Anyone have one of these babies? Tell me about it.
I have an '03 EX AWD with the 5spd manual transmission. Bought it used last January with 18K miles on it for less than $16,000. I've owned something like 16 cars in the last 18 years and I can say that, hands down, this is my favorite. Lots of interior room, rubber floor works wonders when your 3 year old throws up in the back seat or you have to load a wet or dirty bike in it, the 270 watt 7 speaker stereo kicks bootie, and it actually has surprisingly good get-up-and-go --- much better acceleration than the 2002 Outback wagon I replaced. I built a custom interior fork mount and took one back seat out entirely for day-to-day bike transport, but I also have 3 fork mount Thule carriers on the roof racks. Mileage has averaged around 23 mpg in mixed driving - I commute 16 miles each way for work, about 2/3rds of which is interstate driving at 60 - 70 mph; however, I do have a lead foot, so my mileage numbers may be lower than most.
Things I don't like: the handling is sub-par, at least compared to the Outback. Heck, it's a refrigerator on wheels, so it's not going to handle like a car, right? It's LOUD inside - I don't think there's any sound insulation in the doors or body panels. It rides very stiffly - you feel every single bump, pothole, etc... My gas gauge has never worked correctly - it tells me I'm out of gas when I have 3 - 4 gallons left in the tank, and Honda swears the fuel sending unit is working correctly. I've found the snow handling to be off-putting with the stock tires - when the front wheels start to lose traction, the power gets shifted to the rear, which makes the E tend to understeer on slick surfaces. Snow tires do help with that. The final gear ratio with the 5 speed manual is too low - at 75 mph, you're turning about 4000 rpms, so gas mileage goes WAY downhill after about 65 mph. (I live in Idaho and outside of the cities the freeway speeds are around 80 mph.) As for the windsheild, I have not yet had the dreaded crack, but any rock that hits it seems to leave a star or small crack, like the glass was not tempered correctly.
All in all, I think that despite its stupid looks, stiff suspension, and noisy interior, I love it and can't think of a more useful vehicle or better bargain at its price point. Here's a gratuitous photo of it before a race I did this season - a good indicator of the spaciousness.