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The only thing I would even think of replacing a 2003 Element is with a 2011 Element with the possibility of low mileage :)
Since it was the last year of production, maybe that works for you?
I'm with you on the idea of replacing an older E with a 10 or 11 model. However good luck finding one with any semblance of lower miles, at any semblance of a reasonable price. I own a 08, and my son owns an 04. I've not found anything in two years of searching meeting those criteria. I once found a 2010 with 65K, but with an firm price of $19,500.00 I just ran. That to me is an insane price for a vehicle I only paid $14,800. for new. I keep hearing rumors of a reintroduction in 2021 or 2022, though no Honda people know anything about that. I keep searching though....
 

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There is nothing else like, nor likely to ever be, anything like the Element, That is why my E replacement will eventually be a CyberTruck as there is nothing else like it. We have owned our 05 since new and have never been treated better by a vehicle, the versatility and reliability just cannot be beat. My E will most likely go to my son when he goes off to college so he can enjoy it for years to come.
 

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My wife drives a Lexus RX450h(we got a deal on a 3yr old 1 owner) VERY nice suv and the mpg in the hybrid has been as high as 30mpg city and 26 hwy, but i love the space and style of my 06 E Ex AWD. 258k miles and still rolling! My Tundra work truck is my daily so the E is my weekend ride. Just took a trip in the E and got 25.4mpg keeping it between 55-60mpg on the two lane highway through center Georgia. I love the inside space. I just had a tint strip put on the windshield and limo tint on the sunroof(way better!).
 

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And mainly, I am concerned about safety as I often drive my 2 toddlers in it.
Go with something newer- better safety- try to avoid a direct injection engine and a turbocharger.
The Ford Flex was mentioned- NO, the V6 engine has a problem with the water pump- it's chain driven, by the timing chain- So, when the bearing seal goes out, antifreeze coolant seeps into the engine oil. If not fixed asap, the engine will be ruined. However, if you find one that has a Carfax report that indicates the timing chain and water pump were replaced at the recommended service mileage interval, it would be an OK used car.
 
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