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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so I am ready to buy a used Element now. My budget is a Maximum of $15k, what year should I be looking for that has had the least amount of typically known problems? I don't care if the panels are painted or not. I do mostly in town driving. I do want the EX model. I want AWD. Thanks for your input!:?
 

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It doesn't seem like there were any particularly "bad" years for the Element...the car was largely unchanged for its entire model run from 2003 to present, with the exception of the addition of a 5sp auto (vs the 4sp auto) in 2007. There were some minor refinements here and there, but nothing really major has changed on the car. FWIW, it seems like the people with newer model Elements are getting better gas mileage than us with the earlier models, likely the result of the new 5sp automatic.

With a budget of $15k, you should be able to find a relatively new, low mileage example with little trouble. I bought my 05 two years ago with 58k miles on it for $12500, so you should be able to find a nice 07-08 in your range.

Incidentally, the transmission is the only thing that I hate about my Element -- I gave up looking for one with a manual transmission in my area because they seem to be extremely rare (with AWD). That was my mistake and I should have held out. This is the first automatic I've owned, and I think it sucks the fun right out of the car...it just feels so much more sluggish than it should. I assume the newer 5sp automatics are a little better, but I'm kicking myself for not searching out a manual transmission model. Still, I LOVE my Element and it suits our needs quite well.

Happy shopping!
Brian
 

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I'd recommend an '07 or later. Starting with '07 you get a slightly more powerful engine, a transmission with more speeds which can help with gas mileage, the seat belts are integrated into the front seats instead of the doors so you don't have to unbelt to let a passenger in a rear seat out and I think you also get side airbags starting with '07.

Just bought my '07 a couple of weeks ago - AT, AWD, 55k miles for $12,900 before tax and fees.
 

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I always vote 05-06 as the best years. 03-04 had a few recalls that were fixed by 05, and the 07-08 models have brake issues that I still see members complaining about.
 

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The 2003/2004 models have the most comprehensive owner experience statistics. What issues they had/have are well documented.

The E has experienced a lot of changes since the model was introduced in 2003. Most of the "skin", brakes, transmission and engine components have been modified. If you believe in such things the CR listings showed electrical issues in 05/06 and body hardware problems peaking in 06/07. The '11 model is questionable because of the small production volume.

IMO, the 07/08 models are probably the sweet spot.
 

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The mileage appears to be about the same depending on your driving style. I have an 06 MT and love it. I test drove both the AT and MT. If you can find one and like MT, thats the way I'd go. A big difference in performance. MPGs about the same for both.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd recommend an '07 or later. Starting with '07 you get a slightly more powerful engine, a transmission with more speeds which can help with gas mileage, the seat belts are integrated into the front seats instead of the doors so you don't have to unbelt to let a passenger in a rear seat out and I think you also get side airbags starting with '07.

Just bought my '07 a couple of weeks ago - AT, AWD, 55k miles for $12,900 before tax and fees.
They must be cheaper where you live because I haven't seen an '07 or even an '06 for less than 15k in my neck of the woods. Maybe with over 100k miles.:twisted:
 

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I'm not a big fan of the 07 with the 5 spd auto, Constant down shifting on the highway and the fuel mileage does not seem any better than what owners of A-4 get. Plus there are some funky things going on with the torque converter that have yet to be resolved. I do like the seat belts yet others prefer the belt on the door set up. If I could go back and do it again I would buy an 06 with the better looking alloy rims.
 

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I'm not a big fan of the 07 with the 5 spd auto, Constant down shifting on the highway and the fuel mileage does not seem any better than what owners of A-4 get. Plus there are some funky things going on with the torque converter that have yet to be resolved. I do like the seat belts yet others prefer the belt on the door set up. If I could go back and do it again I would buy an 06 with the better looking alloy rims.
07 lmnt, you should have the same rims as 06 is when they changed them.
 

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They must be cheaper where you live because I haven't seen an '07 or even an '06 for less than 15k in my neck of the woods. Maybe with over 100k miles.:twisted:
The local Honda dealer was doing a big business in lease come-backs on '07 and '08 models last year. Most of them were under 50K miles and sold for around $18-19K. On the other hand, having an '08 myself, I've GOT to admit that the '07-'08 model is the best of the bunch by far. You get the pinnacle of the Element fleet before it started going downhill again with the '09s when Honda decided to start building it "cheaper" instead of "better".
 

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They must be cheaper where you live because I haven't seen an '07 or even an '06 for less than 15k in my neck of the woods. Maybe with over 100k miles.:twisted:
It took work to get my deal. I stalked that particular car for several months on ebay. It was being sold by a BMW dealer - they kept launching successive auctions for it with reserves that weren't met, then they started lowering the reserve and I finally won it.

If you monitor dealer's used car inventories you may find that they get much more motivated to deal once a car is sitting in inventory past 60 days.

Up until the day I bought it, that car was showing at a price of ~$18K on the dealer's web site.
 

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I did some research and I wanted a newer Element but not a '10 or '11 because it was out of my price range of $17k. It came down to an '07, '08 or '09, and after reading some posts here and also consumer reports car buying guide, I narrowed it down to an '07 LX and an '08 EX (even with the brake problems, they were ranked higher than a '09, and the '10 was ranked a do not buy). I took the '08 EX.
 

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So far I am thinking an '06 with the fugly wheels (which I actually like), might be my best bet. There are not many Elements for sale in Iowa, so I have to keep my eye out for a good deal. :domokun:
 

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So far I am thinking an '06 with the fugly wheels (which I actually like), might be my best bet. There are not many Elements for sale in Iowa, so I have to keep my eye out for a good deal. :domokun:
Lots of trade offs picking which year. I had an 04 (got totaled) and now have an 07. Miss the much nicer stylish dash of the 03-06. Miss the early seats. Can't put your arm over the top of the new seats...too tall. Miss the unpainted fenders of the early E. All in all the early E was much more "Element". Honda thought they might sell more Elements if they made them more ordinary. The biggest thing is that the 07 has more airbags. You will probably need to increase your search area. Especially if you have a color preference. Good luck.
 

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Lots of trade offs picking which year. I had an 04 (got totaled) and now have an 07. Miss the much nicer stylish dash of the 03-06. Miss the early seats. Can't put your arm over the top of the new seats...too tall. Miss the unpainted fenders of the early E. All in all the early E was much more "Element". Honda thought they might sell more Elements if they made them more ordinary. The biggest thing is that the 07 has more airbags. You will probably need to increase your search area. Especially if you have a color preference. Good luck.
I bought an 07, and was originally sold on the upgrades with the 07 redesign, but the more I own the car the more I appreciate that different isn't always better. In comparing 07 to 06:

Pros for 07:
* More horsepower (but as a number it's kind of meaningless, since you hit peak horsepower at just under redline and most people don't drive with their elements at 8000 rpm or so). I'm unsure if the 07 has much extra power at normal driving speeds.
* Safety (seat design and airbags), a 5-star rating vs (I believe) a 4-star rating for the 06, although the airbag placement rules out most seat covers
* Extra overdrive speed (although unless you're in a relatively flat part of the country, you should expect more downshifting than with the 06)

Pros for 06:
* Front seat flips forward, which would be nice for loading things in the side
* Seat design permits a wide selection of seat covers, which will be an issue as my Element gets older and the light gray seats get stained
 
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