Last post on Jul 06, 2012 at 6:27 PM
You are in the Honda Element
What is this discussion about?
Honda Element, Hatchback, SUV
#3421 of 4724 Re: Element as car for family with infants - crazy? [nowakj66]
Aug 09, 2004 (9:05 am)
"Is an Element a crazy car for a family?"
I have seen several young families in Elements. The height, interior room, and low-maintenance interior make this an attractive option for couples with young kids.
"I have never driven with an infant for any length of time in my Accord, so to be fair, I am not sure if an automatic might be better than a stick for a new father too from a distraction standpoint"
I have had a 2004 Accord EX-L automatic and now a 2004 Accord EX-L manual transmission. I also have a 4 month old son. We bought the automatic Accord (even though we both LOVE manuals) because I was pregnant and we thought it made sense. Come to find out, it doesn't really make that much of a difference because it's hard to reach them in the backseat anyways and if you need to check on them it's better to pull over anyways than to be distracted from the road. Once we realized this we sold our 04 automatic and bought a 04 manual. Love it. We had a 2003 EX-L coupe manual before the 04 EX-L automatic and both of the manuals have way more personality than our automatic did.
The Accord has an OK amount of room for an infant. However, the stroller does take up a significant portion of the trunk. Since your wife has an Outback wagon you could use it for trips to the store when you plan to buy lots of stuff. And the Accord should be more than adequate if you are taking a short trip and don't need that much luggage.
"The Element has a lot going for it. It has a lot of room for not a lot of money. It has an automatic tranny. Same motor and rough mileage as Accord. Burns regular gets decent mileage. It sits up high. It weights aprox. 3500 pounds instead of 4500 pounds for a minivan - ie better handling and mileage."
The gas mileage actually tops out at 26 MPG, maybe even 24 MPG since you will be buying an automatic. The Honda Odyssey gets 18/25. Even though the Element is lighter than the Odyssey, an Odyssey with the 240HP V6 is significantly quicker than the Element and would probably be an easier adjustment coming from a 5-speed Accord.
"I resist some others more mainstream options like the Odyssey or Toyota Sienna minivan, or Honda Pilot. I just don't see myself driving something that big -- but maybe with kids you need to make concessions. I don't want to get the Element and then be trading it in for a minivan that I should have gotten in the first place."
At first we thought that a mini-van was too large. After we had the baby and put the stroller, diaper bag, and car seat in we quickly realized a mini-van was not such a bad idea. So we leased the 04 Ody using Honda's attractive lease program of 24/12,000 for $330 p/ month inc. taxes with no money down. This allowed us to keep our Accord and Civic Si while giving us a baby hauler through the period where he requires the most stuff. If you can spare the extra $$$ this may be a viable option. You get to keep your current cars without losing the depreciation (which in most cases will only be a few thousand less than the total of payments for 2 years on the Ody) and you have a back-up vehicle in case one of your primary vehicles is out of commission due to repairs or an accident. It gives you a couple of years to see if you really need a minivan at a minimal expense compared to buying a new SUV or van. If you are looking at a well-equipped Pilot or Sienna the price difference between those and your Accord would probably cover the cost of the Odyssey.
The V6 Accord would be nice, but again I think you will find the mini-van will be much more convenient during the first few years when you have to haul around everything but the kitchen sink for the baby. Also, with the van if you travel with friends or family there is no need to take 2 vehicles or move the car seat from car to car. And the price I listed above is for a EX with factory DVD so you will have most of the goodies from your Accord + the DVD which could be a life-saver on family trips.
#3423 of 4724 Re: Element as car for family with infants - crazy? [anonymousposts]
Aug 09, 2004 (12:36 pm)
Thanks for the thoughts juice and anonymousposts. Some good wisdom here.
Perhaps a minivan is the most pragmatic solution.
If I just wanted the ride height and did not need to change to an automatic tranny, I am sure an Element with a manual would be fun. Or a Forester XT for that matter!
For those with experience with young families and the Element, how "kid proof" has the interior proved to be?
#3424 of 4724 Re: Element as car for family with infants - crazy? [nowakj66]
Aug 09, 2004 (2:06 pm)
Many families are annoyed by having to unbuckle their seatbelts and open their front door to allow their kids out of the back seat of the Honda Element.
#3425 of 4724 Re: Element as car for family with infants - crazy? [307web]
Aug 10, 2004 (5:00 am)
To me the Element is a two door vehicle. I don't think anyone thinks the Saturn Coupe with its extra doors is a four door vehicle. Why the Element? I'd keep this in mind if you are going to be putting kids in and out of the backseat. The CR-V isn't as utilitarian but still will meet most needs. It's interior isn't as fancy as the Accord w/ leather so you may not have to worry as much.
#3426 of 4724 Re: Element as car for family with infants - crazy? [drive62]
Aug 10, 2004 (7:55 am)
I've heard people go both ways on the Element as a 2 door. Some parents I talk to like the control of when their kids go in and out of the back seat. Others find it tedious to have to get out and open the door for backseat passengers to get out.
As for the CR-V - I also really like that vehicle. The problem for me is I am tall and long legged (6' 4" and 36" inseam). I fit very well in my Honda Accord and the Element. The CR-V is strangely a little tight in the front seat for me.
I don't think the CR-V or Element have telescoping steering wheels so that limits what you can do to get the wheel out of the way of your legs. For some reason the Element seems better. Maybe because the seat is higher off the floor?
I think the EPA measurements may indicate the CR-V has more front seat room. But for whatever reason with my tall body, the Element seems to have more.
Aug 10, 2004 (8:32 am)
I own a 2003 EX Element with the 270w stereo and I'd like to upgrade the subsystem. I'm thinking about using the stock deck (since my other deck will not fit) and running a 600w amp to a 500w single 12. Has anyone done something like this? If so, how does it sound? I've tried calling the Honda headquarters to find out what the frequency cutoffs and power distributions were but noone knew.
I also wanted to thank everyone who participates in these discussions. This is the first place I came before buying my Element a year ago and I found everyone's advice very helpful. I love my Element and am convinced that it is the best car available. Period.
Aug 10, 2004 (9:46 am)
I also found the CR-V lacks front leg room. I could not really stretch out my legs like I wanted to. And I'm only 6'.
Oddly the rear seat has almost too much rear legroom. They could move the front seats about 6" farther back and it would still be comfortable for rear seat passengers.
I've sat in an Element but haven't driven one or spent enough time in one to tell if it has the same issue.
Aug 10, 2004 (9:57 am)
I'm 6'4" (34" inseam) and I haven't had any problems with the legroom in the Element. I also sat in the CR-V while shopping around and found it pretty cramped.
Aug 10, 2004 (10:03 am)
Must be roomier, then, if two tall people noticed that.