Honda Element owners -tell me about it

So my wife and I have started looking at vehicles to replace our 97 Venture, and we’re both kind of attracted to this Honda. It’s got some pretty slick features, and the looks seem to grow on you after a while. Has anyone here lived with one for a while? Got any complaints?

What, have you gone completely mad???

Yeah, I know. Perhaps it’s a backlash against the overt stodginess of the Venture.

I have had my 2004 LX Element for about 2 months now and I love it. It comes in 3 models:
DX: no radio, no AC, steel wheels. Basic car.
LX: CD player and AC included. Steel wheels. No other extras.
EX: Has everything. 7 speaker sound, AC, ABS, alloy wheels.

I have the all wheel drive model. We had about 7 inches of snow here in SC a few days ago and it was flawless. The interior is great. No carpet anywhere. I have 2 dogs and do a lot of backpacking, and it is very easy to keep clean.

It is a 160 HP 4 cylinder, so you are not going to win any races. That said, it has more than enough power for me. I am getting 21 MPG in town and about 25 MPG on the interstate.

If you get one you may want to get the EX. since it has more bells and whistles. I did not want to spend the extra money and the only thing I really miss are the power mirrors on the LX. The EX has them of course.

1 thing that bothers me. It says that it has a 675 lb MAX payload. That is for people and cargo. This is really low if you consider that 4 average guys can exceed that without any cargo at all. That said, everyone that I know who has one has exceeded this weight (in some cases by quite a bit) with no problems at all. Most people seem to think that this is a legal thing added due to the Explorer mess a few years ago. The manual says that anything over 675 pounds will change the way it handles.

Here are 2 message boards that you will want to check out. They have the answers to any questions you might have. I lurked there for about 6 weeks before I bought mine. I still go there when I have questions.

I LOVE the look of the Element. The first time I saw one I told my wife it was the most butt ugly thing on wheels. 6 months later I am driving one, wondering how I could have ever thought such a thing. :smiley:

Evidently they put some sort of hallucinogenic substance into the ventilation system, with the consequence that you’ve become completely delusional. :slight_smile:

You were right the first time.

Bah! I was wrong wrong wrong. Look at one closer. Check out the rubber floors. Check out the water proof seats. Check out the rear seats that flip up like bunks in a battleship. Sure, it may look a little like an ice cream truck, but it is a coooool ice cream truck. My wife and I both love it. I HONESTLY can’t figure out why I thought it was so ugly when I first saw it. I guess because it was different.

Because it’s built like a packing crate? One that got dropped?

Sure, it is boxy, but that does not mean it is not a good looking little SUV. Around 70,000 people bought these packing crates in their first year of production. 2004 is trending higher than that. When I bought mine I had seen only one other Element around my small town. Now they are everywhere. There must be a lot of dropped packing crate fans out there! My dad always said “One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling”. :slight_smile:

It’s basically one of those “It’s so ugly, it’s cute” things. You know, like pugs, with their faces all pushed in. Can’t say they’re pretty, but they’re damn cute.

The coolest thing about it is the backwards opening doors in the back. Man, I love those. My question, though: can the back doors open with the front doors closed? Cause it seems to me that they can’t.

Nope, the front door must be opened first.

I have lived with the Element for almost one year and I would highly recommend it.
There have been some issues that have plagued the first generation of vehicles:

  • Rocking seat
  • A-pillar rattle
  • Cracked windshield

I have never cracked the windshield but I did have the rattles and the rocking seat. Both were repaired by Honda at my first scheduled maintenance visit.

Things that I like about the Element:

  • Very good handling
  • The rear seats flip up and attach to the side walls opening up the back.
  • Fantastic traction in the winter (even with the stock rubber)
  • Engine is very smooth
  • Very good stock sound system
  • Quality of workmanship
  • I am a new father and this car is just fantastic for baby hauling. The rear seat area has so much room; baby seats go in and out effortlessly, you can kneel on the floor while making adjustments, diaper changes and feedings are a breeze because you can’t stain the carpets or upholstery.

Things I would I would improve:

  • Gas mileage is poor
  • I would like heated mirrors and seats
  • Variable speed intermittent wipers would be nice.

Everyone who takes the time to appreciate the functionality of the Element will have to admit that it is a well thought out car. I was kind of neutral on it for the first few months of ownership. I had to give up I very nice sports car because I needed something that was family friendly. Now I like it and it is still growing on me.

Well, I’ve had mine now for a little over a month (Jan 26, 2004) and just rolled over 4100 miles. (I commute 126 miles round trip daily).

I like it. A lot. It’s roomy and then some.

Mine is an AWD with a 5spd and I get about 24.59 mpg on average (take out the two tanks from the road trip where my husband drove and I’m getting 24.85 mpg average) Not bad in comparison to most in its class.

No problems or complaints here. My only weirdness was getting used to the wide A-pillar in front.

I think it could look good. Boxy isn’t a death knell if done right. But the swaths of matte black plastic kill it for me. If those were metal, it wouldn’t look that out-of-place in reality.

My SO got one last fall.
At the time, we were trying to find a vehicle that had 1) enough leg/shoulder room for full sized adults in the back seat, and 2) head room.
The Element has an amazing amount of both.
In addition, the ability to flip up the backseats allows for a lot of versatilty.
The rear opening back doors make it easy to load stuff and people into the backseat.

There are a couple of drawbacks.
As mentioned the engine power output is a bit on the low side, and not offset by a good gasoline mileage.
It really is only a 4 person vehicle. The back seat has cupholders in the center, so you aren’t putting a 5th person there, even for a short ride.