element and leave this one alone.

We have a 5 year old Minivan because we need a larger people mover for vacations etc. My wife would trade it in a hearbeat for a Trailblazer or Pilot sized Element. Same proportions - Bigger vehicle.

I use the Element to commute to work, and it gives us great versatility for Home Depot and the Garden Center. I love the quality for 19K (I got the 5speed)...
 

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Wow, all sorts of wild commentary here, let me add my $.2!

First off, we've got both an Element (one week old!!!) and an Odyssey. Love the Odyssey, great for the family, nice on long trips, hauls that baseball team and the dance company--but it ain't no Element. The Element zips along, is easy to park, has quick conversion to carry cargo, cheap to own and run--and it's mine, so I'm biased.

But I would buy an Odyssey if it was my only family vehicle and I had two kids. You never have just two kids and even just two come with more stuff than you can believe.

Second, I have to politely disagree with bqbauer and agree with natural wonder, the Forester does NOT have near the headroom or legroom in either the front or back saets that the Element has. Now I'm not that tall, just 6'3", but I actually measured and adjusted with kids in the back seat and there's more room all over--even if the stats don't say so.

Lastly, pemfluke got a geat car in the Element, but evedently didn't study up on Oregon much. Subaru is a household name around here, all over the state. They've had the small 4WD market captured forever and there's a dealer on every-other corner. But, don't dipair, I think the Element is a step up!
 

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I guess I should have clarified. I find virtually all Japanese cars, including Honda and especially Toyota, to be extremely unforgiving to the front seat passenger. The Subaru Forester is an exception, and to a lesser degree the Element. I'm not talking about headroom, but toe room.

In the CRV, for example, I sit there and my feet are forced together on the floor due to the cramped floor space. I have no room to stretch because my feet hit the underside of the dash almost immediately. In my Ford, I can stretch out my legs straight with nothing to bump into under the dash. Think about this on long drives when you gotta stretch! And I have tall friends to think about....

Back seat is a different story; I neglected to say that. And minivans and the Pilot are probably exceptions as well, but I've never shopped for minivans. The Pilot is awesome from what little I've seen.

I still support the Subaru. Everyone looks for something different, and it's an entirely subjective decision.
 

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[quote:b2e99dfe3a="misfit"]sometimes only being able to seat 4, is a blessing... i'm an only child but my g/f comes from a large family... its always nice to say,"hey, i can only take 2 more"...[/quote:b2e99dfe3a]

I like your take on this, Misfit! :wink:

My wife and I have a Dodge Grand Caravan that has 4 captains's chairs and a third row bench so it can carry 7 people in comfort - although the 7th better be pretty thin. In the 5 years we've owned the minivan, I can count the number of times we've had more than 4 passengers on one hand. The vast majority of the time, there's just my wife and me in there. Granted, it is a comfy ride and offers plenty of people space, but I like the Element's shorter length and generally "zippier" feel for in-town travel.

It really does come down to the "4 passenger" issue, but think hard about how likely you are to need to haul an entire troup of folks before letting that sway you away from a smaller, less expensive, and cooler vehicle - like the Element! :D
 

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I had a huge Dodge van when I had a family of 6. When the kids started to drive their own cars and it wasn't cool to travel with Mom and Dad, I dumped the van and bought a Civic.

On the occasions when I had to have the extra room, I just rented a bigger vehicle. In my case that came to about twice a year. It helped to plan for the event though to get a good rate.

Cost per year for car rental - $200.

Savings in gas driving a Civic - priceless
 
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