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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wasn't intending to test drive it. Actually, I wasn't intending to stop but as I drove by it I had to. Here is an impression of the car from a 30 something professional that has no vested interest in Honda or having others buy this car (warning Element lovers, I love it but I have gripes too!) :

1) Increadible design: this car is so out of the ordinary it is cool. I love the design so much but think Honda is going to strike out trying to hit their target market. Yep, sorry, 20 somethings won't be the main buyer. It will be the 30s and 50s crowd (IMHO) and they will sell a ton of them.

2) Very versitile and well thought out interior. Love the storage and headroom! Love the floor (great for my kids I suspect). Intertior noise sounded a little loud probably due to lack of carpet.

3) Baby seats! Because the seats are easy to remove they are not safe enough to anchor a baby seat to. The dealer told me that a baby seat anchor actually straps to the ceiling on the back of the car. What? how lame is that? The last thing I want in a versitile car are straps hangin from the ceiling

4) I have long legs and don't understand why few car companies accomodate our growing numbers. If you are over 6-2 the car seats won't move back enough. I wish they would accomodate us, especially with all the extra room here. My Audi A4 does a great job for this.

5) My biggest gripe about this car is the total lack of an engine. I swear my vespa could out run this engine. I would NOT consider a purchase of this vehicle without an engine with more power. I went from a stop light to the entrance of a freeway and had to floor it the entire time to just get to 60. This engine is an absolute joke. One would think with a wimpy engine the gas mileage would be better but it is anything but good. Our Explorer get the same mileage with much more powerful engine and a heavier car. what gives honda?

6) Wait until the side-impact air bags come out. The extra time is worth the saftey.

7) Sunroof in back is so cool but useless. I want it up front. I could care less about the luggage having a terrific view of the sky.

Conclusion:
If you are under 6-2, do not have kids, don't care about having a lawnmower engine and want a versitile car this is for you.

Personally, I will buy this car, but, I am going to wait for a bigger engine, better solution for car seats (maybe the dealer was worng? let me know), side airbags, longer leg room and a sunroof I can see out of.
 

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Interesting and valuable observations, though I'd questiona couple of points:

Firstly the engine. I've had my Element for a little under 4 weeks and have 2500 miles on it. If the engine were as weak as you make it out to be, it wouldn't have been possible cover that may miles in that space of time! I've heard the 'poor engine' comments before and tended to dismiss them as form people who probably hadn't actually driven an E, but since you have it makes me wonder if there isn't an issue here, because I know that while my Element doesn't have the sort of power I experienced from my Chevy 3.4 V6, it gets onto the freeway and into traffic easily and is very responsive to the throttle. Maybe you might try another Element at a different dealer and see if your experience is consistent.

I also see what you mean about the sunroof, but I think it's great back there, particularly when I've been in the back. It adds a lot of light and a sense of even greater space. It's not that I wouldn't mind another one up front though, and I see that at least one dealer/installer is offering just that.

Thanks for posting - useful food for thought!
 

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GuyGadois: Some interesting observations indeed. However, I am really confused about your concerns about power.

I have a EX 4WD that literally has more acceleration than the 6 cylinder Mitusubishi that I traded in. Granted my Mitsu was 15 years old but it never hand the gearing that my EX has (and I bought the Mitsu new in 1989). I do not want to appear like a dyed in the wool Honda fan, because I am not. I am on the highway, in MA, quite often and have yet to have to use the max potential of this new car. Your observation confuses me, but I am more than happy with my EX.
 

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GuyGadois, 1st off, thanks for posting your observations. You make some good points. I'll grant you every one of them except for the power issue.

I've had my Element just over 2 weeks and have put 1400 miles of freeway driving on it in that time. Every single day, I turn left onto a very short highway entrance ramp from a dead stop. When there's no traffic in front of me, I've never failed to achieve 65-70mph on this extremely short entrance ramp, to easily merge with traffic. Once on the freeway, it's easy to pass whatever I want to pass at 70 or 80mph. (I admit that I've never had the E over 80mph, and wouldn't care to do so.) At 70mph it tachs just 2900rpm and at 80mph it tachs 3100rpm, so it's still in very comfortable mid-range at the highest speed that I care to drive at. Doing this, I've NEVER yet floored the vehicle. In fact, I don't actually know what it would do if I stomped it. I've been taking it easy during these first miles. And this is in the supposedly sluggish 4WD auto trans. So far, I've not noticed any difference in performance when the AC is running, though it does seem to cut back on gas mileage just a little.

Comparing this 4WD boxy Element to my previous Toyota Tacoma PU 4cly., I notice virtually no difference whatsoever in acceleration or cruising or passing performance. And I originally bought that 4 banger Toyo Tacoma because it had just as much useable highway power as my previous Dodge Dakota 6 cylinder. (That's not a joke, it's reality. The Dodge had a higher payload and towing capacity, but ran higher rpm to achieve the same speed unloaded, and always sounded like it was working lots harder.)

In fact, if you want to compare raw specs on the Honda Element to a dedicated sportscar like the Mini Cooper S, things get interesting. The Honda Element generates 160HP @5,500rpm with a 2.4l engine, and the super charged Mini Cooper S generates [email protected] Like I said, I've never yet even had my Element above 3100rpm, and I run 70mph every single day, so there's bound to be power to spare.

I would urge you to test drive another Element. Perhaps something was amiss in the one you drove.
 

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Over 6K miles - and a 5 spd.

Some of these issues will most likely be addressed. Remember - the Element was not designed to be a family car.

The child seat clips in the back. Greater minds and dummies will determine this. I'm glad I have no little ones anymore to have to make this decision. I would not have even looked at the Element if I still had to be the Mom Mobile.

More leg room in front. Yes - at 6' tall and long large legs 36" inseam, I could use 2 more inches of leg room and either a lower seat or higher steering wheel (or Weight Watchers). A better positioning for my left foot. Though I don't get the leg cramps like I do in other vehicles.

The sunroof in back. I like it, don't have it. Think I will look into getting an after market powered moonroof.

Ahhh - the power thing. Wrong! The Element 5 spd goes from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds. It does not bog down going up high bridges, etc. No mountain or hilly drives yet though. It runs at 80 miles an hour quite nicely. (In fact that is the sweet spot where I get the best mileage.)

The carrying weight issue was not mentioned. I have on a few occasions overloaded the vehicle and have felt the impact when I drove. Redistributing the weight made a big difference. We have a small truck to do this kind of hauling.

Knock on wood - the cracked windshields, leaky seals, rattling doors, rocking seats, etc. have not happened to me.

Let close saying - the Element is not the one vehicle for all people. If it doesn't work for you - it doesn't work for you. I admire many little cool 2 seaters - would love to have one - but they don't work for me. End of story.
 

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This engine is one of the best four banger in the world, Honda use it into Accord, CRV and now into the element. The big difference should be the weight of the element (1535 KG...). This engine has 160 HP and 160 lbf-ft, the element is not a sport car but will be fastest than the average SUV's, also, an audi A4 with 1.8 liter turbo is not a bomb... with 170 HP... :roll:

Anyway, it's a question of perception but when I tried an element 3 months ago, I was surprise by this peppy performance and for me, it's a very good compromise between performance and fuel efficiency... :D

This year, Honda has develop a version of this engine with 200 HP for the new Acura TSX, not need necessary to put a turbo to have power... :wink:
 

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For a 4cyl the car does have a lot of power - for a 4cyl.

As I said in another thread, however, when I compare it to driving my wife's Escape which has a V6, they're not even close. That thing leaves my poor Element in the dust.

A bigger engine would have been nice to have in the Element. How can having more power and being faster be a bad thing?
 

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I couldn't disagree more. I had a Ferrari before I bought my Element and the Element has WAY more power.

Sorry, Tigernumber6, I couldn't resist! :D

Seriously though, for a small engine it's pretty peppy. I don't have any complaints but I am coming off of another small engine in my previous car.

If I could have more power would I? Absolutely.
 

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I have had my EX AWD for three days now and love it. I dont agree with the lack of power statement I dove mine 212 miles home from the dealer and had the cruise set at 90 mph for the entire trip (1am on the expessway). my wife was following in our 99 grand voyager 3.6 V6 and she told me that she had a hard time keeping up. the reason I set the cruise in the first place was because every time I looked at the speedo I was up at 100mph and even at that speed my E was smooth riding. during times of greater traffic when I had to drop out of warp speed I had no problem with getting back up to speed and passing slower traffic(when I step on the gas it goes!). as far as the child's car seat issue if you look at most Mini vans and smaller SUVs today almost all of them have removable seats that use the same type af anchoring system whether it be for the seat to the floor or the child seat to the seat, and with the anchor hooks of the element attached to the roof this to me is better that most cars where it is only anchored to the seat. as far as the anchors being in the way , I havent found this to be a problem yet. oh buy the way even though I would love to have a sun roof up front I do have to say that my two Daughters (McKayla, 4 and Sydney, 2)love the rear sun roof.... Any way these are just the views of a Dodge Ram owner that also loves his new E!
 

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My last car only had a 140 HP 4-cyl, so the Element seems incredibly peppy to me! I get up to 65 without noticing it all the time. :) I do miss my manual transmission though...

That being said... who cares?! You can't legally go over 75 anywhere in the US, and if the entrance ramp is so short that you can't get up to speed in time, 9 out of 10 other drivers won't be able to do it either. Frankly, I think it's not so important how fast a car goes from 0 to 60 as it is how fast it can go from 85 to 65! :D

If you want a sportscar, don't get the E. If you want a funky utility vehicle with unique features, comfy seats, a bitchin' stereo, and killer style, then get an E. It's pretty simple.

Drew
 

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[quote:689b4ba8e2="medic4lee"]I have had my EX AWD for three days now and love it. I dont agree with the lack of power statement I dove mine 212 miles home from the dealer and had the cruise set at 90 mph for the entire trip (1am on the expessway)[/quote:689b4ba8e2]

Off the subject but I guess you don't believe in Honda's recommended break in proceedure at all. I just used my cruise control for the first time today since I passed the 600 mile mark.
 

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Thanks for your observations, GuyGadois. If all of your reservations about the Element are showstoppers for a purchase, then it will likely be a long time, if ever, before you acquire one. Certainly it would have to be a second generation design before all of the things you are waiting for would even have a potential of being addressed.

If the power issue is the one true roadblock, and the others annoyances, then I would recommend a couple of more objective test drives. I'm not trying to convince you that it has more power than it does, but I am a fairly aggressive driver (and by that I mean passionate, not that I drive like a jerk) who disposed of an Acura RSX-S (200hp 6-sp) and a BMW 330CiC (225hp 5-sp), both Car and Driver top ten picks and I love the way the Element performs. I just don't have the expectation that it should perform in the same class as my previous rides. I can, however, chirp the tires in at least 1st and 2nd gears, if I want to...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I test drove an automatic (which I would buy with kids) so that obviously slows the car down a bit (I will test drive a stick later). Sure the engine isn't bad but I would desire a larger one - not to achieve a record breaking topspeed but for passing and simple acceleration. Many years ago I owned a Honda CRX HF which was a great car. I took that to 95 once (yes, it shook, a lot). Even though it could hit that speed I would not consider it a powerful engine. Yes, 160 HP is awesome but it doesn't make a hoot of difference until you compare the weight of the car which seems to be a bit high (HP/weight ratio) and the gas mileage which seems just ok (I guess I come to expect more from Honda which leads in this area). I suspect the car is heavy beacuse of the door design and the extra amount of stabilization.

Edmunds rates the acceleration as the following:
Performance:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.3
0 - 45 (sec): 6.0
0 - 60 (sec): 9.7
0 - 75 (sec): 14.5
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 17.25 @ 80.94

0-60 in 9.7 is hardly inspiring and the extra 15 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds seems a bit long (I hope it isn't a double semi you are passing!).

Overall, the engine seems fine for most uses. Personally I would like to see a little more excitement in it to match the excitement of the design. Lastly, I realize that you can't get everything you want in a car - that will never happen. But, hey, why not voice what you would like to have - maybe someone is listening.

Guy
 

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I hear you. I've had my Element for almost three months now and even though it's a pretty peppy 4cyl, it's still just a 4cyl.

Not to call anyone on this board a liar but I find it hard to believe when people are talking about 3.6 V6's having a hard time keeping up with the Element. Not only is there a 4cyl under the lid, it's heavy (purposefully so by Honda to prevent a "tippy" feel due to its tall height) and it's not at all aerodynamic. I think either they should have the vehicle with the V6 checked out or the person driving it wasn't trying very hard.

There really shouldn't be a debate here. Someone said it's not a powerful engine and it's not. Not a knock against the Element, it's just that it has a small engine.

And guys, top speed has nothing to do with it. I had my old Saturn up around 110 and it practically had a weed wacker engine. It just took me half a day to get up to that speed.
 

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I don't recall reading a comment about a 3.6V6 not being able to keep up, but you may be right. All I know is that my last car had a 3.4V6 and it was a delight to use on long trips where overtaking was a breeze because it had seemingly limitless mid-band power. I made just such a trip in my Element and expected problems overtaking due to lack of power, and was pleasantly surprised. Did it have the same get up and go as the V6? No, but it was not that far behind. Nor have I had any problems with acceleration entering highways or overtaking.

Where I do take exception (very midly) is this comment:
"There really shouldn't be a debate here. Someone said it's not a powerful engine and it's not. Not a knock against the Element, it's just that it has a small engine. "

The characterization of what was actually said isn't quite right because more accurately it was that in the writer's opinion, the engine is not powerful enough. It's not a fact, it's an opinion and was stated to be so. In MY opinion, the engine is fine for the size and function of the vehicle. Mine is no more of a fact and every bit as much of an opinion, but since it conflicts with the original view, there is plenty of room for debate. I don't say this because I want to defent the E against critical comments because I couldn't care less. I say it because we're here to express opinions and experiences and none are more or less valid than any others.
 

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[quote:aa2f0eca50="GuyGadois, the first post"] My biggest gripe about this car is the total lack of an engine. I swear my vespa could out run this engine. I would NOT consider a purchase of this vehicle without an engine with more power. I went from a stop light to the entrance of a freeway and had to floor it the entire time to just get to 60. This engine is an absolute joke.

Conclusion:
If you are under 6-2, do not have kids, don't care about having a lawnmower engine and want a versitile car this is for you.
[/quote:aa2f0eca50]
[quote:aa2f0eca50="GuyGadois, the second post"]Sure the engine isn't bad but I would desire a larger one - not to achieve a record breaking topspeed but for passing and simple acceleration.

Overall, the engine seems fine for most uses. Personally I would like to see a little more excitement in it to match the excitement of the design. Lastly, I realize that you can't get everything you want in a car - that will never happen. But, hey, why not voice what you would like to have - maybe someone is listening.
[/quote:aa2f0eca50]

Okay, Guy, now I'm confused. Which is it? Looks to me that your opinion has shifted quite a bit toward the middle of the spectrum, certainly within the range where many happy owners reside. Would you be happy with the Element? Only you can decide that.

Of course, people on a forum such as this are going to respond to the extreme statements made in the first post.

I know that I am one of the people who has written a lot of positive posts regarding the performance of the Element. But I expect that people will also come to their own conclusions. To me, driving a smaller engine is more of a challenge. It's about managing a very finite set of resources. It's fun to me. I'd rather drive a vehicle that is moderately powered than one that has endless power, because I don't see the fun in never pushing the envelope. But maybe that's just me.

The Element is not all things to all people. In your first post, you made a number of key points where you have misgivings about it after your test drive. I hope there's a vehicle out there that meets all of your needs. If the Element comes closest overall and you acquire one, then great. If not, then that is just as well.
 
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