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Ok, so a couple of friends and me were going to another friends house for dinner last night (St. Paul, MN). I knew that there was a honda dealership less than a mile from her house so I talked them into going a little early so I could test drive the Element -- because I've been intrigued about them ever since I first laid eyes on one last month. Lets just say that these friends did not share my obsession with the car.

So we go to the dealership and my they didn't have a manual but had a black 4wd automatic to test drive. My friend Bill gets in the back seat and salesguy up front with me and off we go.

I'm instantly happy -- my concerns about it being too loud or feeling "rattley" were unfounded. It drives like a dream, nice and tight. Meanwhile, Bill is in the back pushing all the levers and pulling all the little cords and stuff and he happened to pull a cord which apparently was the seat back release -- just as I was pulling away from a stoplight. I hear this squawk and there he is -- laying flat on his back: "Hey these seats go all the way down!" AHHAHAHA

:p

Then during the highway test drive, a large oversize truck 3 cars ahead blew out a tire and very large fragments of tire spewed across the road. Of course I had to do some dramatic braking and swerving to avoid hitting other cars, but I still hit a large (1/3 of a tire) chunk of rubber which made a very bad noise.

I kind of gulped and looked at the sales guy like, uhhhhh but he was very nice and said "nothing to worry about." Happily there was no damage, just some black rubber smear marks on the wheel!

Anyway, after that drive I'm convinced its the car for me! Even Bill was favorably impressed as long as I don't get the orange one (which I personally like).

I'm just wondering if I should wait till the 2004 model comes out. Does anyone know if anything is changing in the next model year?
 

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I'm glad your test drive was such a positive experience! Thankfully while most of us get to experience the joys of driving the Element on our test drives, few have the opportunity to test it in such rather dramatic circumstances!

No-one really knows what the 2004 model will bring, though most assume that in keeping with Honda's normal way of doing things, there won't be any significant modifacations or changes likely. Indeed, there doesn't appear to be any solid information as to when the 2004 models will be out. It seems likely that it'll be perhaps November or so (as the local dealers in my area are saying) so you have an uncertain wait for an uncertain product if you decide to hang on for the new model.

Personally, if you like the Element, and you want to buy one, I'd go ahead and order the model and color you want from your dealer, and get on the road in it as soon as you can. It's too much fun to drive to wait!!
 
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