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Discussion Starter #1
Really could use some input on a couple of concerns and questions about the Element, as I am struggling with what to do.

Long story short, without details, the dealership ruined my '04 Subaru Outback with 125,000 miles on it, and planned on making it to 200,000 miles. Neither Subaru and the dealership will take responsibility, other than offer me a substantially "reduced" price to repair to the tune of almost $3,000, instead of $4,000, after already dropping $1500 on it last month. Bottom line, based on experts advice, will not be putting anymore money into it.

Hence, my predicament. I have a "deal pending" with no obligation until tomorrow, on a EX with a few nice options (mud flaps, cargo mat, etc.) and an out the door price (TX, TTL, etc.) of $25k, before I wholesale out my Subaru to them. A little bit of buyers remorse is beginning to set in tonight and I think I need some reassurance.

I race bicycles and take long road trips (live in Texas) to go to the races and I love the idea of transporting the bikes inside. However, there it is windy as you cross Texas and some of the negative reviews have really slammed the drivability and ride of the Element.

I muddled on long enough, any input and thoughts about my situation and coming from a car like the Outback which I thought was one of the most fun and stable (and dependable) cars to drive.

Appreciate any thoughts and really like this forum, I have learned a lot. By the way, it is a Citrus Fire Metallic which at first I had rejected, but after looking at it a few time, it kind of grew on me.

Best regards, Rickey Wray
 

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First of all... Sorry to hear of your woes with what sounds like a terrible dealership. That being said, I think you;ll be very happy with an Element. While there is a degree of truth to the idea that you;ll be driving a sail on a windy day, it doesn't deter me, or many other E drivers out there. The Element has so many great points about it that far outweigh the windy day scenario. If I smashed my E today, I'd buy another one tomorrow. That is how much I love this car. You can get yourself a sweet setup for the bikes on the inside and still have plenty of room for gear and people. And in lieu of getting a tangerine metallic, Citrus Fire is a great way to go. LOL! I'm kinda partial to my TM.
I'm confident that once you give the E fair chance, you'll love it.
Let us all know how it works out for you once you've gotten a few miles on it.
 

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I drive from Austin TX to Rockport TX a couple times a year at least to get in some fishing. The cross winds at their worst can be annoying but not aggravating enough to make me dislike my E at all. Just my 2 cents.
 

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My baby brother, the 60 year old bicycle racer, bought an Element in 2005 and wishes he would have bought one sooner. He goes all over to find mountain bike or cyclocross races and has at least two bikes in the Element at all times. The back seats were removed soon after they got it and are sitting in his garage. His wife is a road bike racer but he makes her take the Accord with the bike rack on top.

You don't need to get the Honda bike mounts, just some generic fork mounts, bolt them to a 1"X6" board and you're golden.

Good luck.
 

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Woah, when did they start making EX models in with 2WD?!? o_O

Sorry to hear about the Subaru. I'm curious as to how a dealership managed to ruin your vehicle and not accept responsibility...
 

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I know where you are coming from with the Subie - we had a Forester - great driver and snow-mobile. We replaced it with an Element for two major reasons; the size of the back seat and the extra cargo space. Another plus is the cheaper maintenance down the road with the Honda esp. the timing chain (should last the life of the car) vs the Subie's timing belt.

I've been able to test out the Element on a very windy day over a bridge with white caps on the water below - the Element barely moved. I remember going over that same bridge with my old Ford, the wind always pushed me all over the place. I think the Element handles very well for a tall vehicle.
 

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I don't get the claims that the E handles poorly in windy conditions. I have been in gusty winds and the E handled about as well as anything else I have owned.
 

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I don't get the claims that the E handles poorly in windy conditions. I have been in gusty winds and the E handled about as well as anything else I have owned.
In 56 thousand miles, I've driven my 07SC in lots of windy conditions. My E is no worse than anything else I've driven, and certainly better than lots! My VW Westafalia was way worse, as was my short wheelbase Aerostar van. My little Kia station wagon got blown around more as well.
 

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Get the Honda. The only time the wind bothers me is when its head on. It reduces my gas mileage. Best all around vehicle I have ever owned and would buy another in a second. Let us know what you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, thanks so much for all the positive and prompt replies. It has helped me to confirm my decision. I really, really appreciate the comments - several years ago I had a full size van and I seemed to be able to handle it OK in the wind.

The Element purchase is 3 1/2 years ahead of my planned replacement, but as Dave Ramsey (for those who listen to him) says, "life is not always linear." Messes with my savings strategy, but things do happen, and that's why we work for a living.

With much sadness, I have just taken off the roof cargo carrier with 2 bike mounts and also removed the trailer hitch Sportswork 2 bike carrier. Then, I cleaned out the car - found some things that I had forgot about!

On my way out the door to the dealership. We are a couple of hundred dollars apart, but I think we can reach an agreement.

For those who asked about my Subaru bad dealership experience, will post very soon all the gory details.

Again, my utmost appreciation and thank you.

Rickey Wray
 

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rickey..good luck with your decision,,hope you can make a deal for a new element,,your going to love it,,when you can please keep us posted on what happen with the dealer and your subaru
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hello again, everyone.

This is liable to be a long post, however, want to properly thank everyone for their advice and suggestions, and answer a few questions that were asked of me.

First, my utmost appreciation for your encouragement and help in making my decision.

I am now the owner of a 2010 EX Citrus Fire with several added options. Some by the dealer (splash guards, cargo tray, etc.) and some by me (fog lights, roof rack.)

Here is the story of my purchase process:

Working with the same excellent salesman, Billy Pieratt, at Frank Kent Honda of Fort Worth, where I bought our Odyssey from last summer, I test drove the Citrus Fire Element EX. After the test drive, and I told him I was interested, he asked me what color he should go look for, just assuming, based on the color I selected for the minivan that I would never go with Citrus Fire. He was dumbfounded, when I told him the color had started to grow on me. He was even more dumbstruck, when my wife, MK, drove it and said she kind of liked that color. In her words, if I was going to get something as “wild” as the Element, the color should match the intent.

I had done my homework, using KBB, Consumer Reports, and some other research, and built a spreadsheet with all factors.

I wanted to add the options mentioned, so I took their installed price on those options, knocked off a few hundred dollars (about 40%) came up with an out the door total (include TX, TTL, license), including knocking off the $100 "nitrogen upgrade" for the tires (told him I wouldn't pay for that,) I did let him include the $150 advertising fee in his costing as we bickered back and forth.

When that was all said and done and we had settled on the final price, THEN, we talked about what to do with the Subaru. Surprisingly, they made me a "fair offer" on the Outback, a little bit below KBB value for "fair" condition. However, since I had to add some water to the radiator that morning just to drive it there, and knowing that it needed new head gaskets, CV axles, and a malfunctioning cruise control (maybe related to the throttle), thought the offer was OK, although I did hate to walk away from new tires that I had just purchased in November.

All in all, I was kind of sad to give up the "subie" and the purchase was not in my "Dave Ramsey" plan to replace my cars every 10 years.

My only regret is that I could not find an Element with a navigation system, and given the situation with the Subaru (while drivable, just not sure how long) thought I better move forward. They seem to be few and far between, and it is a substantial cost upgrade (and it does not include Bluetooth.) We have just gotten so spoiled with the one in the Odyssey (with back-up camera, Bluetooth, etc.) that would have been cool, however, you can buy a really nice Garmin for a lot less. Any suggestions for GPS that fit well on the dash of the Element?

On the question of why we didn’t buy a used Element or other used car. Two reasons, one it is hard to find a used Element in good shape around here. Secondly, and more important, we are in our 50’s and been married for 33 years. Early on, when money was much tighter, we bought a series of used cars and all we got was bad luck. I know used cars are much better now, but the memory is there.

Since this has gone on way too long, will post the Subaru dealership in a separate posting.

Again, my sincere thanks to everyone and I will take a picture and post it, once the roof rack and fog lights are installed.

Best regards, Rickey Wray
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The following is part two of my probably too long-winded story of how I came to be the proud owner (one day and now almost 100 miles) of a 2010 EX Citrus Fire.

Here is the “Readers Digest” version of what happened with the Subaru:

- 2004 Subaru Outback bought new from Arlington (Texas) AutoMall, maintained faithfully, and had 122,000 miles.

- Arlington AutoMall went out of business and was taken over by Teape with locations in Arlington and Hurst. They got rid of some of the best service technicians around and replaced them with probably underpaid, less qualified mechanics. Neither location provided the same service quality, but they were the only dealership nearby and I had the 100,000 mile warranty.

- At the 90,000 major maintenance service, under the 100,000 mile warranty, the head gaskets were replaced at Teape Subaru of Hurst.

- At 120,452 miles took to dealership for 120,000 mile service and an engine vibration when stopped at stoplight and car in Drive.

- Center motor mount was replaced (which did not take care of the vibration) and service included flush radiator and new thermostat. They advised me that the head gaskets were showing a little leaking. When I reminded them that they had replaced them under warranty 30,000 miles ago, they said, its minor, just something to be aware of. Total cost for the day: $1,644.

- Four days later on highway trip home from Fort Davis, radiator hose blew and car overheated at Pecos. Luckily, friend in Midland was able to bring me a Subaru upper radiator hose.

- Took back to Teape and registered complaint that the hoses weren't checked very well and have them look the car over.

- Car now had bad leaking head gaskets needing immediate replacement (which I am convinced was due to the car overheating and stressing the gaskets) and to eliminate the rest of the vibration, they needed to do a torque converter test ($200) and if it needed replacement , then the transmission needed replacement, also. Thousands of dollars of repairs.

- I am not a mechanic, but it seemed really weird to me that a torque converter/transmission problem would only manifest itself when waiting at a stoplight.

- I did on line research and discovered that the engine vibration was a known issue for this Subaru (there had even been a technical service bulletin issued) that it was often caused by the CV front axle shaft(s) needing
replacement.

- I mentioned this to the service department, and they said, yes, we were advised by the Subaru field technician about this.

- I registered a major complaint with them about the whole thing and the dealership said they agreed about the head gasket and would talk with Subaru of America.

- Final say from both, NO consideration from SoA and dealership will offer me a "special deal" to make me happy and will do the work at the regular price of $3617 for "only" $2158 (head gaskets and front axle joints) plus tax, about a 40% discount.

Bottom line, I had just plumb lost confidence in the dealership and knew that every time the Subaru burped, I would be worried something else was breaking.

Plus, I contacted Ed Wallace for those of you who know him, and Jerry at the show, www.carguyshow.com, and both agreed (especially Jerry) it was time to stop putting money into the “subie.” In fact, Ed commented that he was stunned about the Subaru, but not surprised about the dealership.

So, that is my tale of woe, apologize for going on and on, but it was hard to condense it much more.

Drove my Element to a bike ride today, and everyone thought it was so cool. It was nice just to pull the bike out from the back, grab my water bottles from the built in cooler, put on my helmet and go. Looking forward to lots of fun in it.

Rickey Wray
 

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rickey,,your going to love your e so much more in the next few weeks and months your going to forget all about the subaru...you got a raw deal with the subrie dealer,,but glad it all worked out for you with honda,,,best of luck..
 
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