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I have been on this web sight for about a month and for the most part I have only heard good things about the Element. I am going to buy an Element in about a month and was wondering what are bad things about owning an Element (besides the low gas mileage). Thanks for the help.
 

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Other than a cracked windshield (which Honda replaced and fixed the windshield frame, per the Tech Service Bulletin) I have no complaints whatsoever. Really a remarkable car, for the money.

Just start checking around on this site and you will read about every possible complaint that anyone has found. Please also remember that there is no such thing as a perfect car that will make everyone 100% happy.
 

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I took this thing out on a pasture the other day, no hills, just grass and mud. I bent a loop under the car that protects a portion of the drive shaft. This thing hangs pretty low.

The ground clearance is horrible.

No ability to switch into "4wd" automatically.

I think their 4wd is more like skid control.

Gas mileage could be better.

Vehicle only seats 4 people.

No lumbar support on either front seat.

The "suicide" doors can be a pain in the ass at times.

The plastic panels scratch easily (inside and outside the vehicle)

Lack of storage room on the interior.

These are a few things I would change.
 

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i think there should be two 12 volt outlets in front rather than one 12 volt and the aux jack. others who own/use mp3 players might certainly disagree on this one.

the main on/off button for the cruise control is awkwardly placed (for me). i'm 6'2" so when i'm sitting in the driver's seat, the button is in a weird place behind my left knee.

the stock armrest on the driver's seat sucks (frankly, this is the most annoying thing i've found about it yet).

mine is a 2wd which i bought intentionally because i feel the same way about the "4wd" that zarathrustra does. i live in the south (north carolina) so except for a handful of days every year, front wheel drive takes me everywhere i want to go (and on the days that front wheel drive won't get me there, it's no big deal because everything's closed anyway!).

the suicide doors can be slightly annoying in tight parking spaces, but most of the time that's easily enough avoided. it's certainly not bad enough to overshadow all of the benefits from having this door design.
 

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[quote:889d7bb05e="zarathustra"]Lack of storage room on the interior.[/quote:889d7bb05e]

to get technical, there's plenty of "storage", just not enough "stowage" (ENCLOSED places to store stuff)

I definitely agree on that list of shortcomings however.

Dont be misled by the preachers on these forums. The E isnt a perfect car by any means. That being said, it's quite possibly the best purchase I've ever made. It's the 1 posession of mine that I'd save if my house was burning down :)
 

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As someone who has (wrongly) been described as a 'preacher' here, I have plenty of moans and grumbles about my E, but I wouldn't change it for any other vehcile I could reasonably afford.

The first complaint is the dire and disgraceful quality of dealerships. How Honda sell anything with the predominance of poorly informed, below-par, obstructive, ill-trained and often arrogant dealers is either a miracle or a testament to the quality of their vehicles.

Some Elements have had serious problems with cracking windshields, or at least windshield quality, some with very easily damaged exterior composite panels, many with leaky rear door windows, a lot with squeaks, rattles and other sundry noises from almost all parts of the car, though the dash/windshield pillar area and tailgate are the most common. Many have reported interior trim and covers that fall off, most that interior plastic panels are very soft and easily gouged, and there are wide variations in reports of fuel consumption from 12-26mpg. Reports from 2WD owners are that the better performance tends to cause a bit of torgue steer accelerating hard from standstill and some 4WD owners report that despite the 4WD system, the car slides, skids or fails to go entirely in the direction its pointed in on wet roads. There have been complaints about the driver's seat rocking slightly, noises from the brake assembly at the front when first stopping going forward after reversing, and reports of poor reception on the radio and even skipping when playing CDs. Other than that, most complaints seem to be that it uses the lowest grade of fuel when a higher grade MIGHT give better performance, that it's engine isn't powerful enough to allow great acceleration, that the suspension is a bit hard, particularly in the rear so the ride is a bit harsh, that Honda don't encourage owners to have sufficient oil changes, and the usual things about the door design causing problems in tight spaces, instruments being hard to read and having insufficient ground clearance for anything but gentle off-road use. It does seat only 4, and the way the rear seats fold up to improve load space causes rearward vision through the side window(s) at the rear to be compromised somewhat.

I have found some of the above things in my own case, but not others. I get 21+ city and 26+ highway so gas mileage is OK for me, and my 4WD EX is very stable, behaved well in heavy snow and shows no sign of directional instability on wet roads, even in VERY heavy rain. The $WD system has been around quite a while in the CR-V and owneers of those seem retty happy with it, as am I. My E does suffer from a rattling dash at the left side, both rear windows still leak (slightly), and even after 6500 miles the exhaust still sometimes smells like bad eggs for a second or two. My stereo works fine - radio reception is as good as my last vehicle, and no CD has skipped at all. The engine develops plenty of power for the size and weight of the vehicle and gives pretty good (not electrifying) performance, and it's comfortable for long trips. Even though mine falls into the 'cracking windshield' range of VINs, I've had stones and debris bounce off my windshield a few times now with no damage despite very alarming noises, and my exterior composite panels have no scratches and seem quite resistant to scratching when I've tried. Interior panels DO scratch very easily though, and oddly, they seem to discolor very patchilly too, particularly if they get wet. My front passenger seat suffers this too, but not the driver seat or those in the rear. I suspect the dealer added some form of treatment that was either not apporopriate or not uniformly applied. They say not. I've had no interior trim fall off, but it is clear that Honda trimmed some items to fit the required selling price and that does suggest a few items are compromised in quality terms.

Many of the potential shortcomings of the vehicle are things that will become rather apparent in a test drive. The problem is ....
 

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...The problem is that it'so much fun to drive that I think many of us bought our Elements DESPITE the shortcoming if we even noticed them at the time and just because it was so enjoyable. But the 'fun to drive' feeling is capable of masking many perfectly good criticisms, so that's a thing to watch for.

Personally, after 6500 miles and around 4 months of ownership, I love my E, warts and all. There are things I don't like, but they are outweighed by the things I do like by a very considerable margin. The rest of us 'preachers' (no disrespect meant to you, meanelvis) probably feel the same way. But what seems clear to me in the time I've had mine and been reading messages here is that some Elements are more prone to problems than others, and if you buy one, you need to make sure the one you get lives up to the build and behavioral standard that you have a right to expect of it.
 

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I just finished reading all the comments on this thread and in some small measure I agree with just about everyone of them BUT for the most part, the negatives are what I would term "minor annoyances" that we all basically knew existed when we bought our Es. They just don't bother me for the most part. Sure, when I turn on cruise control, it is a little difficult. Who cares? The doors can be difficult in tight parking spaces. I just don't care because the vehicle is so much fun and I spend so little of my life in tight parking spaces. So it only seats 4 people. Well, people who need a 5 seater should not buy it. The one thing that amazes me is the gas mileage. I average almost 25 MPG including highway, around town, etc. Why do others average much less? 18 mpg would annoy me. Do these people stomp the accelerator all the time? Do they not know how to figure gas mileage? Does Honda have a problem by not building fuel systems consistently? I don't know, but it sure would be interesting to find out.

My advice is to realize what you are buying and recognize that some of these things will annoy you sometimes but in the overall picture, the Element is so much fun that you just will not regret buying it.
 

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HEMan,
amen...amen...amen.
i'm not sure that anyone disagrees with you. and obviously, everyone who has responded to this has an e and continues to be active with this board so we all love it.
a wise friend of mine once said that life is full of trade-offs. when i was looking for a vehicle before i bought the e, i made the comment to a co-worker that to get everything i was looking for, i was going to have to buy five different vehicles. once i test-drove the e, i was able to reduce that to two.
and the inconveniences listed are simply things that, in a perfect world, i'd change (location of the cruise button for instance). but what i wouldn't change is the fact that i own an e. everytime i get in it, i smile. when i realize that the only real limitation i have in what i can do with it is cornering speed and a bit of acceleration, i smile even bigger.
one certainly gets exponentially more from the e than one loses by accomodating the inconveniences.
 

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I think zarathusra's list right on target. Yet, for $20K, I doubt if you wil find a true AWD done right. Also, I am not as concerned about ground clearance, not being very demanding in that regard.

I could give a longer of list of problems and design issues with our BMW 328i, a car costing 2X as much with the options we spec'd (recently turned at end of lease). Also, if you want to see some REALLY unhappy campers visit the Land Rover and Mercedes SUV boards.

One area of weakness with Honda is its dealers. 3 out of 4 seem to employ sales people who are as ignorant as they are arrogant. In our experience that 1 out of 4 was wonderful and that is where we bought, but there is no need to take BS from a car salesperson who doesn't even know his/her product.

yelapa
 

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Life is full of choices, and Honda made certain choices in their creation of the Element. In the E's design, they could have chosen more ground clearance, more horsepower, different AWD mechanism, different doors, different materials, etc.

I do miss a driver sunroof. I don't like that there's no passenger side window control. I'm a little fearful for my grill's wellbeing and am considering a CloudRider blackpowder grill guard. I wish the doors had a little more *thunk* to them. I have been thankfully (knocks wood) spared any mechanical troubles, rattles, interior or exterior plastic scratches, windshield problems or any of that. If I experience one, will I curse my Element and wish I hadn't chosen it? Probably not.

But again, as I said, life is full of choices. MY choices could have been anything from an H2 to a MiniCooper (Okay, who am I kidding? This Hellcat's butt would not fit in one. Let's move along!) I chose more money in my bank account and skipped the H2. I chose more headroom and skipped the Land Rover Freelander (which had a *sweet* ride but made me feel like I was in a sardine box). I chose a better car manufacturer reputation and skipped the Kia Sorrento. I chose something funkier than a CR-V.

The Element isn't perfect but every time I get in it, I'm glad I made the choice, and I feel a sense of delight and *rightness*. Some people are never that passionate about a car or a driving experience, but clearly, I am.

I hope that whatever choice you make, Taker, you have thought it through and feel good about it.
 

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Switters hit the nail on the head. Everytime I look at my E, I smile. Every time I drive it I smile even more. Last night at 11pm I went into the garage and just sat in it and smiled for about 5 minutes until my wife came out to see what I was doing. When I told her I was just bonding with my E, she smiled and told me that I might be in need of some professional help. We both had a good laugh but I think you get the picture. No matter the "minor annoyances", the E is a special vehicle which brings pleasure to its owners. I sometimes feel sorry for people who have not yet discovered its special personality.
 

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[quote:ee1dbab775="HEMan"]Switters hit the nail on the head. Everytime I look at my E, I smile. Every time I drive it I smile even more. Last night at 11pm I went into the garage and just sat in it and smiled for about 5 minutes until my wife came out to see what I was doing. When I told her I was just bonding with my E, she smiled and told me that I might be in need of some professional help. We both had a good laugh but I think you get the picture. No matter the "minor annoyances", the E is a special vehicle which brings pleasure to its owners. I sometimes feel sorry for people who have not yet discovered its special personality.[/quote:ee1dbab775]

I also agree!

My E rules and thats all there is to it! Today on my way home I seen another gg E cruising in front of me on the expressway, it switched to the right lane, as I came up upon it I purposely slowed from my 80 mph cruise speed and road side by side with the other GG E it was the most bonding experience I have ever had in a car that I owned, the people in the other E were All thumbs up as i looked over, it was great! I waved and accelerated back to 80mph and off I went grinning from ear to ear!

All the minor irritating issues (which are very little to me) make no difference! this vehicle rules! :D INMYLMNT !
 

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Last night at 11pm I went into the garage and just sat in it and smiled for about 5 minutes until my wife came out to see what I was doing. When I told her I was just bonding with my E, she smiled and told me that I might be in need of some professional help.
LOL!

Bonding is very important with this car -- its not just transportation, its part of the family! 8) [/quote]
 

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You'll love the Element.
A few of my minor dislikes:

Ground clearance
Suicide doors can be a pain sometimes
Dash rattles some
Mileage could be better

Likes:

Price
Cool styling
Room
Honda quality
Stereo
Easy clean interior
Ride
16" wheels
Did I mention price?

I was considering an Explorer, 4 Runner, Pilot but they were all almost $10k more - and some without 4WD. Granted, the Element is not as high class, but it sure comes close and for a LOT less money. Who needs an expensive SUV hog that drinks gas and is not much more comfortable even? All things considered, you'll love your new element I think.
Good Luck!! :lol:
 

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The Element is not Heavy duty despite it's advertising, in fact, in some cases it's downright fragile. My Sister-in-law is 100 lbs - she shut the back lift gate - and there's a dent in it now.

I've had some problems with interior rubber and plastic pieces falling off.

But, 20,000 is not a lot of money anymore (did I say that).
 

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But, 20,000 is not a lot of money anymore (did I say that).
At least in car terms it isn't!

I would have to agree with the majority of the comments above, but the ones that I agree with the most are the ones about choices.

The E is my husband's and my first new car....and we shopped from January intil the end of March...we shopped just about every type of car company...and we kept on winding up back at Honda....and the Element actually made me excited to spend $20,000+ at one time. Since my husband and I don't own our house yet, this was our largest purchase ever (it just barely squeaked out our Wedding for our largest purchase!).

I love my Element. Sure I have had minor issues, but nothing so horrible that would make me regret my purchase or want to trade my E in.

I smile everytime I see my car....I smile everytime I drive my car....and I smile and laugh every time my husband complains that he never gets to drive the E.

The E is the perfect car for me and my life....and I really can't imagine driving anything else on the market. I am extremely happy with my purchase, and before I made said purchase I listened and learned of the issues that owners were experienceing right here on these boards....I decided to buy and knew what to expect and look for by what other had experienced. The E is not the right car for everyone....but then again no car is :wink:

I hope you make the decision that is right for you!
 

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Gotta agree with most everybody here, the E has a few drawbacks, but they are FEW and frankly are never on my mind. The only gripey challenge I have had is a few rattles on right side passenger dash at like 40mph -- but that seems to have gone away now. A few scratches on inside when maneuvering the seats in and out (unwieldy buggers!), but those are also minor. Mileage for me, too, is a little wanting, but this is a big box, so you gotta' expect that in some measure. That, and I like to go fast and do so quickly, so my own fault!

As for cruise in tough spot, guys, JUST LEAVE IT TURNED ON! :) It doesn't hurt anything. I've owned Hondas for 15 years and have always left the cruise on, no problems. I think Honda has done one heck of a job with this ride -- I, too, am happy to be driving it. I have not reached the state of zen like HeMan and some, but hey, the E is distinctive, utilitarian to the max, handles well, and is just plain cool, so that works. Never thought I'd be into an suv, always hated them. Until the E. ;)

Good luck, whatever you decide!
Steve
 

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The E seems to be taking some negative hits with the side impact results, the cracked windshields and the rocking driver seat, its claim to be 4WD but it actually isn't.... I think a lot of the mechanical problems have to do with it being an all new model and we've got the first ones off the line. I know when the CRX came out in the early 80's I knew a couple of people who got the first ones of those and they had problems, so Honda isn't immune to that sort of thing.

Things I'd change? A) more power, and B) a 4WD system that can be manually controlled like the Escape. It would be nice.
 

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[quote:83b558359b="wr70beh"]The E seems to be taking some negative hits with the side impact results, the cracked windshields and the rocking driver seat, its claim to be 4WD but it actually isn't.... I think a lot of the mechanical problems have to do with it being an all new model and we've got the first ones off the line. I know when the CRX came out in the early 80's I knew a couple of people who got the first ones of those and they had problems, so Honda isn't immune to that sort of thing.

Things I'd change? A) more power, and B) a 4WD system that can be manually controlled like the Escape. It would be nice.[/quote:83b558359b]

The cracked windshield is the only problem I have had. The 4WD system is a hybrid 4WD, and it does pass the test in my book. It is the best type of hybrid 4WD for the road. Front WD gas mileage and low wear and tear for normal use. Then completely automatic 4WD, as needed, without any human intervention. The Real Time 4WD system has been proven to be very sophisticated and very useful in all of the years on the CRV.

My previous car was manual off road type of 4WD and it proved to be completely unnecessary in anything other than a really bad snowstorm. Plus, when I was in 2WD mode, I was in rear wheel drive, which proved to be quite poor.

As far as "mechanical problems", I have not heard of one yet. But maybe I have not read all of the various threads.

I guess when all is said and done: I could not be happier. The E is just what I wanted and I have owned many cars before.
 
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