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another day at the office
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed a few members of the NorCal group (Jasmina, Dan51, etc) and many others on the road chose the Subaru Outback as their vehicle to be a daily driver and bike carrier. but very few Honda Elements in comparison. I know Sabine has an Element. Anyone else?

The Element is a good size for hauling around your bikes and gear, has decent power, and has Honda's reputation for reliability as a bonus.This car was designed for people who lead an active lifestyle outdoors.

What's not to like?

(click on the photo to read our review of the Honda Element on CarReview.com)

Is the Element too boxy or does it lack that "cool" factor?


Or am I just not taking notice of the Element because people rarely put bike racks on them. Most everything can be stowed inside the vehicle, whereas fitting stuff into an Outback for a long trip requires Tetris skillz.


Can't forget to include a pic and review of the Outback

(click on the photo to read our reviews of the Subaru Outback on CarReview.com)
 

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Groveland Trail Heads
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I don't know Derek

maybe you should include a few pics and a review on the 1991 Chrysler Le Baron Convertible... a true classic :D You know you were very comfortable and we had room for the Rocky Mtn. bike when you had the pleasure of me driving you to Dominican... sorry for the reminder.

I have also noticed at least one other Le Baron convertible with a bike in the back seat here in Santa Cruz. I may be on to something ;)
 

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I am going to post the first bias opinion, the element is just plain ugly. It was ugly when it first came out, and today, I still think is ugly. Same for the Scion XB (The original one). What is cool about a box? Is different, but thats about it.

HOWEVER, I did test drove an element a while back before I brought another Honda SUV. That was purely for the purpose of being able to put my bike in the back.

If you get the Element, get the lower line version that has the plastic on the side panels. Those comes in pretty handy to lean your bike against.

Also, there are some Elements with nicer colors. I think the worst color is the silver with the plastic.

Subaru looks nice. Many of my friends have them. Gas mileage wise , how does the two cars compare?

Also, my friends that drives subarus get free sea otter entry each year, along with free buffet lunch at the subaru/gary fisher tent, free gary fisher t-shirts, socks....and same during winter at Tahoe.
 

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Coyotewoman
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Proven reliability in all wheel drive Talk to any mechanic that works on all-wheel drives.They will tell you how few problems the Subaru tranys have.We have been doing a lot of research for our next vehicle purchase and time and again we hear "trouble free" for the Subaru.They are by far the most common car in Alaska and mountain areas which has to speak to something.
Some friends bought a Element last year and they love it.Really like the way it sets up inside,rides okay.But cars are such a major purchase it's hard to not want to see a track record.Know Hondas are good cars,have had a few,but we are leaning toward a Subaru.
A average consumers 2 cents worth.
 

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another day at the office
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Loll said:
Subaru looks nice. Many of my friends have them. Gas mileage wise , how does the two cars compare?
The Outback's recorded gas mileage during our short test period was 23 mpg. The Element SC only got 20 mpg. Of course, our feet become bricks whenever we get into the test cars.

I wonder what Dan51's fuel economy numbers are for his Outback when he puts the bikes on top of the car.
 

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For me, I dislike the looks, the FWD and the lack of power.

I don't have a legacy, I have a WRX, so it's a bit smaller, which only means I need better tetris skills, but the AWD and performance of the car are huge sellers for me. Add to that the reliability, the functionality of the car - the underfloor trays, the racks, the ability to go everywhere I need (btw, the WRX is more fun off road than it is on road) and I'm a happy guy.

I would like a bigger car, like the legacy, but I think I'm going to get a hitch mounted tray or a rocket box for the roof to carry stuff with a bit more ease.
 

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Ack!
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I test drove an element before I bought my turbo forester. It is alot easier to get bikes inside the element, it has an ipod jack and lots of good front seat storage areas, and definitely holds more inside than the forrester, especially if you stack vertically. Being able to take out the rear seats is nice or fold them down into a bed. The downsides are if you go with a roof rack it is damn high up there, the gas mileage is worse, and it drives like a truck.

Subaru is an IMBA supporter, and if you are a member you can get a discount which saves you the haggling. Subarus have great reliability, fun to drive, drives like a car. My subaru has heated seats, which is not an option on the element.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd buy a prius.
 

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bike buster
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Yes, the Element has a lot of room inside. So does this:



Maybe it is due to the striking resemblence in aesthetic design?

I would choose the Subaru due to it's flat-4 engine. It is extremely easy to work on. Access is almost never an issue. The same cannot be said for a transverse Honda 4-cylinder. Not that either vehicle would (likely) need much work. Outside of minor oil leaks and wheel bearing issues on older models, Subarus seem to last forever. Not that Hondas don't.

Having driven dozens of Subarus from varied model years, age and mileage... I have to say their transmission software needs some work. It takes three weeks for a downshift to actually happen when horsepower is desired (ie. passing). Ask Dan. Haha.
 

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love my sube

I just did a road trip in my 2006 impreza outback (2.5i engine, no turbo) from the bay to Colorado with bikes on the roof, and the car packed with gear, a girl, and a dog (and a couple hundred $ of beer on the way back). Average highway speeds were definitely above the posted limits, and I still averaged about ~26 mpg. Without the bike on top, I got ~28 mpg the last time I did that trip, so not a huge difference.

I sold a toyota pickup 4x4 to get the sube because I wanted something that drives like a car (handling, fuel economy), but can cruise in the snow. I looked at the element, and liked it, but not nearly as much as the sube. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.
 

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Birthday Collector
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I liked the Element a lot a few years ago when shopping vehicles. Lots of space and cool configurations. I DIDN'T like the front seats or the general driving feel though. I bought an '05 CR-V which I really like. Just filled up this AM and my normal around the Bay Area mix of surface streets and highway got about 25 mpg (been driving mellow). 2.4 liter with a 5-spd manual. I can fit 3 bikes inside with 3 people (tight) if I remove one of the seat segments. With a Thule Roof box, it is a great road trip vehicle for 3 people, bikes and gear, all protected from the elements (no pun intended). On the other hand - gotta love Subaru for supporting our sport and the Outback is a nice driving vehicle for 90% of what most of us will do. Get the one you like the best overall and don't worry about what others thing TOO much - both are relatively economical vehicles with good reliability.
 

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Element: If you have people park too close to you in a parking lot you're not going to get that rear passenger door open. You'll have to do a little more coordination to get that person out :p
 

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another day at the office
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Classic rides found HERE

scheckler said:
maybe you should include a few pics and a review on the 1991 Chrysler Le Baron Convertible... a true classic :D You know you were very comfortable and we had room for the Rocky Mtn. bike when you had the pleasure of me driving you to Dominican... sorry for the reminder.

I have also noticed at least one other Le Baron convertible with a bike in the back seat here in Santa Cruz. I may be on to something ;)
Convertibles are the "bomb"
 

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Derek,

While for the summer it may work well for Element, try to drive both in the winter snow ;)
Something interesting is going on when you coming for the opening weekend to the Sugar Bowl and for some reason the whole parking lot covered with Subarus.

And how it was pointed Outback is not a true comparison, try Forester.
With gas-milege even heavy Tribeca fully loaded scores 20MPG. And if you going for city SUV nothing will beat RAV4.

To add, someone going for Element is pretty much because of the look, hardly for utility.
 

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another day at the office
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Stalk said:
Derek,

While for the summer it may work well for Element, try to drive both in the winter snow ;)
Something interesting is going on when you coming for the opening weekend to the Sugar Bowl and for some reason the whole parking lot covered with Subarus.

And how it was pointed Outback is not a true comparison, try Forester.
With gas-milege even heavy Tribeca fully loaded scores 20MPG. And if you going for city SUV nothing will beat RAV4.

To add, someone going for Element is pretty much because of the look, hardly for utility.
You are right. There are a lot more Subies at the resorts than Elements because of AWD (and many other reasons).

Someday I'll add the Forrester to our test schedule. Unfortunately, there are a few other cars that look a lot more desirable to drive.
 

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(slight return)
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Nice thread, my Isuzu is illing. I expect to be calling a tow truck any day now from the side of 101, but I'm taking it all the way and now that I have AAA-plus I can travel up to 100 miles from home with confidence. :thumbsup:

Subaru Outback is at the top of the list for me. What other cars did you subaru owners look at? What don't you like about them? How long has yours lasted? Do they require a lot of maintenance?

-slide
 

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asymmetryrtemmysa
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Fast Eddy said:
The Subie is going to be sportier and more fun to drive everyday. The element puts the 'U' in SUV.
Except that the Element gets worse gas mileage (30mpg highway with a manual 4cyl Subaru), the all-wheel drive system is relatively poor, and it has minimal clearance.

As someone previously mentioned, I also think the more apt comparison is between the Forester and the Element. In any case, if your drive takes you beyond wet roads or a bit of light fireroad, the Subarus far outclass the Element in terms of performance and reliability (well, so long as you believe the head gasket issues are fixed :D ).
 
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