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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I went Element shopping today and took one out for a spin. I liked everything about it except the door design, which I absolutely HATE!

While a passenger in the rear seat, I felt claustrophobic when trying to exit the vehicle since the rear doors won't open unless the front doors are opened first. Also, we have a li'l shaver who'll be a big shaver before long. I'm afraid that he'll damage the vehicle if he tries to slam the rear (smaller) door shut after the front door has been closed.

Any thoughts? This door configuration is the deal maker/breaker for me.
 

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The clamshell door arrangement certainly isn't perfect and takes some getting used to. I took some friends out from work the other day and we had to park in a pretty tight spot, so when I opened my door and opened the back door to let one out, we were sort of awkwardly trapped in between the two doors and the car next to us. Overall I've gotten used to remembering to jump out and let the backseat passengers out when necessary. And as far as the slamming, those big heavy doors don't need much more than a nudge to close, so if you train the youngster not to slam, you shouldn't have to worry about damage. But of course, buying a car is a personal choice. For me, NOT having the clamshell door arrangement was a dealbreaker for me on the Xterra, CRV, and Saturn Vue - I was so sick of having to do a gymnastic routine just to get the baby in and out of the car. Now it's as easy as picking her up out of the crib. To each his own, I guess!
 

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I think the minor disadvantage of the back doors not opening without the front is offset by a mile by the space the back seat riders enjoy. Every backseat passenger in my E has raved about the leg room and the raised seats (so they see more than the seatbacks in front of them). My nephew (6'4") adores reclining the rear seat and looking out the sunroof.
 

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Your lil' Shaver(?) should get in and close the door first. Then the front seat passenger can get in and close the front door. That's how the E works. Plus your shavers can't open the door until the front seat shaver does. This is an added safety feature they don't even charge you extra for. I like the doors, but then I have daughters...Maybe they're smarter than shavers?
 

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Kayakin' Dan wrote "but then I have daughters...Maybe they're smarter than shavers"

Uh oh could these be fighting words....

Well not being a shaver or a kayaker - I had a funny one with these doors (and I love the doors). I was driving down the road and saw a friend jogging. I offered her a ride up the hill since it was so hot and humid. She accepted and said she would jump in the back because my dog was on the passenger seat. Being in the driver's seat with my seat belt on I opened my door so that she could open the back door and hop in. When she did, I got pinned against the seat by the seat belt which is attached to the post on the rear door. She's yanking on the door because it feel stuck. It was pretty funny but can see where someone might not appreciate the humor there.

Thom Wodock
Sergeantsville NJ
 

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[quote:655ed2cb5a="laurafoley"]My husband and I went Element shopping today and took one out for a spin. I liked everything about it except the door design, which I absolutely HATE!

While a passenger in the rear seat, I felt claustrophobic when trying to exit the vehicle since the rear doors won't open unless the front doors are opened first. Also, we have a li'l shaver who'll be a big shaver before long. I'm afraid that he'll damage the vehicle if he tries to slam the rear (smaller) door shut after the front door has been closed.

Any thoughts? This door configuration is the deal maker/breaker for me.[/quote:655ed2cb5a]

If it's a deal breaker, try the CRV - it has conventional doors and it's still a Honda.
 

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It took me awhile to get used to my Element. For the first 2 weeks I was very aware of the Element's oddiities. The blind spot in the back really bothered me. The doors were odd and I too got pinned by my own seat belt a few times. I learned how to adjust my mirrors so I had better visibility. Suddenly, everything seemed so natural. My E was me and I gave none of it any more thought. Any car takes some time to get used to. Personally I love the doors. I have room for personal items right behind me now. My passengers love the space that they have to sit. The Element is the best small commuter car that I can think of. Don't worry, if you buy the E you will find it a second home very soon.
 

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The door design can be both a nuisance and a godsend. There's no doubt that they make getting in and out of the car with a bunch of other people in tight places quite an experience and stuck between the doors and a nearby vehcile you'd best be reasonably well aquainted! They also make life difficult for rear-seat passengers in some situations as explained here. But on the other hand they give a great deal of the unique flavor that the Element offers and provide a truly stunning apature for load handling that is hard to beat.

So I guess if you carry rear-seat passengers a lot more than loads, you need to consider the disadvantages of the door design very carefully before purchase.

Mine is used rarely for rear-seat passengers, so I'm happy!
 

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I love the door design but can understand why others don't. Just think of the Element as a 2 door vehicle. Basically, that's what it is with these 2 extra little doors that help rear seat passengers get in and out by providing more space. Much better than a true 2 door, not quite as good as a true 4 door. I think the safety factor of having kids in the back and they can't get out is a big plus but again, that just my humble opinion.
 

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I love the door design myself. I hardly have anyone sit in the back so it's no big deal to me. You have to get use to a new thing just like any other item. If you have someone sit in the back, just make sure to park somewhere so you won't have to deal with 2 cars beside you :D
 

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If you really hate the rear doors, then you definitely should not buy an Element. In fact, it seems strange to me that you would still be considering any car where one of its major features you 'HATE!'.

I think you might want to try sometime a bit more conventional like a mini-van (big sliding door) or a station wagon (normal opening doors).

The Element really is only for a select few with refined tastes and an appreciation of its superior features.
 

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Ha, :lol: that was funny...but you do make a good point, buckaroo. My standard line if anyone says anything bad about anything I own or anything I do: "It's not for everybody."

As for me, I dig the doors -- the E looks more like a two door vehicle, which is cool...and even better, it is SO easy to load stuff in and out -- dogs, boxes, whatever. I don't have any lil' shavers, but if I were a human parent, I would love the fact that my kids aren't gonna be able to open the doors from the back seat and roll out into the street on purpose like my friend Steve Adkins did in his mom's '78 Ford Country Squire wagon (there's that word again!) while his brother was driving -- just to p.o. said brother. Whew, that was a mouthful!

And if you feel claustro in the back seat -- sit in the front. Little shavers are supposed to be in back anyway. That way they can hurl toy metal trucks at front-seat occupants with ease. Me, ohno I would never have done that! :twisted:

Steve
 

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I definitely agree with the others. We treat it as a 2-door vehicle, so it's no big deal. The pluses are that the rear door opens 90 degrees, so access to the back seat is really easy, for people or stuff. The amount of space in the back seat is also unbelievable compared to a "regular" car. The seats are also higher than those in a car, (Honda calls it stadium seating) so the view to the front is good, and they recline individually in steps! We were a bit concerned that the rear doors wouldn't close that with a solid thunk, but they do. They are actually latched top and bottom, while standard doors only latch in the center. What's not to like? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, everybody, for weighing in on the door issue. We have decided to purchase an Element, in part because of the comments posted on this forum.

I hope I can live up to being among the "select few"! :twisted:
 

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[quote:4e35c1a4da="laurafoley"]I hope I can live up to being among the "select few"! :twisted:[/quote:4e35c1a4da]

Don't worry we'll let you know.
 

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Hi laurafoley! The doors take a bit of getting used to, but I think they are a positive feature of the vehicle. My guess is that you are really going to like your E. Have you decided on a color?
 
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