Last post on Jul 06, 2012 at 5:27 PM
You are in the Honda Element
What is this discussion about?
Honda Element, Hatchback, SUV
Dec 16, 2003 (7:54 am)
I bought a 2003, AWD, EX with side air bags. I went in with a check from my credit union for the amount they quoted out the door: $20,514.56. The whole process took about 45 min. They handed me over to the finance guy; no real problems, but I did cause alittle touble b/c I wanted him to put zeros in the odometer readings, not leave them blank (when I went in a few days ago, I wouldn't sign the form to test drive the car, instead insisting that someone test drove with me; I also wouldn't put a deposit because the form they wanted me to sign was the DMV bill of sale form). He tried to sell me some extras, like lo jack or warranties, but I said no. I paid nothing higher, and my check was made out for that particular element's vin only.
Anyhow, I'm planning on installing the keyless entry, approx $107 shipped and it takes only 5 mins. My salesman did pitch that acceessory again to me before I left, but I just smiled and said no ($300, no thank you, even if they would come to my house to install it). Other than that, it took 45 min b/c I and my brother and a friend read through everything before signing; I didn't want to inadvertenly sign something to waive my rights if anything went wrong. I also took the yellow copies off myself and put them in the folder I brought along.
If I was a better negotiator, I could have probably had them toss in the keyless with the $18750 price, since it costs them less than $100 and other honda dealers will "beat any prie by $100". I could also have pressed the $45 documentation fee. I nenver did pay a destination fee of $460. Hope this helps everyone.
Dec 16, 2003 (8:04 am)
Congrats. What color?
#2898 of 4724 Am I in the right place?
Dec 16, 2003 (9:33 am)
Is this the site where I go to find out whether people can give advice on making a decision between a Forester X (manual) and an Element AWD EX (manual). I'm interested in driving impressions, quality, and overall value, especially since the 2003 Elements seem to be about $3,000 cheaper. Is the 2004 Forester worth it?
If this is not the right site, perhaps someone can re-direct me.
#2899 of 4724 Element vs. Forester
Dec 16, 2003 (11:16 am)
The actual cost differnce is smaller than that. Elementboy just paid $18,750 for his EX auto with side air bags.
Fitzmall.com has a Forester X auto right now for $19,464, and that comes with side air bags standard, plus they offer head protection (check IIHS' site - best SUV ever tested). ABS, AWD, A/C, and a CD are standard. If safety matters, also consider it's an IIHS Best Pick in front offset tests, and NHTSA gave it quadruple 5 stars. No competitor matches that perfect record.
Price is close, so you should buy the one you prefer.
Element gives up the 5th seat, has a donut spare, and less payload and towing. Forester X gives up the alloy rims (still 16", plus a full size spare) and that rear roof opening.
Both have cladding on the lower portions, the stuff on the Forester is like teflon - virtually bullet-proof. Some Element owners complain of easy scratching but I didn't notice that.
Acceleration is similar, but Forester IMO handles better, it should since it's lower to the ground. Element offers a higher vantage point and far more adventurous styling.
Forester's AWD is full-time, so both axles always get some power, while Honda's is on-demand and for slippery surfaces only. Honda's acts like FWD on dry surfaces.
Forester will probably get slightly better gas mileage, but in the big picture both are efficient in this class.
Quality on both is exemplary, near the top of CR reliability charts, too. Honda's warranty is 3/36, Subaru does better here stretching that to 5/60 for the powertrain and offering free roadside assistance for the first 3 years.
If you're starting to feel that I like both, then you'd be right. Bottom line? See if the Element fits your needs first. The 4 seats and front seat belt anchored to the rear door sort of limit its usefulness as a family car (CR-V is better there), but its spunky and would be fun to own as long as it meets your needs.
Good luck shopping.
#2900 of 4724 juice - shoreline mist
Dec 16, 2003 (12:00 pm)
I got the shoreline mist....I prefer to call it "Titanium" =).
#2901 of 4724 to ateixeira from wzeiser
Dec 16, 2003 (12:23 pm)
Wow! You responded on both my requests. Thanks. I've already reacted on the Subaru forum site, and it is clear that the Connecticut Subaru dealer is not cutting me a break, at least on the initial quotes (the Honda dealer went right to the bottom line), so I guess I'm in for some haggling.
I do like the Subaru warranty, and I wonder if the resale will hold up more versus the "trendier" Element.
One thing you might help me on: I can't seem to understand the benefit of the Forester XS AWD over the X AWD. The salesman explained it, but it didn't make much sense (he kept saying that the manual was different from the automatic, too, in both trims, at which point I got lost). I am only interested in a manual; is there a difference between X and XS? Is it worth 2 grand?
Dec 16, 2003 (12:52 pm)
Good low-maintenance color. Nice pick.
Forester resale is good. My '98 is still worth about $8-10 grand, or about half of what I paid nearly 6 years ago. 50% resale after that much time is excellent, IMO, some domestics lose 50% of their value in 2 years!
Element should also have good resale. CR-V does.
Element is FWD, when the front axle slips the rears kick in, so think of it as part-time automatic 4WD. Both front and rear differential are open (unmanaged).
Forester X auto has full-time AWD. Default power split is 80/20, so it too feels like FWD, but it's different in that it can be pro-active (i.e. send power to the rear when going up that muddy hill before you slip).
The Forester XS adds a rear limited-slip differential. That allows it to shift power side-to-side on the rear axle. Element does not offer that even as an option.
IMO both of these vehicles deserve a good traction control system, which effectively would manage both axles. Let me go a step further and ask for stability control.
For now, either is adequate, with the slight edge going to the Forester for being proactive and for offering a rear LSD. Both will make it up your dirt road easily.
5 speed Subies have a center viscous coupling and a default 50/50 torque split, but let's not get into that because that'll just overwhelm you at this point.
Dec 16, 2003 (8:13 pm)
Need help from the community. I would like to buy an Element for my disabled father because of the 55" wide passenger door. However, he cannot access the front seat unless we can move it back 10". The floor pan looks like it slopes from the back to the front and the seats looks installed on some sort of reinforceing lateral member. Does anyone know someone I can talk to about the way the front passenger seat is installed and can be moved safely.
Dec 17, 2003 (7:46 am)
I doubt a dealership will help much, for liability reasons. Doesn't hurt to ask, though.
Honda engineers the air bags and seat belts for a certain range of seat positions. 10 inches is enough that whatever safety features they built in will be compromised.
I've seen lots of mini- and large vans equipped with ramps and stuff like that, but never an Element.
Do you know of any organizations that help out in that regard? Here is a group that we donate to each year, they send us mailing labels and stuff like that: