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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Anyone drive a Honda Element (great bike car)

    I'm considering the Honda Element as my next car. I know, I know -- it's odd looking. To me it's cute; to others it's well, let's just say not cute. But I think it would be a great vehicle to have, among other reasons, because the bike could just be tossed in back and I wouldn't have to fuss with a bike rack. I also have occasional need of a vehicle to haul odds and ends but don't want a pickup truck, and I'd like to start doing more tent camping.

    Anyway -- anyone here drive an Element and care to comment on it?

    PS: For those of you who think it's butt-ugly and feel compelled to point that out, save your breath. I couldn't care more (couldn't care less?) what kind of automotive fashion statement I'm making. Form follows function in my opinion!
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  2. #2
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Don't drive one but if I were going to buy a new car, the Honda Element would be it.

  3. #3
    I'm fine. Cromulent's Avatar
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    The Element is the only car that my wife and I have. We love it. It drives great. We can haul all the camping gear we will ever need in it. Hauling big stuff is a breeze. Groceries are a snap. We can easily put two bikes in it. Friends love the stadium seating. The dog loves to stand on the back seat and watch the world go by. And it gets decent gas mileage for the size.

    Is it ugly? Yes. It is an ugly vehicle, in a really cool kind of way.

    We couldn't be happier with it.

  4. #4
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Interestingly, the much market researched Honda Element was designed specifically for the young sporty crowd - twenty-somethings, as also reflected in their current ads. But these folks are buying the Scion.

    Guess who is buying the Honda Elements?

    Yep. Folks like us!

    So much for market research.

    We looked at them, but we also own a Dodge Caravan in great condition, and decided that we would just keep it, instead of forking over $$$ for a new car.

    Some negatives:

    1. It only seats four folks.

    2. I believe you would have to remove the front wheel (of the bike, that is) to get a bike in the back.

    3. It is not big enough for my son's three wheeler.

    4. I can carry four bikes, fully assembled, in my Caravan.

    But, I think they are a great choice for many.

    (And I think it is kind of cute)
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  5. #5
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Before you buy the "Ailment," look (and drive) the Scion xB. Better gas mileage, better reliability, same room, and (much) lower cost. Also, Honda prices their cars "bare." All options are dealer-installed. That means you're at the Honda dealer's mercy about how much an option actually costs. With Scion, there's a "no-haggle" price, and you can look on the internet and see EXACTLY what the car cost the dealer.

    I don't like Honda's marketing. I don't like Honda's poor record on safety recalls (much higher than Toyota's and a VERY bad track record of seatbelt malfunctions). I don't like Honda's pricing strategy. I don't like the Honda dealers I've tried to deal with. I don't like the majority of Honda drivers that I see on the road (some of the least experienced, most aggressive, and worst behaved of any!). In short, I just don't like Honda!

    Despite the fact that Honda cars are basically well designed and reliable, their shortcomings make them not a viable choice for me or mine. Just my two cents.

  6. #6
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    I have 40,000 miles on my Element and it is the vehicle of choice here. I have a big car and a pickup to pick from and the element wins. A misconception one should not clean out the inside with a leaf blower, it did a great job but got grit in the heater controls. They straightened out by themselves but altho tempting don't do it. 2 bicycles fit in incredibly easily with all needed gear. and yes the dogs do love it. mine is silver but the new ones come in red I want a red one

  7. #7
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Better gas mileage, better reliability, same room, and (much) lower cost.
    Reviews I read about the Scion xB state:

    Underpowered for high speed western open space freeway driving (where the speed limit is 75-80 mph)

    Underpowered for accelerating into traffic

    only manual transmission available

    True?
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-04-05 at 06:54 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    An alternative view: I have a Honda Civic, which is incredibly reliable, is great on gas and is a surprisingly good bike car. If you flip the back seat down and take the front wheel off, you can easily fit any road bike in the trunk. May not be your cup of tea, but I'm grateful to get between 35 and 40 MPG.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Well, I can likely top you all.

    I have a Ford 1993 Escort - sort of a hatchback - my special bicycling car.

    Easy to get a bike (gotta remove the front wheel) in with the rear seat folded down. In fact, my LBS mechanic, who also has one, said that he and a buddy got 4 mtn bikes in the back!

    With 123,000 miles, pretty reliable. Everything works - A/C, everything.

    I originally bought the car for my one-way 38 mile commute when I was teaching. I kept this car as a 3rd car because I can only get about $1,000 on the market for it, it saves my Caravan for trips, and it gets great mileage, and as a 3rd older car with no collision nor comprehensive, the insurance is really cheap.

    .
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #10
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Reviews I read about the Scion xB state: Underpowered for high speed western open space freeway driving (where the speed limit is 75-80 mph) Underpowered for accelerating into traffic only manual transmission available True?
    Yes, No, and No. My xB (with automatic transmission) is very quick to accelerate from a standing stop - if you want to go, it'll go. The trade off is highway passing power - if you want to pass at highway speeds, plan WAY ahead! The engine does get buzzy at anything above 70 mph, though. I understand the manual transmission model is a bit peppier - I'd have preferred that model, but my better half refuses to drive a manual - period.

    You want 28 to 30 mpg? You got to live with the lack of high end.

  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Before you buy the "Ailment," look (and drive) the Scion xB. Better gas mileage, better reliability, same room, and (much) lower cost. Also, Honda prices their cars "bare." All options are dealer-installed. That means you're at the Honda dealer's mercy about how much an option actually costs. With Scion, there's a "no-haggle" price, and you can look on the internet and see EXACTLY what the car cost the dealer.

    I don't like Honda's marketing. I don't like Honda's poor record on safety recalls (much higher than Toyota's and a VERY bad track record of seatbelt malfunctions). I don't like Honda's pricing strategy. I don't like the Honda dealers I've tried to deal with. I don't like the majority of Honda drivers that I see on the road (some of the least experienced, most aggressive, and worst behaved of any!). In short, I just don't like Honda!

    Despite the fact that Honda cars are basically well designed and reliable, their shortcomings make them not a viable choice for me or mine. Just my two cents.
    But how do you REALLY feel?

    I'd like to like the Scion, but I just can't. I just can't get used to the styling. I will readily admit the price is lower, however.

    That said, I'd love any links about the record of safety recalls and seatbelt malfunctions. Hadn't heard any of that before. I do drive a Toyota right now and it's been berry berry good to me. But it's a sedan and I'd like something more versatile -- but I don't want a big old SUV or pick up truck.

    As for Honda drivers -- I hadn't noticed any of that.
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  12. #12
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You want 28 to 30 mpg? You got to live with the lack of high end
    My 1993 Escort gets that mileage or more, and has plenty of scoot at the high end (and the low end).

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/9918.shtml

    Fuel Type Regular
    *
    MPG (city) 25

    *
    MPG (highway) 33

    *
    MPG (combined) 28
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  13. #13
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    I looked at an Element as it has a lot of things I'm looking for.

    I was amazed that the fuel mileage is so low. My minivan (that has two double beds and 200cuft of space in the back) gets the same mileage.

    I also like Scion xB. It is a lot cheaper and it gets better mileage. It's not quite as big as the Element and it's not nearly as flexible.

    Az

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    hey man, 50% physical and 90% mental makes 140% To me mixing cars and bicycles is like mixing two different sports. I don't think a bicycle on the back of my 1970 Roadrunner would look too hip. And i'm 100% sure of that.

  15. #15
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    As for Honda drivers -- I hadn't noticed any of that.
    You must not live in a university town...

  16. #16
    there ARE no bad rides
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    Well, dnvrFox, I'm not sure if you top me or not...but we're close. My bike transport car is a '91 VW Golf 2dr hatchback. 126,000 miles and runs and looks like new. Like your Escort, I can get at least a few bikes in the back (yeah, with wheels off) although I prefer putting them on the roof rack. The insurance situation is the same with me as it is with you. I keep bragging to my wife that my insurance is cheap, she says I'm cheap.
    I recently took it to a Mtn bike fest on Cape Cod (200 miles from here) the farthest it's ever been from home, and with passengers, luggage in the back and two bikes on the roof, I still got 33mpg at 65-70 mph. I've never had to make a car payment on it, either. Gotta love those older cars! Here's to us...............
    aj

    I wouldn't mind a new Element though, I love 'em.........Good luck Gary.

  17. #17
    pAIYILI Paiyili's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    But how do you REALLY feel?

    I'd like to like the Scion, but I just can't. I just can't get used to the styling. I will readily admit the price is lower, however.

    That said, I'd love any links about the record of safety recalls and seatbelt malfunctions. Hadn't heard any of that before. I do drive a Toyota right now and it's been berry berry good to me. But it's a sedan and I'd like something more versatile -- but I don't want a big old SUV or pick up truck.

    As for Honda drivers -- I hadn't noticed any of that.
    My wife and I initially balked at the XB styling, too, but then we test drove one. We were looking to replace our Echo, and this thing handled just like the Echo. I wanted a car we could put "stuff" in, and I have always disliked hatchback-like cars with rear doors that aren't as wide as the cargo compartment. It's a personal bias. Anyway, our xB is our favorite of all the cars we have ever owned. Great comfort, handles nice, carries big stuff (both our bikes inside), and every bit peppy enough for our kind of driving (PA Turnpike,etc.). The looks have grown on us.
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  18. #18
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    hey man, 50% physical and 90% mental makes 140% To me mixing cars and bicycles is like mixing two different sports. I don't think a bicycle on the back of my 1970 Roadrunner would look too hip. And i'm 100% sure of that.

    Ditto that! I drive a Mazda MX5 with no provisions for a bike, only makes me have to ride more.

  19. #19
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Can't help with this one. I'm too devoted to my '91 Toyota Previa with 400,000+ miles-it's been a great, great bike mobile. Just roll the bikes in and out. With 3 college tuitions I just hope mine holds up another couple hundred thousand......

  20. #20
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    When we bought our new car last year we really wanted to be able to carry the bike's inside. Since we usually don't need more than 2 seats our thoughts were to put the extra seats in the storage unit and mount the thule rack components on a 2x8 and that would work. When company is visiting it's easy to put the seats back in.

    We looked at the Element and the Rav-4. My husband liked the Element but I couldn't see myself driving it. Got a super deal on tha Rav (day after Christmas). The bikes fit inside as well as shoes, helmets, etc.

    Being height challenged I love how easy it is for me to load and unload my bike. The last car was a Subura Outback and I couldn't go off by myself because I couldn't load & unload.

  21. #21
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    I took one of the back seats out of my 2003 EX 2WD Element and usually keep the other folded up out of the way. I can get all three of my bikes inside without taking off the front wheels. The all plastic interior means I don't have to worry about messing up the carpet. I haul bags of dirt, pine straws bales, lumber, dogs, etc.

    We're going on a long trip so I've ordered a trailer hitch and a bike rack to fit it.

    Gas mileage could be higher(previous car was Civic hatchback) but great acceleration and tons of room inside.

    Bikes are bikes and cars are cars; ride/drive what you like.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    What kind of mileage does an Element get? I have a 2001 Odyssey and I can stand two bicycles up with their front wheels between the second set of seats. A perfect fit and quite secure, but i can only get about 23-24mpg on the highway. Not good these days. In all other respects, the Odyssey is a great van.
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  23. #23
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    The Element is EPA rated at 24 with an auto and 26 with a manual.

    As I mentioned, my minivan has over 200 cuft inside compared with the Elements 75cuft. It also can seat 7. It can also tow 4500lbs and has a V6. It gets 24mpg.

    I really liked the Element, but the fuel mileage is dismal for such a small car with a small motor.

    Az

  24. #24
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Az B
    The Element is EPA rated at 24 with an auto and 26 with a manual.

    As I mentioned, my minivan has over 200 cuft inside compared with the Elements 75cuft. It also can seat 7. It can also tow 4500lbs and has a V6. It gets 24mpg.

    I really liked the Element, but the fuel mileage is dismal for such a small car with a small motor.

    Az
    What kind of minivan do you have?
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  25. #25
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    It's the last vehicle I eliminated when I bought my last car--I would have gone for it, but I got a really good deal on a year-old Mazda. Not exactly what I wanted, but it was $10,000 cheaper and I had two kids in college... I like the Mazda a lot, but every time I have to take the bike apart to wedge it into the back, or mount the Yakima rack to haul it on top (dropping the highway mileage from 34 to about 26) I wince a little.

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