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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I first got my E, I was really enthused by the amount of legroom and headroom that the rear seats have. It's truly unusal for vehicles in this basic overall size class to have anywhere near as much legroom for the rear passengers as is in the Element. However, since then I've driven a few folks around, and I think that their collective comments merit thought by any that are considering the E as a passenger vehicle.

1. Rear passengers have to rely on the front seat passengers to open their doors, before the rear seat passengers can get out. This isn't *strictly* true, but for all practical purposes, it may as well be.

2. The view from the rear seats is as bad as the view from the front seats is good. This is not a good car for rear seat sightseeing.

3. The difficulty that the rear seat passengers have in getting in and out of the vehicle seems directly proportional to their dimensions and age.

4. Exiting from the rear seats, or even retrieving cargo from the rear seats is sometimes problematic in crowded, tightly spaced parking lots. This is perhaps not as ideal a vehicle for retrieval of a baby seat, (or similar) as are many other more conventional 4 door vehicles. (This, I pass along only from the observations of others. Personally, I don't do baby seats. )

Bottomline is that I love my Element for what it is. It's all the things that I wanted in a vehicle. But if passenger carry capacity, and ease of passenger entry/exit is paramount to you, then you might do better off sticking with a more traditional 4-5 door mini-van or SUV. Still, the E is considerably easier than I remember single sliding door vehicles to be, in terms of ease of entry and access. To me, the E is the most versitile vehicle on the market. But that versitility comes at a bit of a price in terms of specializing in either cargo or human carry. For my needs, the E still beats the heck out of any available small pickup, small station wagon or small SUV, but that's not at all to say that it's right for everybody.

YMMV
 

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Interesting observations, but one should point out....

People with awkward dimensions and reduced mobility have a problem getting in and out of the back seat of almost any vehicle. (and front seats sometimes too) Being a very large man, I can attest to this. Just as I would never have put my 70 year old mother in the back of my previous car (Jeep Grand Cherokee 4dr) I wont put her in the back of this one!

I would think the rear passenger exit restrictions would be favorable to parents with young children, but as the get older, being dropped off frequently, I could see where it might get tiresome.

I have not heard any 'view' complaints, but you are certainly correct about tight parking spaces. If I have back seat passengers. I always park away from others, for more room.

Just my 2cents
 

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i have to respectfully disagree with you. i am a big man 6'0 and 350 lbs and i took a ride in the back seat for the first time last weekend. The back seats are high like stadium seating and i could see over the front seat passenger's head with no problem and because of the huge windsheild, i had a great view of outside. as far as legroom, i have never seen more backseat legroom in my life. i also have no prblem getting in and out. to me the back seat is great!
 

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Are there E owners that actually park near other cars???

Hum....I don't park near anyone....my E stands alone....beats the heck out of door dings!

Also I haven't had the pleasure of riding in the back yet, but when I was sitting back there cleaning the interior....I thought wow....this is even a better view than the front seat! And there is so much leg room I didn't know what to do! Not that I need it (I am only 5'5) but I mean there was so much room I could have a cooler or backpack at my feet and still be comfy!

Just my two cents!
Peace Out!
Diane :)
 

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My neice is the most common passenger in the back seat and she loves the feeling of being able to see OUT, not like in previous cars she has riden in. And she has loads of room for her long legs!
 

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I'm starting to see a trend here... Big guys gravitate towards the Element. I fell in love with the deceptive interior roominess that the E offers. I'm long-waisted, so headroom was a real problem in many other SUVs. Certainly isn't an issue with my E! The E also features more shoulder width than most and the lack of a bulky console between the front seats really contributes to the open and roomy feeling. :D

I have sat in the back seat - although since it is my vehicle, I don't plan to make a habit of that - and it was very roomy as well. I did have to recline the seat slightly to allow for a bit more headroom, but it was more comfortable than the back seats of many other SUVs I've ridden in. I spent 5 hours each way on a trip in the miserable back seat of a Chevy Yukon which, for crying out loud, is twice as large a vehicle as the Element and yet isn't half as comfy. :eek:
 

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My daughter love this little car. She is 5' 5" and thinks the view is great. also having a power port in the rear is a very nice touch.
 

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One of the first things I noticed about the E was that the rear doors couldn't be opened without the front being opened as well and at first I thought that was a problem, but in reality it's still a far better arrangement than climbing in and out the back of a 2-door vehicle and in actuality hasn't proven to be restrictive or limiting in the almost month that I've owned mine.

I have found one person who had problems climbing in and out of the back, though the problem was significantly eased by folding the front passenger seat back forward, which also causes the seat to slide forward allowing much more space to climb in and out. Side steps would have also alleviated this problem. I've also parked in a fairly cramped lot and had no problem with the rear door being opened far enough to allow easy access to the rear - though it can be a bit of a struggle organizing people into the right place to get both doors open at the same time!

I've travelled in the back of my E a couple of times and thought the view out the front was excellent. I'm only 5'8" so there was plenty of headroom and I could see over the top of the driver's head and out the winshield just fine. Taller people might have their vision restricted by the top edge of the windshield though. I also took my video camera out and reviewing the footage shot from the front passenger seat in comparison to the rear passenger seat, I can see that in the rear there was more susceptibility to jarring over rough road surfaces, though road noise was not noticably different - not a scientific test I know, but perhaps a good general guide. The video, shot at eye level, also shows a clear, unobstructed view in a wide arc from the rear door windows forward.

But Natural Wonder is right - there are clearly some practical consequences resulting from the design compromises made in the E and buyers need to be aware of them to ensure that the vehicle suits them. Of course that's true of any vehicle purchase, and for me, the E represents a utilitarian ideal that is hard to equal, let alone beat. I'll be adding sidesteps to ensure rear-seat passengers who might otherwise have difficulties can get in and out with comfort, and don't envisage my passengers will fail to notice the need to get themselves organized if space is tight!
 

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I think natural wonder makes some valid observations. I've only been in my back seat once while my parents drove and rode up front. I didn't care for it much at all. Visibility kind of sucks and my dad accidentally locked me in when we got to the restaurant.

One more nit about passenger hauling:

The doors are extremely heavy to compensate for the lack of a b-pillar. Therefore, people think they have to slam them when, in reality, their weight helps them to close with only a slight push. I've had people rock my Element from back door slams. Even warning people ahead of time is not always effective.

Then, of course, there all those people who forget you have to shut the back doors first. I know a lot of extended cab truck drivers have had this frustration. I'm sure it's not hurting a thing when people do it, but I cringe everytime it happens. What if someone shuts the front and back doors at the same time and the back door hits the front door? Can that scratch or damage anything?
 

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Well, I somewhat disagree here...

My previous car was a Saturn SC2... the first car with a 'suicide door' on it, like the Element, in a very long while. Unlike the Element, the SC2 didn't even have a handle on the back door! The only handle was in the door frame (like the E's) and the passengers were still somewhat stuck, even with the front door open. So yes, while the back passengers do have to wait for you to open the front door, in the E they can then open their own door at least...

I do have to agree on the "getting out when parked in a lot" problem... but that's going to happen any time you have a rear door that opens backwards. It was a problem with the SC2 also. When you park close to a wall or another car, you simply can't get anything or anyone out of the rear. Good thing we've got that rear exit and sucide doors on both sides!

As for the view, my passengers have all said "wow... the back seats are so high... I can really see from here!" The rear seats in the E are surrounded by windows, under a sunroof and are on a nice rise in the floor. I don't know how anyone could say the view isn't good.

No one has had a problem getting in and out of the back of my E so far, aside from the slippery nature of the flooring. And they've all commented on what a comfortable rear it is for a car of this type.

So yes, the suicide doors can have their quirks for access, but all you have to do is watch where you park and maybe slide the front seat up a bit, and it's no trouble at all. The benefits still outweigh the inconveniences!

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The negative comments I got on the view from the rear seats had to do with trying to look out the rear side windows. They're small and there's a column placed just about where most folks heads wind up. It's not a big deal, but for folks used to Jeep Cherokees, Toyo Highlanders, Ford Excursions and other mid to full sized SUVs, it is quite noticeable.

Still, I agree completely that the tradeoffs are well worth it. I'm thrilled with mine, and knew I wasn't getting a passenger van when I got it. I think that for the person that hauls up to 4 passengers occasionally, but primarily hauls 2 people and/or bulky cargo, the E makes perfect sense. But, for those who envision more people hauling than cargo hauling, there are some minor tradeoffs. That's all.

The fact that it even can seat 4 comfortably, puts it miles ahead of my previous extended cab small pickup. And it also has lots more legroom than most typical small cars and station wagons. In fact, it's lots more comfortable in the back seats of the E than in the rear seats of the CR/V, the Rav4, the Forrester or the Outback or even a very plush Volvo station wagon.

I agree that training folks not to slam the rear doors, or even just to close them first, is somewhat of a continuous effort. The first time a woman slammed the rear door onto the already closed front door, I inwardly seethed. But, it doesn't seem to have hurt either door. Now, I just make an effort to tell everybody, each time we get in or out of the vehicle to close the rear door first. Passenger training 101, but if they want to ride in my cool new E, they just have to play by the rules.
 

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Ok, all the points about the doors can be debated, but where the heck is the issue with rear seat visibility coming from? If anything, the Element offers some of the best backseat views of any car. For one thing, there's the stadium seating, so passengers can see over the heads of the frontseaters. Then there's the rear sunroof, so they can look up as well. Not to mention the abundant legroom. As I've told all my rear-seat passengers, this is the one car where people don't want to ride shotgun. And everybody who's been in the Element agrees.
 

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We love the view from the backseat too. In fact, when we took my brother for a ride, my husband asked if he wanted to ride in the back. My brother thought we were insane for even asking. But, after the first trip "to town" (we were in the boonies of southeast Texas), he asked if he could ride in the back on the next trip.

Also, on our 4+ hour drive back to Dallas, we took turns sitting in the back passenger seat with the front passenger laid flat... kind of seemed like a big recliner in a movie theater...
 

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Yeah... I have to agree on the comfort factor when the front seat is flat and the back is angled. It's really comfortable. Great for napping. :)

Drew
 

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I know if I said my Element catches fire five times a week one of you would tell me to stop bitching because you had Saturn or Dodge that caught fire seven times a week. :D

I'm not trying to convince anyone to not like the view from the back seat but you can't argue that I hate it, because I do. Here's why:

  • Stadium seating. It's a cool novelty, but for me, all it does is place me closer to the ceiling limiting my upper plane of view. What I do see is more of the pavement in front of the car. Yippee.

    The seats are slightly behind the thick c-pillar.

    The windows are small and darkly tinted and only pop-out.

Now these aren't things that are WRONG with the Element. I didn't buy it to ride in the back seat. These are things I don't like about riding in the back seat and what friends of mine have commented on.

And yeah, Drew, the Saturn I had before this wasn't a great back seat ride either, but the view was the least of the problems. Squeezing into it was much more of one.
 

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[quote:025b1de74c="tigernumber6"]I know if I said my Element catches fire five times a week one of you would tell me to stop bitching because you had Saturn or Dodge that caught fire seven times a week. :D
[/quote:025b1de74c]

Now thats funny! :lol:
 

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[quote:80cc1a9f14="tigernumber6"]
Now these aren't things that are WRONG with the Element. I didn't buy it to ride in the back seat. These are things I don't like about riding in the back seat and what friends of mine have commented on.[/quote:80cc1a9f14]

Well you just tell those friends of yours that they are wrong and that we all hate them!!! :twisted:

But seriously, I think roll-down windows in the rear would have been nice too. As yet, my passengers have been too thrilled with the view out of the tinted windows and the sunroof to care about seeing out of the windshield. To each his own!

But your friends are still wrong. And they suck.

:D

Drew
 

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Well, when my E finally gets here (build date today! Yippee!!!), I don't plan to sit in the back, and the dogs won't complain about the back seats. As long as they're in the car, they're happy. I'm just hoping that the windshield is far enough forward that I won't get too many nose prints on it. :)
 

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Well, here yet is another BIG man's opinion:

BTW my numbers: 350Lbs, 6'2, 56 inch chest, 34 inseam
( :lol: xfootball player)


I love the spacious rear seat. I've Never, Ever, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER!!! sat in a car where I didn't have to move the front seat up just to let someone sit in the back seat, UNTIL I sat in the Element.

At that point....it had me hook, line, and sinker; and everthing else was just icing on the cake.

During my test drive, I switched seats with my wife, so she could drive and I could sit in the back....and I practically had pee-d in my pants. I got so excited...that my wife said (and I quote) "easy big-boy....save it for the bedroom".

There was so much room back there....I couldn't believe it.

For you skinny people out there, you can't possibly fathom the joy a big person feels when s/he's able to sit comfortably with out having to adjust the seat forward for rear passengers (squeezing him/herself up against the steering wheel), and then afterwards moving the ALL THE WAY BACK, just so you can breath easy but at the same time feeling a little embarrassed in the eyes of the skinny for doing so.

There's only 3 vehicles that offer someone of my stature this kind of relief (none of them compare to the element.)

A Limo---- I don't have to move the seat, but I can't afford to drive
one and it's still a pain in the but getting out of.

A Hearse-----I don't have to move seats, but if I'm riding in one of those
I don't thing I'll be moving much of anything

A mobile home------Image this hip young GEN X'er driving that.....HA 8)

As far as the rear seat view; I was too busy getting my "rocks off" on the spacious rear seat interior to fully enjoy the view, but IMO the only ones back there will probably be my dogs, and if they complain...then to hell with them....they're not paying the note.....so I'm sure they'll be glad to ride in a coffin, just as long as they can ride for free :D Same for my passengers too.
 
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