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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's about time to replace my aging Ford Escape, which I like a lot but it's reaching end of life and gets crummy milage anyway.

The benefits of the Element are getting me real excited, even though it's ugly as hell I want one for some reason. In fact it's so ugly it's appealing in a strange way. Can anybody give me some feedback on it?

- How's it drive? Is it loud inside?

- Does in have tiedown hooks on the inside floors? I love the idea of putting a full bike inside upright. Those seats folding up is a great idea! I don't feel safe with my bike up on the roof of the Escape, having my bike inside makes me feel a lot better.

- How is it for a ski vehicle? I imagine it's great. I'd probably still need to put a box on the roof for skis though? Imagine 4 people with boards and skis.

- Real world mileage?

Thanks,
Greg
 

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i love my element...i have had it since 2004. great vehicle. ugliest car around, which makes it cool...nice quiet ride, with a great honda engine.
there are tie downs on the floor and seats fold up or just come out all together.

awesome awd...handles very well in the snow.
with box and ski rack, i'm probably getting around 20-22 mpg.
i use bikes on the roof in the summer and sometimes on a hitch mount as well.

great value for a good reliable vehicle.
 

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InlawBiker said:
It's about time to replace my aging Ford Escape, which I like a lot but it's reaching end of life and gets crummy milage anyway.

The benefits of the Element are getting me real excited, even though it's ugly as hell I want one for some reason. In fact it's so ugly it's appealing in a strange way. Can anybody give me some feedback on it?

- How's it drive? Is it loud inside?

- Does in have tiedown hooks on the inside floors? I love the idea of putting a full bike inside upright. Those seats folding up is a great idea! I don't feel safe with my bike up on the roof of the Escape, having my bike inside makes me feel a lot better.

- How is it for a ski vehicle? I imagine it's great. I'd probably still need to put a box on the roof for skis though? Imagine 4 people with boards and skis.

- Real world mileage?

Thanks,
Greg
I had a 5spd manual '03 for about 4 years. I mountain bike, road bike, and snowboard. Fantastic gear hauler. I regret getting rid of it. Thoughts:

1. It's not bad handling for a washing machine/toaster oven/refrigerator.
2. It doesn't have all that great acceleration, even with the manual.
3. The rubberized floors are nice - wipe 'em out and you're done.
4. 90% of the time I had one of the back seats removed entirely. In that configuration it's very easy to roll a complete bike - or two - inside, even my bigger bikes.
5. It was a great camping vehicle. Fold the seats flat, and voila - bed. If I was car camping solo somewhere, I never needed to bring a tent.
6. Good stero.
7. Mechanically reliable - I put about 50K miles on mine (started with 18K) and never one mechanical problem.
8. The all wheel drive system is adequate for snowy roads. I felt it worked better than the Outback I had immediately prior to getting the Element. It also handled dirt roads just fine.
9. That said, it is NOT a 4WD vehicle. It has pretty lousy clearance, so it's not suited for really deep snow or seriously rutted/technical dirt roads.
10. With both back seats in normal "seating" configuration, it doesn't have a lot of "trunk" space behind them for gear. So yeah, with 4 people and ski gear, you're definitely going to need a cargo carrier on top.
11. Lots of front and rear legroom.
12. The suicide doors are neat, but annoying. You can't open the back door unless you open the front. This also compromises side-impact safety. I think it gets mediocre crash-test ratings for side impact.
13. With both back seats removed or folded up, it's cavernous for hauling stuff. A buddy and I road tripped to Fruita in it with all of our gear and four bikes, with room to spare.
14. It is LOUD inside. Very little to no sound insulation.
15. It does have an "econobox" sort of feel. No satisfying "thump" when you close the door. The exhaust has a cheap "tinny" note.
16. I averaged about 23 mpg in mixed driving - about 50/50 highway and in town. However...with the 5 speed...it got AWFUL highway gas mileage over 70 mph. Like 18 mpg, even without any bikes on the roof. 5th gear wasn't a lot higher than 4th - I never really considered it to have a highway gear. Not when you're pulling 3-4000 rpms at 75.
17. It only seats 4. There is no middle rear seat.

So, that's about it.
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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A bunch of MTB cronies in my area have Elements. They are cool but loud : /

The Crosstour isn't purdy but I wanted it for some reason beyond the fact that it is the quietest Honda I've ever been in. This MTB is 21" 29er- I have to lower the seat on my ride a little to clear the roof line. Fits two bikes great (have to remove front wheel on 2nd one). They are definitely not cheap but as good as it gets for sleeper MTB transportation.

 

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I test drove one since I was in a similar position as you, looking for a new car last year. I don't understand some of the previous posters that are saying the AWD is great, especially the person who said it was better than subaru's. One of the main things that turned me off about the element was the AWD system. It's basically front wheel drive with a delayed reaction to the rear wheels if the front slips. The salesman took me out to a snowy/icy parking lot and had me stomp on it multiple times. It seemed to literally take 2+ seconds for the system to sense that the front wheels were slipping before kicking any power to the rear. I've driven a number of AWD cars and was not the least bit impressed. That pretty much pushed me away from the element. On the other side of the fence I test drove a subaru in the same conditions and was blown away. No delay in power to any of the wheels and seemed to have better grip.

Aside from that and the fact that it doesn't get that great of mileage, I liked it a lot. I like the utility and space inside, but it wasn't enough to get me to buy one. If it had gotten 5-10mpg better or had more power at the current mpg I might've been swayed to buy one. That said it seems like most people that have one really like them, so you probably can't go wrong if you're already set on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not set on anything and the loudness could be a deal-breaker. I'll test drive it and see what happens.

As far as I'm concerned nothing beats the AWD of the Subarus. My Escape also has "assisted" 4wd where it senses slippage and diverts power to the rear wheels when needed. This is not perfect but it's a lot better than 2wd and good enough for my purposes.

Really though, there's nothing out there that can do what the Element can.

My 2nd choice would be an even split between a Subaru or a small truck of some kind. I'd rather have a Subaru overall but I love having a truck and the appeal of not putting the bike on my roof anymore is really strong....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
EDub I like that Crosstour but I notice your bike is clean... I'm in the Seattle area and after most rides my bike is filthy with mud. There's no way I'm putting a muddy bike into a nice clean car. Unless it's got a rubber floor like the Element.
 

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2008 EX 4WD w/ 5 speed auto: Interstate speeds, racks on, bike inside up to 28 mpg. My commute to work, 55 mph rolling hills I average about 25 mpg.

Four small fold down hoops in each corner of the cargo area you can hook a strap into, plus you can use the bars in the middle of the floor where the seats latch.

2000 rpm is about 63 mph, 2500 rpm is around 78, so engine is quiet. Road noise to me is no worse than other smallish vehicles I have owned. Toyo High Country M/T tires quieter than original Goodyears. Ride is bouncy, but suspension handles washboard roads well.

Bought new, 73,000 miles now. Needed no warranty work. Probably the best vehicle I have owned so far!
 

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i live in snow country and have driven this car in the worst conditions on the worst roads.
i had a jeep grand cherokee before this car, and this is a better snow car - hands down.

as far as it being loud, i run studded tires, so that makes it a bit loud...can't have everything in a car around $22,000 loaded.
 

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What has been said. Ours is 81k and just needed a O2 sensor around 45K. I can get 2 bikes with only one seat tilted up. My Mojo fits complete with tires with just lowering the fork on 120mm and lowering the seatpost, I remove the right pedal and fit another bike with the front wheel off.

If it had more torque (or transfer case) and better ground clearance, it would be a hard to beat utility vehicle.
 

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I've had my 04 EX since March of last year. I was bummed because I missed out on the big snow storms before we bought it. Well, I got to drive it in both the biggest storms MN has seen this year. Glad to say I made it home. It's AWD works, not as good as my old A4 Quattro or STi, but it gets the job done.
As for carrying bikes, I LOVE IT. No racks to worry about. No thieves to worry about. Just fold up the seat and slide her in. As others mentioned, ability to seat only 4 sucks but, there is only four of us in my family (wife and 2 kids). Love the rubber floor, can't wait till spring so I can clean out the mud and salt!
I wish MPG was higher, but a box can only be so aerodynamic. Handles great for something of this size, a lot better than my old 98 Caravan.
I've also slept inside on bike camping trips and it's not bad.
Another thing I wish it had was power rear window and sunroof. I hate having the back seat passengers reach up to open the sunroof.
So all in all, out of all the cars I've ever had this has to be my favorite.
My list of cars in order of favorite:
1. Element
2. Mazda Protege5
3. Civic
4. STi
5. Prelude
6. Camry
7. Forester
8. Caravan

That give you an idea of where I rank the Element. It's also not my daily driver.
 

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InlawBiker said:
It's about time to replace my aging Ford Escape, which I like a lot but it's reaching end of life and gets crummy milage anyway.

The benefits of the Element are getting me real excited, even though it's ugly as hell I want one for some reason. In fact it's so ugly it's appealing in a strange way. Can anybody give me some feedback on it?

- How's it drive? Is it loud inside?

- Does in have tiedown hooks on the inside floors? I love the idea of putting a full bike inside upright. Those seats folding up is a great idea! I don't feel safe with my bike up on the roof of the Escape, having my bike inside makes me feel a lot better.

- How is it for a ski vehicle? I imagine it's great. I'd probably still need to put a box on the roof for skis though? Imagine 4 people with boards and skis.

- Real world mileage?

Thanks,
Greg
FYI InLawBiker -

Honda has announced that the Element will be discontinued after the 2011 production year.

Source: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/12/03/honda-announces-end-of-element-production/

Honda specifically cites that a large amount of their customers prefer the better refinement and improved fuel economy of the automaker's CR-V crossover over the Element.

For more Element owner-based opinions, here is a Honda Elements Owners Club Forum:

http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/index.php?

Hope this helps
 

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Didn't realize they were so loud on the highway... i drove one around town and it was fine. But then my Forester is pretty dang loud too, so I might not notice.

That's a shame they would discontinue it. CR-V is nice, but they would need the rubber floor option to capture a lot of Element buyers. And the folding seats...
 

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Great little vehicle. I bought my wife one. When she first said she wanted one i was like they are so ugly. But they are cool to drive, you can do a u turn in the middle of the street, great in the snow and with us the rubber floor is great, dogs and mtb.
 

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tiflow_21 said:
I don't understand some of the previous posters that are saying the AWD is great, especially the person who said it was better than subaru's.
I've owned 3 Subarus and I drive to and from our local ski area on windy, twisty, snowy roads a lot. The Outback LOVED to understeer in the snow - the rear wheels would kick in with too much gusto, causing the front tires to immediately break free, resulting in sliding wide around corners. Downright scary, absent snow tires. The Element never had that problem, snow tires or not. My current front wheel drive Jetta Sportwagen is twice the snow car the Outback ever was.
 

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Relayden said:
What has been said. Ours is 81k and just needed a O2 sensor around 45K. I can get 2 bikes with only one seat tilted up. My Mojo fits complete with tires with just lowering the fork on 120mm and lowering the seatpost, I remove the right pedal and fit another bike with the front wheel off.

If it had more torque (or transfer case) and better ground clearance, it would be a hard to beat utility vehicle.
Do you have to lower the seatpost/fork to get it past the rear opening, or it will actually hit the roof? When you fit your Mojo with both tires in, does the bike need to go diagonal or extend past the front seats (between the two front seats)?

I'm thinking of getting an Element, but the ugliness and lack of power are kinda a turn-off. I also wish it had a little more ground clearance.

Oh a slightly different note: Does anyone know if the new Forester will fit a bike upright with the front wheel off and the seatpost lowered?
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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InlawBiker said:
EDub I like that Crosstour but I notice your bike is clean... I'm in the Seattle area and after most rides my bike is filthy with mud. There's no way I'm putting a muddy bike into a nice clean car. Unless it's got a rubber floor like the Element.
I took that pic on the way to the beach last fall.

We get plenty of mud axxion- I have a big canvas drop cloth that I throw down for that.
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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pimpbot said:
... is now taken by the Honda CrossTour. No offence to any owners here, but ew... seriously.
None taken... I think the Element still has the CT beat on that front. A bunch of the crazy fools I ride with have Elements and luv em.

The BMW X6 takes the cake for UGLY and outrageously expen$ive to boot!



Then there's others also others in line before the CT:
entire line of "new" Acura products
entire line of Cadillac products
...

One of my other rides is a 1965 Chevy Corvair... another vehicle that most do not find attractive but I caught the bug as a teen and they grew on me quickkk. Crosstour is the same way. You get in and the Kool-Aid effect takes over :D
 
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