I'm looking to trade in my civic do to the growing family size and will have a 5 year old and a newborn. Would this be perfect for me? I like the crv but find it to be everywhere and like the style of the element a bit more.
No. It's a great couples car. I regret not getting the pilot since it has the same gas consumption in reality.
We have two baby boys. The suicide doors in a parking lot are a pain. The rear cargo space is smaller then the CR-V's with the seats down. Our double stroller takes up all the trunk. The two seat option in the rear is a bad combo also.
Only good thing I like about the E is it's volume capacity when the rear seats are up and it's easy for my wife to change diapers in it.
I also have a 1st gen CR-V which is easier on us.
Only reason I'm keeping the E and not trading it in for a Pilot is becasue we got it at an amazing price. If I flip it nopw I can make 5K. But the rest of the funds are not there for the Pilot.
So since the E is like new I'd rather keep it for now.
We have a 1 year old and one on the way. I really haven't had any problems at all. It's been easy to put her in the car. Ok yes sometimes you will have problems in the parking lot but that could happen with any car when idiots don't know how to park. I don't have to dismantle my carriage I just toss it in the back. It takes up a lot of room but I still can fit all my groceries in the trunk. There is also a lot of room in front of the back seats on the floor. I think it's great small family car.
The suicide doors make getting an infant seat in and out interesting. Otherwise, I haven't had any complaints yet. One nice thing about the Element is that a passenger can crawl into the rear area to be with the baby if needed while the driver is driving.
We have a Civic as well, my wife prefers the Civic, I prefer the Element. For what it's worth, we've had two adults and two infants in the Civic with their strollers so I wouldn't say you need to be in a hurry to get rid of the Civic.
The CR-v definitely has more space in the rear. My MIL has an '07 0r '08. It's other benefit is that it has 5 seat belts instead of just 4.
I think the simple answer has to be no, it is not a great family car. I have only had the E for a month, so haven't had much experience. Our other car is a minivan, and there are lots of reasons minivans make great family cars. My kids are 9 and 10 now, and I wanted something bigger for them for skiing and fun, but it is not the primary kids car.
You have a soon to be five year old. That means they start school next fall. And pretty soon you will be "dropping off" at school and other events. You will want to drop off and pick up on the passenger side for safety, and there really isn't any good way for the E do that. I can reach over and open the passenger door, and my kids are old enough and big enough to get the door open and get themselves out and get the doors closed again, but I think younger kids will struggle there. For pickup: there is no way to pick up on the passenger side: they can't close the door once they get in the back.
The suicide doors are also interesting. I didn't appreciate this until I bought mine, but I live in the country and rarely park in lots where this may matter. The drivers door is huge and swings wide. Once the back door is open, if you are near another car, you are penned in to that little space, and so can't let your kids in or out of that pen, without doing a sort of shuffle around.
Everyone is bringing up very valid points against the E as a family car but they are also forgetting some very valid points to why it is a great family car at this point in your life.
I have a 6 and a 3 year old. The infant carrier seat is a bit of a pain but the real pain is the period when they are too big for the carrier seat and still face the rear.
The great part is the room and space inside the E, if you are creative with packing and utilize the space you can pack a lot of stuff in the E. I have packed the E full for a road trip for my family and had room to stuff a few extra things from friends who didn't have room in their Tahoes and larger SUVs.
When a child gets sick in the car or spill their food/drink it is not a big deal. Simple wipe up is all you really need.
It depends on how long you plan on keeping the car and what you are willing to put up with but quite a few of us really like our multi tool cars fro family use.
It works well for my family (two parents, a 9-year-old, and a dog).
Our son loves it, especially the elevated and reclining rear seats. He's got lots of leg room, cup holders, etc.
We like all the space, and the flexibility of the seating. We can carry camping gear, skies, the dog, etc. very easily. The open box design allows for easy access to the stuff we need, which is huge on road trips. It also helps that it's easy to clean!
The doors are a bit of a pain when dropping him off at school--but not something that bothers me that much. The trade-off (easy access vs. in/out convenience) is well worth it.
So, I guess it probably depends on what kind of family you have, and what you like to do together. Probably not the best "town" family car, but absolutely the best "adventure" family car!
To me, if you get an Element and you have a family, it works the same as buying a large two door sedan. It's a bit of an inconvenience, but nothing you can't get used to.
I have two children--ages 14 and 9, and it hasn't been a problem yet. My daughter is a teen and she has a lot of friends and likes to go places, but even when I had a five person car, I was unable to fit ALL of them in there. A three passenger backseat is useless, unless all passengers are teeny tiny and weigh less than 80 pounds. And honestly, I wasn't going to buy a huge car on the off chance that I might need to schlep around some extra kids a few times a year. If it's that important, I can rent an 8 passenger SUV for the day.
Obviously you are a young family and if you ever decide to have more kids, the Element will no longer work for you. If you plan on expanding your family in the next couple of years, I would suggest forgoing the Element entirely and getting yourself into a minivan. Not as fun, but practical.
This will be our last kid. I like the crv but there kind of up there in price. I just want to be able to go to the groc store and still have room for the kids stroller. I think the civic i have now is a bit small and then with one more coming i think it way to small. Man this is hard.
Our kids are 16 and 12 now but looking back I couldn't see having an Element as our primary family car. You could make it work but will always be limited to 4 people (and not much gear). As our kids got older they wanted to take [many] friends to activities. Our Odyssey worked best for that. But, now that they're older and one drives his own car, many trips are with just the 12 y.o. and one or two of her friends. The Element is perfect for that. They prefer to ride in it too