Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Honda Element
Old 03-16-2008, 07:43 AM   #1
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 44
Honda Element

I'm thinking of getting a new car and was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Element. I need to haul 2 kids and 1 or 2 dogs. I want something cheap, relatively fuel efficient, able to carry a kayak, and all wheel drive. The polyurethane lining instead of carpet is very appealing. I've never had a Honda, but am aware of their reputation for quality and longevity. The crash test ratings are excellent which is also important, since I will be hauling kids. Hopefully this would be a vehicle that could last me 10 years. Any input on quality issues, repair issues, etc would be appreciated. Thanks.
__________________

__________________
Beer man is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-16-2008, 08:04 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,968
I bought a new Honda Element (4WD auto) in 2003, it has about 75K miles on it. It sounds like a good fit for your use --- I use mine to carry sailing gear, 2 dogs, 2 bicycles (without breaking them down, don't even have to take the front wheels off) and the occasional large object. I have not had any problems with it, but then it's the fourth Honda we've owned and they've all been highly reliable. Not having to worry about messing up carpeting is a huge plus for users like you and I.

Great for dogs as you can lay the back seats out flat and they are comfortable and high enough in the vehicle to see out, our dogs seem to prefer that. We throw an old mattress pad over the seats to minimize 'transfer of dog hair' but you wouldn't have to.

It is cheap and highly reliable. The sunroof in the back never gets used and in retrospect that was a stupid idea. And the mileage isn't great IMHO, about 22 city 25 highway - but it depends on what you consider normal. My wife has a hybrid so I'm the gas guzzler in our family.

I would bet it would go 10 years without major surgery. I had a Honda Prelude for more than 164K miles (the odo quit working so I don't know how many miles it really had) without any significant problems. The first thing outside regular maintenance on it was a new starter at 130K miles, and that wasn't very expensive.

You can't go wrong with a Honda (or Toyota) IMHO.
__________________

__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 08:28 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
brewer12345's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 16,391
The only knock on the element is that it is only rated for like 850# of people and gear.

Also look at a Subaru Outback.
__________________
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."



- Will Rogers
brewer12345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 10:45 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,459
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
The only knock on the element is that it is only rated for like 850# of people and gear.

Also look at a Subaru Outback.
You aren't trying hard enough. How about the irritating shifter on the dashboard? The backwards wiper control? The lack of verve going up hills that is not compensated by stunning fuel economy? Not very fun getting in and out of the back - especially if the front occupants want to stay put - the belts make for exciting times for them! I had thought about an Element - it seemed the most like a fit for my (rental truck) use. Luckily FIL bought one to replace a CRV they wadded up so i've had the chance to use it. MIL loved the CRV, the Element, not so much. (BTW - Element is same platform as the CRV, and that CRV did real well in the crash). I went for a used BMW station wagon. Rear wheel drive, more poop, way cheaper. Four real doors. But i'm thriffty.
__________________
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 11:13 AM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,968
Quote:
Originally Posted by calmloki View Post
You aren't trying hard enough. How about the irritating shifter on the dashboard? Not at all, looks odd but you get used to it very quickly. If an auto, a non-starter to begin with. The backwards wiper control? Huh? The lack of verve going up hills that is not compensated by stunning fuel economy? You don't buy an Element expecting a sports car. Not very fun getting in and out of the back not a problem, however - especially if the front occupants want to stay put true enough - the belts make for exciting times for them! I had thought about an Element - it seemed the most like a fit for my (rental truck) use. Luckily FIL bought one to replace a CRV they wadded up so i've had the chance to use it. MIL loved the CRV, the Element, not so much. (BTW - Element is same platform as the CRV, and that CRV did real well in the crash). I went for a used BMW station wagon. Rear wheel drive not a good thing if you live up north despite ABS, VSC, etc., more poop and the mileage?, way cheaper. That's a laugh. I've owned a BMW and another marquee brand, and the maintenance $ are absolutely outrageous, not cheap by any means as the OP stipulated. Four real doors. But i'm thriffty. And he did say he wants to put dogs and stuff in it, easier without carpets.
I've owned one for 5 years for a purpose similar to the OP, although you make some good points.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 11:25 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DblDoc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,224
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
The only knock on the element is that it is only rated for like 850# of people and gear.

Also look at a Subaru Outback.
Or Forester. I'm happy with our 2000 5sp. Reasonable gas mileage and pretty versatile.

DD
__________________
DblDoc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 12:16 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer man View Post
I'm thinking of getting a new car and was wondering if anyone had any experience with the Element. I need to haul 2 kids and 1 or 2 dogs. I want something cheap, relatively fuel efficient, able to carry a kayak, and all wheel drive. The polyurethane lining instead of carpet is very appealing. I've never had a Honda, but am aware of their reputation for quality and longevity. The crash test ratings are excellent which is also important, since I will be hauling kids. Hopefully this would be a vehicle that could last me 10 years. Any input on quality issues, repair issues, etc would be appreciated. Thanks.
If you're willing to give up the AWD, the Toyota Sienna minivan might be a better choice. We considered both and wound up chosing the Sienna over the Element.

To keep the price differential between the two small, we had to go with the low end CE version of the Sienna and AWD is not available with the CE. However, we were pleasantly surprised at how nice the trim package and amenities are on the CE considering it is the bottom of the line. In 2005, we got it out the door for under $23k.

The roof rack will accept Yakima or Thule mounts for your kayak. There is nice bucket seat seating for the four of you and plenty of room for the dogs with the rear seat folded into the floor.

The rear end becomes cavernous with a huge amount of space for hauling if you remove the middle row of buckets. But, because you do need to remove the middle buckets for hauling really large stuff, that becomes a negative.......pulling them out and leaving them at home. Fortunately, we've only needed to do that infrequently. Just folding the rear seats into the floor has accomocated almost everything we've needed to stick back there.

As far a having no AWD, the FWD does pretty well. We live in the Chicago area. My son has the Sienna most of the time (three kids) and reports it does quite well in the snow and ice. I'm sure AWD would be better in that regard, but just noting that traction/handling are good with the Sienna's FWD.
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 12:31 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 192
People either love em or hate em. But of all the Element owners I've known (quite a few) they all loved em. They are perfect if you like to carry around a lot of gear. If you ever like to travel and sleep in the car, the Element would be perfect -- you can remove and fold down seats and get get enough room for a tall person to stretch out.
__________________

Niko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 12:36 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 488
Also look into a Mazda5 Sport.
__________________
Razor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 01:37 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
FIRE'd@51's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,315
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
And the mileage isn't great IMHO, about 22 city 25 highway
I'm surprised that the mileage is that low - it's a pretty small car. Our Volvo wagon gets over 30 mpg on the highway.
__________________
FIRE'd@51 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,968
Quote:
Originally Posted by FIRE'd@51 View Post
I'm surprised that the mileage is that low - it's a pretty small car. Our Volvo wagon gets over 30 mpg on the highway.
We were surprised too, but it's not far off the EPA estimates at the time, which I didn't pay much attention to. Coincidentally, I traded in a Volvo 850 wagon on the Element and I averaged about 29 on the highway with the Volvo.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2008, 04:29 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
Lakedog's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 654
I have a 2007 model, and they did fix the entry to the rear seat problem by designing the belts into the front seat. I love mine -- has plenty of pep (increased the horses in 2007), I would have guessed it had a six rather than four cylinder (if I had not known). I only have 5,000 miles on mine but I have averaged 24 mpg when driving about half highway and half in town. I think the rating for haul capacity is way low -- even the tow capacity is low (1500lbs) in the US, but when sold in other countries is over 3,000lbs. I have towed a 2,000lb boat with no issues at all. Great for dogs as others have said. I bought it for the reliability and versatility since I haul a dog, kayaks, bikes, camping gear, etc. I leave my rear seats out much of the time for hauling stuff. Mine replaced a 1992 Toyota 4WD truck which I bought new and has 251,000 miles on it (in fact, just sold it today for $5,000). If the Element serves me as well as the Toyota did, I will be a happy camper.
__________________

__________________
Lakedog is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Coupe Danny Other topics 79 05-26-2008 09:38 AM
Minivan - Toyota or Honda? FinanceDude Other topics 16 04-21-2007 12:15 PM
Independent Mechanic vs Honda Dealer.........not even close!! FinanceDude Other topics 24 04-14-2007 04:34 PM
Honda Lovers Concert JPatrick Other topics 4 03-08-2006 08:10 AM
My first Honda greg Other topics 20 12-20-2005 10:39 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:47 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.