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Honda Element=ski car?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I am in the market for a new car (I am starting to wear of the monthly visit to the SAAB dealer) and I am intrigued by the Honda Element. I know the default "value priced" ski car is the Subaru Outback but the all-wheel drive Element - while goofy looking - has a lot more room and seems very practical for skiing. Do any bears have experience with/opinions about the Element?
post #2 of 18
Yes,
I have had 1 since 2005 .It hold 3 mountain bikes with seats folded up to side.I carry 2 large dog,1 is 75 lbs other is 95 lbs.I have put upto 6 prs of ski's ib back.My biggest bitch is gas mileage. My automatic gets 20-26
! reason is i have a cold air intake and a custom cat back exhaust"removed resonator" and tend to be heavy footed while i drive.If i baby it and keep below 65 mph it gets about 26...

Need any more info ...ask away
post #3 of 18
AWD Element is a great ski car for hauling gear, if you don't carry a lot of people and if you don't demand a high-performance ride. We have an Element. It seats 4 max and the back seats aren't that great. Plus you lose much of the carrying space if you have the seats down for people. It is a 4 cyleder engine and although resonably peppy, it will struggle a bit on steep hills and is not a "sporty" ride. This is fine for us as I do not have NASCAR/GrandPrix delusions as some seem to. It is a solid, dependable ride with reasonable handling, but is not meant to haul a large family. For one or two people with gear, it is a very reasonable and economical choice.
post #4 of 18
I like it and I think it fills a need. I prefer a bit more comfort and luxury since I drive 25K/yr. If someone needs a utilitarian ski/outdoorsie-car, it is a great option.
post #5 of 18
I'm not sure which skis you want to put on your Element for winter. But if you do you could probably deliver the mail in it anyway because it looks like a postal vehicle.

Probably something with >90mm waist for handling unplowed untracked access roads
post #6 of 18
It's not real fast or sporty, but with aggressive tires it gets through anything. I just throw the quiver in the back and we're good to go. The tailgate makes a perfect bench for putting on boots, etc. Summertime shots...
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post #7 of 18
This really sick tele skier who visited our house in Killington a couple years ago came in his Hondal Element. Either our house was dirty or he really loved his car because he refused to sleep in the house and instead chose to sleep in his car for the weekend...and it was a cold one.

- Ben
post #8 of 18
Its what I building but mine will be significantly more pimped out than you guys.

Mine is 2004 EX AWD stick flood car that is gettingRSX Type S head on the block it should make around 200hp also goingwith Ground Control and Koni Coilovers to suspend it. To bad it wont be done till next summer. totally cost about 1/2 of new and so much faster/better handling. Got to love having a dad who is a shop owner

I am loosing my sporty GSR but the good news is that motor goes into my Civic Si and the element can tow a shifter kart.

if your complaining about gas mileage dont get a automatic which will just kill gas mileage anywhere, plus stuff like high flow air filter and free flower exhaust will actually make your fuel mileage go up not down.
post #9 of 18
I drive a 2003 CR-V and was given an Element as a loaner over a long weekend this past summer when my CR-V was in the shop. We drove it up to our cabin in the mountains and put roughly 200 miles on it. Here are my thoughts. Right off I noticed that visibility is no where as good as in the CR-V. The boxy dimensions, short windows and beefier columns impair your ability to see out. The seats aren't as comfortable either, particularly in back. I find the CR-V very comfortable, front or back for all day car rides. Not the case with the Element. Door configuration--needing to open the front doors first to get access to the back is a pain. Granted you can get some large items in there as a result but I tend to hall people way more often than stuff, so for me it isn't worth it.

The engine as the same as in CR-V. Vehicles are about the same weight and size so the performance is very similar. Some may find the 2.4 litre engine to be a bit underpowered but it works for me, especially given the price of gas these days. I did feel like the ride was a bit rougher than the CR-V.

Bottom line is that I was curious about the Element but after spending a weekend driving one, I would never swap my CR-V for one.
post #10 of 18
I have the 2004, stripped down, Plane Jane version. It's great to take on a ski weekend. I pull the back seats out, toss in the ski gear, a foam mattress, sleeping bag and I'm ready to make tracks. The Element's ride is definitely on the "stiff" side, but is the most utilitarian vehicle out there ... I highly recommend it.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback everybody. Your descriptions fit with my impressions: practical, slightly underpowered, roomy for gear, decent not great seats, etc.

I am partial to a stick vs. an automatic but the EPA estimates call for better mileage with auto (19/24) than the manual (18/23) so I am leaning towards the auto.

I am cool with the limited performance as have no illusions this is going to be a sports car. As long it is safe and makes it up the hill reliably I am good.

I appreciate the insights.
post #12 of 18
I would call it a great ski vehicle for two or three skiers. With four you need a box/rack. Subaru Impreza Outback Sport gets the similar people/gear situation on better gas mileage. Less overall cargo space in the impreza, but still plenty for the job at hand. The space to sleep in the element seems like it might be cool with all the seats down, and the total easy of cleaning/imperviousness to water is also very cool in the element.

I'm not getting rid of my Audi A4 any time soon. Better gas mileage than either of the above, and I really love to drive it during the SUMMER as well as when I'm going skiing. Of course the lack of a roof rack does mean I'm limited to 3 people. No option for box + 4 people. Could legally do 4 with the split fold and one person in the middle in back, but it would be miserable for them and would be very limited on space for overnight bags.

-Adam
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajhjr View Post
Thanks for the feedback everybody. Your descriptions fit with my impressions: practical, slightly underpowered, roomy for gear, decent not great seats, etc.

I am partial to a stick vs. an automatic but the EPA estimates call for better mileage with auto (19/24) than the manual (18/23) so I am leaning towards the auto.

I am cool with the limited performance as have no illusions this is going to be a sports car. As long it is safe and makes it up the hill reliably I am good.

I appreciate the insights.
except that if you drive with heavier foot the auto sucks more fuel than epa. and you will pay more in maintence than the stick. A honda automatic is the last thing I would want to buy. The trans only last about 100-120k miles with the autos compared to 200k plus for the manuals.
post #14 of 18
whatever- the stick is just more fun- it's the only thing I'd do different. 200 hp sounds nice too...

The problem I had with the Subarus- both the Imprezza and the Outbacks, is the back seats wouldn't fold flat without pushing the front seats too far forward (maybe not for small people) and with them down you were piling gear and dogs onto the carpeted backs of the seats-- soon the springs start to show and the whole thing gets ratty. Can't put a stand up bike back there either. I find the Element to have tons of legroom in the back, by the way- it's like a checker cab, if you 've ever been in one. The Subarus are certainly more of a drivers car... Or just get a WRX and a sportbox and fugedaboudit. I may give Bushwhackers dad a call...
post #15 of 18
The Subarus all had a small back seat (what?! I said) which ruled them out for me - drawback to being 6-2, although I wouldn't have been in there very much we have a tall family too so ....
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post
It's not real fast or sporty, but with aggressive tires it gets through anything. I just throw the quiver in the back and we're good to go. The tailgate makes a perfect bench for putting on boots, etc. Summertime shots...
What kind of tires do you have? I want to put something just a bit more "grumpy" on my Vibe since it's a tad skittish when the elements come at me...
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for feedback on the manual vs. automatic. I test drove an Element with a stick and it seemed to suit me well. I am going to look at the Outback for comparison's sake but the points about the small back seat/fold down issue are well taken.
post #18 of 18
I have Goodrich All Terrain T/A, which you usually see on Jeep Wranglers.
They work great in snow but cut into the milage. It's also noisey, but the Element's for winter/blizzard work, mostly. I find I'm using more and more for everyday, now. The Goodyear Wrangler is a newer tire, I have it on my Suburban, and it gets just as good traction without the noise and the milage cut- or so it's advertised, and practice seems to bear this out.
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