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salish
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PostSun May 20, 2007 8:54 am 
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Any Honda Element owners on the board? I'm thinking of buying a new or used Element (my wife wants a Ford Escape hybrid, so I'll post another message about that another time). The Element is very attractive to me for it's versatility. I have always preferred boxy, practical and utilitarian vehicles, and the Element is all that. One of my biggest complaints in smaller SUVs and station wagons is the lack of space in the cargo area, namely, sleeping space. Even at 5'7" I cannot lay flat on my back and stretch out to sleep in the back of most smaller SUVs and wagons, but the Element supposedly allows plenty of room for that, either by folding seats down/up or removing them entirely.  I'm thinking the Element would make a great weekend warrior vehicle without getting into the serious SUV thing with lower gas mileage and bigger, heavier vehicles.

Any opinions on this rig?

Thanks,
Cliff

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Opus
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PostSun May 20, 2007 10:21 am 
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FlexCar has Honda Elements for use now.  There's usually a green one parked down by the Yoga studio in Fremont.  You could get one for a day and tool around in it, see how you like it without having a dealer hanging over you.
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MCaver
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PostSun May 20, 2007 11:56 am 
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Both the Toyata RAV4 ad Honda CRV have enough space to sleep in the back if you take out the back seats -- just 4 simple bolts. I kept my back seats out all summer last year in my RAV4 and expect to do the same in my CRV this year. Had plenty of room for storage and sleep.
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LizzyBob
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PostSun May 20, 2007 12:42 pm 
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I have friends who have an Element and they love it for its versatility. They haul their bikes, sleep in it, etc.
Personally, I adore my Toyota Tacoma Ex cab 4x. I'm 5'11" and sleep in the back often. It hauls everything I've ever wanted to haul, and at only 4 cylinders it gets OK mileage (about 24 hwy). Granted, it's absolutely gutless, but I've never been too interested in the power thing. And, last but certainly not least, it is a beauty! I still gaze adoringly at it every chance I get. smile.gif
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hopalong
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PostSun May 20, 2007 6:11 pm 
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To clean the element all you have to do is spray the inside  and outside of the whole thing.  I think that alone is a pretty cool bell and or whistle.  I'm not really into SUVs though.
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salish
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PostMon May 21, 2007 6:18 pm 
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate the help. I'm struggling with the prospect of getting a new rig. I drive a big Dodge 2500 3/4 T 4x4 pickup, with 360V8, which gets around 14mpg freeway. It's not just a trail rig I'm thinking about, but also a rig that will handle two medium sized dog crates and gear during hunting season, which stretches into January. My requisites are having enough room to comfortably sleep in the back of the rig, but I want to be able to at least double my mpg over the truck. I really, really like the Toyota pickups in their various incarnations, but if the only improvement in gas mileage would be 6 to 8 mpg, then I'll stick with the truck.  If I move to another, smaller vehicle, I will want to get at the very least mid-20's gas mileage, and the Element comes in right around 24 hwy. Like everyone else, I'm looking for a camping/fishing/hunting rig that gets really good mileage, yet is big enough and rugged enough for the stuff I want to do. I keep thinking that if I wait another year or two they'll come out with a pickup or SUV like that in a hybrid or something that gets 30 mpg. Pipe dreams, maybe. Again, thanks for all the advice.

Cliff

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Quark
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PostMon May 21, 2007 6:23 pm 
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aren't those things pretty low clearance?  My freind Bob has one, and it took forever to baby it up to the 3 Fngrs TH last summer.

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MCaver
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PostMon May 21, 2007 7:30 pm 
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Looks like 6.9" of clearance for the latest model. Slightly better than a passenger vehicle. The Honda CRV has 8.0".
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boot up
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006
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PostMon May 21, 2007 7:52 pm 
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People on this forum HATE Elements.

People that OWN Elements love 'em.

If they are so uncomfortable, how come everyone always wants to carpool to the hikes in my Element? hmmmm? cool.gif
Oh yah, they don't want to get their prissy leather seats and carpeting all dirty.  And they like to have plenty of legroom, headroom, and space for boots and packs and junk they can toss in the car without worrying about itat the end of nasty weather hike.  And they like the stadium seating for the back seats and actually being able to see where we are going on the scenic drive.  Plus no one wants to "trade" driving when their SUV only gets 14 mpg.  Be aware the Element is a BOX you are shoving through the air.  The Automatic with 4WD only gets about 22-24mpg.  The manual transmission, 2WD will get you 28.  Get the RAV4 if you want a tiny bit better gas mileage and only a little less space.

The Element puts the UTILITY back into Sports Utility Vehicle.

NO you can't hose out the interior!  But you can clean it out with a leaf blower in about 10 seconds, and damp mop it if you want to get fanatical.

The "Clearance" thing cracks me up.  How many people actually push the limits of their 8-14mpg high clearance vehicle? Heck I used to pull my low slung plymouth Champ next to all those "tall vehicles" many many years ago, way back on dirt roads.  I think the "Clearance" bravado is just a form of macho posturing (to put it politely) in 99% of the cases.  If I can't get my Element in there with its DECENT clearance, neither can a tow truck....I would just as soon be hiking or mtn biking at that point anyway.  The Element has a nice amount of clearance while being low enough to feel ALMOST like a stable sedan for the 99.9999% of the driving requirements.  And it has a TINY turning radius.... a much more useful feature than massive clearance on our trailhead parking and roads.
The AWD is adequate, simple and reliable too.

And its a CHEAP car. If you want to pay the extra $10k-20k more for the fancy seats and trim, go for it.  But keep in mind its low price for a RELIABLE vehicle when drawing the comparison.  Its a no frills car.  Those that want frilly prissy stuff need not apply. rolleyes.gif

It has a HUGE carrying capacity for volume.  It is NOT designed for carrying your 30 foot boat or oversize trailer.  My philsophy in life is if I can't carry it in the Element, I probably don't need it. With 4 people and all their gear, I have never wanted for power in it and can pretty well gun by anything on the road on the grades....certainly gutsier than all those slow Subarus I am always trying to pass. The V-tec engine CAN really kick it up, when you need it.

Sleeping in the Element is easy for your height.  Some people build up a platform to store stuff under, dump the rear seats (takes a couple minutes to remove or install them, seconds to swing them out of the way.  Lots of options for that/

Its NOT a car for everyone.  Its perfect for me.

Check out the Honda Element Owners Club forum for tons of info and they have entire sections on recreational use and off roading.  You would be suprised with what people can do with it, after putting on a decent set of tires.
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/index.php

But you will certainly not get a good overview from THIS forum, since most feedback is based on vague impressions as an Element zips by them on the roads heading up to the mountains, and most people haven't even looked closely inside them. biggrin.gif
YMMV

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Tom
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PostMon May 21, 2007 8:10 pm 
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How many people actually push the limits of their 8-14mpg high clearance vehicle?

I do.  And I average a hair over 20 mpg in my 4 Runner fine thanks. hockeygrin.gif

One of only a few high alpine lakes outside of wilderness you can drive to (with a 4WD) and car camp
One of only a few high alpine lakes outside of wilderness you can drive to (with a 4WD) and car camp
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ree
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PostMon May 21, 2007 8:14 pm 
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MtnGoat
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PostMon May 21, 2007 8:34 pm 
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boot up wrote:
The "Clearance" thing cracks me up.  How many people actually push the limits of their 8-14mpg high clearance vehicle?

another one here...and my 4runner does about 20 as well.

Quote:
Heck I used to pull my low slung plymouth Champ next to all those "tall vehicles" many many years ago, way back on dirt roads.

If you think you're way way back and youi're pullling up in the Champ, I'm pretty sure we have different definitions of way, way back!

Quote:
I think the "Clearance" bravado is just a form of macho posturing (to put it politely) in 99% of the cases.

Odd,  I don't feel macho. I just have a rig that's as tall as I need it to be. What is it with the presumption of the motives of people you don't even know? For the talk of posturing, I smell something on the wind that sure stinks like it here.

Now, this thread is about the Element, I realize that. But if you see fit to use the opportunity to discuss your Element to slam other peoples choices, I see fit to push back a little.

Back to the Element. Which looks like a decent utility car.  Will I presume who drives it, their attitudes and reasons?

No. Because it's just a car. I can't tell all those things from it..about people I don't even know.

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MCaver
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PostMon May 21, 2007 10:12 pm 
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boot up wrote:
The "Clearance" thing cracks me up.  How many people actually push the limits of their 8-14mpg high clearance vehicle?

Add me to the list that does as well. I took my meager 8" clearance on 4x4 roads in Utah, even bottomed out a few times so I wish I'd had more. And I regularly use it in the mountains here as well. I was simply stating fact according to vehicle specifications, so he can make an informed choice. Call it bravado if you want, but that was not the intent. Glad you like your Element, seems like a decent vehicle.
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treeswarper
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PostTue May 22, 2007 4:53 am 
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An I just bought a little Chevy Froo Froo pickup..the Colorado with vinyl floors and 2 wheel drive.  It got 29 mpg going back and forth to Chehalis and then 27 this weekend hauling a rototiller and camping gear over the pass, made it through Douglas Creek just fine, (we camped and rototilled there and did not get bit by rattlesnakes or ticks) and zoomed on back.  I'm liking it so far.  It swerved and handled nicely when a Subaru pulled out to pass the Drink A Mug Of Milk A Day truck, and almost had a headon with me....almost needed vinyl seats too!   It is cheap and what I want cuz I'll probably trash it.  I too am hoping that in a couple of years there'll be a high gas mileage 4X4 work pickup.  Till then, I'll thrash the Chevy.

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Malachai Constant
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PostTue May 22, 2007 9:31 am 
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I think the thing is with a higher clearance vehicle you do not need to "push the limits" of the vehicle and can easily drive where you would otherwise have to carefully inch your way to prevent damage. My 4runner also gets around 20mph+.

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