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Honda Element?(26 posts)

Honda Element?mbologna
May 19, 2003 10:01 AM
Anyone driving one of these yet? If so, what are your impressions? I first saw one up close at a triathlon several weeks ago, and it seems like a perfect vehicle for people with active lifestyles. The guy had his bike standing up inside the vehicle with both wheels attached. He had all of his gear hung up, and was sitting down with everything neatly laid out around him. Now, each time I cram my bike into the back seat of the car, I think about that vehicle...

Mark
soon, very soonJS Haiku Shop
May 19, 2003 10:20 AM
i've done all the research and related legwork and am ready to buy one. we are just a few days away from having no more car payments, and it's my turn. unless the dealerships won't deal at all, i will probably be in one by july.

one of my riding companions has bought one--apparently mostly based on my enthusiasm! he had it at the Haiku Shop on saturday eve, and i parked it in the garage to make sure the E fit in my bay (perfect).

it will be replacing a '97 civic EX coupe.

btw, yes, it's the perfect vehicle for those with similar interests. the only limitations are total load capacity (something under 700 pounds, including trailer tongue weight), and the fact that it's a first model year.

will post pics when the time comes.
soon, very soonmbologna
May 19, 2003 10:31 AM
Thanks! I was really impressed with the test drive. It is boxy and does get pushed by the wind some, but not as much as I thought. It seems very versatile. The way the seats can be configured so many different ways would be great for camping, cycling, triathlons, etc.

I normally am not the type to buy a new car, much less a new model, but it seems terrific for the price. I've done some research and even the complaints don't seem bad to me. By the way, if you haven't found it yet, this site has a lot of information: www.elementownersclub.com

I'll be looking for those pics in the future...
re: owners clubJS Haiku Shop
May 19, 2003 11:10 AM
i've been lurking on the forums of that site for quite some time. it's a great resource, not only for inside (driver) information, but for DIY stuff.

-J
Playschool looks, but utilitarian!pitt83
May 19, 2003 11:27 AM
My 4 year old toys have a similar style, but if your completely practical about what you drive...
Makes me wish I needed a car...cory
May 19, 2003 2:53 PM
I do a column for a national car magazine, and I'm an old sports car racer who hates SUVs...but the one drive I took in an Element made me wish I needed a new car. You can see the pluses, mostly--utility, small size, Honda reliability and decent mileage. But it's also about the best-handling (as in cornering, slaloms etc.) SUV/wagon type vehicle I've driven. That's a top priority for me, and I think I could be happy with one. Decent price, too.
There's a review in this month's Consumer Report. nmpurplepaul
May 19, 2003 3:31 PM
Rear Seat Problem?Fez
May 20, 2003 6:27 AM
Do the rear seats fold fwd?

Can they come out?

The pictures only show them folding toward each side and blocking almost the entire side window.

That leaves a pretty narrow tunnel of a cargo area. Two whole bikes side by side may be a challenge, even with the bars turned to the side.
nopeJS Haiku Shop
May 20, 2003 8:06 AM
rear seats fold backward (to lay flat), and forward, and fold up, and also are easily removable. with both seats folded up one cold, wet day in december, after a 'cross race, i fit my mud-covered surly cross-check into the back of one at the dealership and noted room for at least 2 more bikes, with seats in but folded against the windows.

re: blocking the entire side window...i've driven conversion and cargo vans with no rear side windows, and a blocked rear view. that's what the side view mirrors are for!

it's my guess that i'll drive the vehicle with only one rear seat at most times, the other stowed in the house. i have two primary passengers: a 3-year old and a bike.
nopeFez
May 20, 2003 10:08 PM
I guess you answered my question - they do fold down. All I saw in the pictures was all the seats reclined to make a bed. I also saw the pic of them folded off to the side and covering the window. No picture of the rear folding down, but if you say it does, I don't need a picture.

Re: rear seats laying flat - that is pretty worthless. Idea is to sleep, but unless you put a mattress on top of that, it will be pretty lumpy. And who wants to put cargo on top of seats? You better invest in a tarp to protect the upholstery if that is the case.

I think the lack of 5 passenger seating would probably prevent me from getting one.
in black,they don't look so strangeDougSloan
May 20, 2003 8:51 AM
In any color but black, the plastic parts overwhelm the looks. Black's not so bad, though. Interesting vehicle.
Needs bigger wheels and engine.sn69
May 20, 2003 5:25 PM
I'm still an Outback man all the way.
speaking of SubaruDougSloan
May 21, 2003 6:08 AM
The new WRX superduperspooleduppocketrocket is out. 0-60=5.1 seconds. 300 ponies!

http://www.subaru.com/servlet/showroom?track=topnav_s&command=overview&model=IMPREZA&trim=WRX_STI_SEDAN
Yeah, that little sucker is insane; a pocket-rocket racer'ssn69
May 21, 2003 6:19 AM
dream.

I'm more interested in driving the new large motored Outback to see if it's worth it. The 165 horse horizontally opposed 4 in mine is none too fast off the line (like I drag race the War Wagon anyhow), but it does great on the highway. And, FWIW, I've had it at 125 on the highway. Once.... Near Mt Shasta.... Trying to get to Weed, CA faster just to see if the Rugburns song was true.
fast cars a waste in CalifDougSloan
May 21, 2003 6:26 AM
I'm almost convinced that fast cars are a total waste in California, anyway. With all the traffic, it's almost impossible to go over 80. While frequently I've seen freeway traffic flying along at that speed, rarely can you top that due to the density and left lane squatters.

when I was in Missouri, years ago, there were roads so sparsely occupied that cruising at 150 was nothing, lest you get nailed by the moving radar approching from the opposite direction (assuming that the trooper is on top of things enough to spot you at a 220 mph closing speed).

Doug
Thus the brilliance of bicycle commutingsn69
May 21, 2003 6:34 AM
in the eternal sunny and 70 of San Diego (with the exception of the June Gloom that starts in May and lasts until September).

I always found that a mug of java, a good collection of CDs and a car with comfortable seats and good mileage was more important. Still, it's always funny to see the occassional Ferrari, Lambo or Viper stuck in the same traffic.

FWIW, traffic in NOLA sucks eggs too. ...And this festering dump is only 5X5 miles. In Missouri I'd imagine one has to drive quickly in order to outrun the tornados.

Scott
that was my thought, too, untilJS Haiku Shop
May 21, 2003 6:44 AM
...until i saw the black in the lot. the panels versus the paint is a little bit of a contrast. that was the LX, though. i think the EX panels are different.

i'm leaning toward the silver one, green is nice, and blue is ok. the sharp difference between panels and paint are what give it a utilitiarian look, which is part of the draw for me.
like a modern Woody ? nmDougSloan
May 21, 2003 6:49 AM
'zactly. (huh huh huh you said 'woody'!) nmJS Haiku Shop
May 21, 2003 6:52 AM
just saw a review at lunchtime....gregario
May 20, 2003 11:08 AM
Consumers Reports reviews it in their current issue. I _skimmed_ it at lunchtime in the local Target. They didn't sound real positive about it. You might want to pick the article up. From what I recall they didn't like the fact that there is no B-pillar, fairly high interior noise, you have to open the front door to open the back....but that's all I can remember. I'm interested in one too though. It's also freshly reviewed on the CarTalk website. Go to www.cars.com and click on the CarTalk heading on the left column then go to test drives.
minor stuffJS Haiku Shop
May 21, 2003 6:42 AM
nat'l insurance crash test ratings were very good. i've heard about the CR review; the only real concern i had was max load capacity, but i figure 600 pounds and change isn't a big deal. that's two of us diesels and our bikes & gear, which is all i typically haul anyways.

my concerns are safety, longevity, and reliability. safety seems to be good, and the other two cannot be determined in year 1 or 2 of a new model. it's a honda, though, and i'm feeling adventurous.
Ugliest thing on 4 wheels!Alexx
May 21, 2003 4:48 AM
I saw a couple of them this weekend. When I saw the first one, I was wondering why such a new vehicle had suffered so much body damage and such a bad mix-and-match backyard repair. But the next one looked the same??!! What, do people actually WANT to look like they are driving a hillbilly van?
Personally, I can't stand any of the pseudo-SUV's. They are all image and no substance.
oh, come onDougSloan
May 21, 2003 6:14 AM
The Aztec retains that title. :-)

Doug
excellent inflammatory post! congrats! nmJS Haiku Shop
May 21, 2003 6:46 AM
Well, it is!!Alexx
May 21, 2003 9:17 AM
And, in that comment, I am also considering such butt-ugly vehicles as the Aztec, any Cadillac from the last 2 years, those Lincolns with the heavy chrome prow, and even every car ever made by AMC (Pacer included).
I like the 'bread truck'. Honda builds the perfect power plant128
May 21, 2003 11:31 AM
Since I just finished payments on the '94 Golf III, it was inevitable that it should start to sputter (but still sold it in three days off the lawn for market value). So I financed one of these. I believe Hoda may have just about built the perfect, sensible automobile. Had it to 95mph. Smooth all around so far.