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Hello All,

Ok, so new to this forum as I am interested in the Element as a possible choice for a new vehicle for me. I have been driving an old 98 Ford Contour for awhile that was a cheap car for me to get through nursing school. I have now graduated, and, in addition to my 5yr old daughter, now have a 6wk old baby. So, the Contour is not working very well with the two kids, and I am going to be looking to replace it in the next six months or so. Let me also say that up until this point I have not had much of a choice of what kind of vehicle I drove, so have some choice is refreshing. This car will probably be a sorta of graduation/birthday/christmas present for me. I have alway's loved a stick shift (car - not trucks, so don't know how an Element stick compares), and loath minivans and cars that are to much (I don't need a huge SUV).

Basically the cars I am considering are as follows:

An element (AWD only - not Front wheel as have heard these are not to great in the snow).

A CRV (had been considering with one kid, but I'm a little concerned cargo room may be lacking here).

A Highlander

A Pilot (only b/c comparable to the highlander).

An Altima (nice size car without going into an SUV), or some Infiniti equivalent.

A Mazda 6 series (again nice sized w/o going SUV).

Now, must have a car that will get me where I need to go in inclement weather (does not have to be SUV 4wd - I had an 87 accord stick that went anywhere I needed it to) as I am a Nurse now, and will alway's have to get to work. This is one appealing factor of an SUV to me. Another is that getting kids up and into an SUV (within reason - I am only 5'2") is easier than trying to tilt the car seat right and contort just so to get them into my Contour. Now, downside, is I am concerned about gas mileage, so I don't want a hog for this, but would still like a vehicle that can get out of it's own way. I had a 4 cylinder volvo that got terrible gas mileage b/c it was so heavy and it could not get out of it's own way. I also want some room for strollers and groceries etc, and I think the CRV may not work well for this.

Above are some of the practical reasons I am interested in an Element, but I must also say that for years now I have only had free cars, cars that cost a couple of hundred dollars and only needed minor work (so dealt with them being multicolored but nice running etc), and I would like to pick a car that has some "cool" factor to it. Element has this for me. That said as much as a car might have "cool" going for it, the car must also pass the practical test or it is simply not worth it.

So, that's what I would like opinions on from some of you that already own these cars. How easy to get kids in out (both older and babies?)? How well does it do in bad weather? Reliability? Hauling capacity? Road comfort? Gas mileage? Any trouble spots to watch for? I have seen problems with windshields cracking? Any other advice appreciated.
Thanks,

Tamara
 

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I have owned a CRV since late 05 and just bought an element. I can tell you that with the back seats being used and not stored up out of the way the CRV has more cargo room. The back "trunk" cargo area is much bigger on the CRV in other words.

I love the element as a dog, outdoors, camping, fun car... but for family I would keep the crv.
 
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