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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone - I've been lurking around here for a while and it has finally come to be time for me to possibly purchase an element. Here's the problem, I can only afford to spend about 10,000 to 11,000 dollars, which definitely limits my options.

Right now, I am driving a mazda3 (5door) which is a great car, but it no longer suits my needs. My wife and I do a lot of traveling from long island to upstate NY in the winter and I really need something that is better in the snow. We also have two small dogs and I have recently got into mountain biking, which makes the element a really good choice. The benefits of the element are obvious but I do have a couple of concerns:

How bad are the windshield issues? Are the suicide doors really that much of a pain? Is there anything else I should be concerned about when buying used?
Are their any years/makes/models that I should avoid? Hoe many miles and what year element might fall into my limited budget?

I know it might be difficult to find a good one within my budget, but I feel pretty good because its a honda.

Thank you all in advance for any advice/help. THis is a great forum!
 

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Welcome, Red Mosquito. Do some reading, especially here in the "Shoppin' and Test Drivin' " forum, and you'll find that most or all of your questions have been addressed. Also look over in "Problems & Issues," but bear in mind that for every squawk, there are many owners who haven't experienced that issue. (In fact, "I don't have that problem" posts are discouraged.)

The production flaw that caused windshields to crack affected 2003 and early 2004 models only. OTOH the Element's windshield is very upright and rather thin, so it is a tad more at risk from rock strikes than windshields on some other vehicles.
 

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2007 Element EX TRP
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In addition to the great advise from RD, check out what you can afford by going to kbb, nada, and edmunds.com for a realistic value for your budget. I like edmunds because they have their TMV (True Market Value) for your zip code. IMHO it gives you the best price to begin your negotiations from.

In regards to the actual purchase, do your homework on the car (not that I'm suggesting you wouldn't, you've already started that) - get a CARFAX report as well as any maintenance records that are available. Take it to a trusted mech for a complete check. The E is, according to Consumer's Report, reported as a vehicle that could easily go over 250k miles, with proper maintenance. I plan to see 1 million miles myself....:razz:

Good luck in your search and let us know when you bring hEr home!!
 

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I think Ramblerdan gave you the correct information. This forum is the best resource in the world for the Element. In fact, I have been told by a Honda dealer, that if they have a complaint they have not seen before, They look Here first !!

That's got to tell you something about this site.

Have a good time reading all of the pertinent information!

Oh, Resistance is futile! You will be assimilated! :-D

Dom
 

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Welcome to the OEC, Red Mosquito.

Regarding the suicide doors: I personally have had no problems with them. The only real issues people seem to have is it is sometimes hard to maneuver (you and people not the car :grin:) in and out of them in tighter parking spots when dealing with rear passengers and baby seats.

PS, if you bite me and draw blood, I WILL smack you! :evil:
 

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When I had both of my driver's side doors open, the front one slipped shut. Then, I accidently [gently] closed the rear door and "clunk" it hit the closed front driver's door :cry: I looked and looked and it didn't even leave a scratch - but could have with more force. I guess I won't do that again. Otherwise you get used to them - and they are very safe & great for loading/unloading stuff.

Mine was purchased with 45,000 miles on it and the windshield couldn't look better.
 

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Can you even find an E for $10-11K??

I guess you can


Our other car is a Mazda P5 (predecessor to the 3) Like our E, we put winter tires on it when appropriate. I've driven that car in 4" of snow on it's summer tires: it was downright dangerous. On the snow tires however, it starts, stops and turns with confidence, the E may be more fun to drive through the snow, but the Mazda will get us there unless we're talking 12+". I imagine your 3 has similar stock tires and handling characteristics.

My advice to you: invest ~$600 on winter wheels/tires for the 3. Give them a winter to see if you change your mind. In the meantime, save some $ so that you can afford a nicer E if you decide to go that way next year.


Windshields are fixed: even if one breaks, they're cheap, not a deal-breaker.

Suicide doors: sometimes they're annoying, sometimes they're nice.

HS
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all very much for the responses. You're right, there is ton of information here for me to go through.

I think the door issue has kind of become a non-issue for me. My wife is a little concerned about being inconvenienced, but I am notorious for attempting to not park near any other cars for fear of a ding. We don't have kids yet, but plan to in future, so hopefully down the road no one will close the back door when the front is already closed!

Thanks for the info about the 2003-2004 windshield flaw, that's exactly what I was looking for. I know it it an upright vehicle that may be prone to windshield cracks, but as specifically interested in knowing if there was a problem on specific models.

Haulingstuff - I agree about with you about trying snow tires, but the mazda is easily the worst car that I have ever driven in the snow. I would give it a try, but we travel in some pretty rural areas of upstate NY that aren't always plowed regularly, so I would really prefer 4wd/awd.

Again, thanks for all the help! Keep it coming!
 

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First piece of advice is to find a good shrink, you're gonna need one on a regular basis after you start hanging out with us :lol: :lol:

Sorry, couldn't resist...
US? What do you mean US? Since when did YOU become US?


 
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