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Bought my 2005 Element in 2007 with 11k mi on it. As of 6/2019 I have 183k miles in it and hope to drive it to 300K, or find another Element because I love it so much! Potential negatives first: not as quiet, soft-riding or luxurious as other passenger-oriented/"people-mover" SUV's like the Honda CRV. Has a noticeable amount of wind noise compared to more car-oriented SUV's. The boxy shape doesn't lend itself to good mpg; usually 20-22mpg for me with a 26mi commute at 75mph+ and offensive driving style. If you frequently travel with 3-4 people you may dislike the reverse-hinge style rear doors for letting rear passengers in and out, especially in tight spaces.
Positives: perhaps one of the most versatile and reliable cars ever made. For powertrain, the 2.4l engine uses a long-lasting metal timing chain vs a rubber timing belt, which if not replaced at regular intervals can cause costly and catastrophic engine damage, and definitely something to research if buying a used car with 90k miles or more. In its life I've only had to replace the CV joints at 131k, and the starter at 165k. Everything else has been normal. Oil, tire and brake maintenance.
I find this to be the ultimate utilitarian vehicle for anyone who loves to camp, haul oversized items or carry pets in an easy-maintenance interior. It's short enough to parallel-park in any tight spot in the city, big enough to squeeze a motorcycle inside(!). No joke, I've bought and individually transported home 3 different motorcycles in this thing. The longest being an old BMW R100 road bike, and the tallest being a Suzuki DR650 dual-sport dirt bike lowered down with ratchet straps. For cyclists you can fit two bikes upright with both wheels installed and still have room for 1 rear passenger if needed, or cram 6 bikes in there with both seats removed and still have all of your valuables protected from weather and prying eyes. The space can also hold any array of furniture.
The interior layout is great for endless passenger and cargo opportunities. For passengers, the car has great head and leg-room for 6"+ passengers front & rear. The 2 rear seats can be folded up flat against the interior walls, or individually taken out if there's need to carry 3 people and oversized cargo. With both seats out I have camped inside the car, with just enough room for a 6' & 5'6" couple and a 75lb dog to lay down on the rear floor on a camping trip. You can also lay both the front and rear seats down flat to have an oddly comfortable bed.
The rear has both a hatch and a tailgate, so you can have just the hatch open to haul long items like lumber if needed. Also has a great-sounding stereo. If you want a car that is easy-driving, stone reliable, but also handle any kind of road-trip or cargo needs it's hard to think of another alternative. All that versatility gives you a ride quality that is half Honda Accord and half delivery van, but I've found it to be irreplaceable.
I love my car. Hondas run so well and for a long time! I got it used at a little under 150000 miles and I'm not to 200000 and it's still chugging along great! It does have some random stuff break but it is an 11 year old car so I don't get upset about it. Also great because I have a dog and the interior is indestructible. Also, like the color and I love that the back seats are stadium meaning they're raised up so people sitting in the back won't get car sick. However, it needs better gas mileage or have a bigger tank and the rest of the car to continue on as well as the engine does, the window roller thing broke, the mirror cases on the side rear view mirrors broke, and I've had to get the seats reupholstered, etc.
I love this little car! I sought Honda quality, and really liked this body style. Beautiful it is not - I call it my box on wheels - but I can carry a LOT of stuff. The seats can be moved to make lots of cargo space. I wish it got better gas mileage though, it's difficult to get in and out of the back seat also (which isn't very comfortable, but we rarely have back seat passengers), and there's a bad blind spot between windshield and side windows. But I hope they still made the Element - it's a great vehicle. I wanted Honda quality and dependability and have them. It's fun to drive, easy to park, and practical.
I have only good things to say about the Honda Element. I love the aerodynamics of it. I love the positioning of the seats and the color choices. I have a bad back so the position of the seats, the height and how their situation is very conducive for me. It's easy to get in and out without any stress on my back. It handles very well on the road, give me just enough room without being a soccer mom looking type vehicle. But I would like the whole car to merle no plastic parts and for the rear seats I would like it to be easier to clip the seats up to open up the full extent of the back. But I just can't wait to purchase another one.
My experience was exactly what I expected. Serves me well and does its job excellently. Well made, reliable and only lacks luxury features. Too bad Honda stop making it.
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Bought the first one they made! Love this car. The only problem I’ve had with it is that it got stuck in park. I watched YouTube to fix it, but it was scary for a while. Thank god it seems like it got over it. Yes, many dash lights burned out. YouTube again. Replaced them all myself, dealer wanted a million dollars to do it. The ripped driver seat (that also rocks) kinda sucks. I put a cover on it, but still. Can’t fix the slight rocking motion, part of the seat broke. I need another one. My son grew up and I gave him mine. Been looking at pick ups, every one of them has bad reviews and stupid problems. Dang.
I love my 2004 Honda Element! It has a lot of room without being too big, and it is great in the winter. I feel like I can get through anything! I am very disappointed that Honda stopped making it. I planned on buying another when mine died. I have roughly 142,000 miles, and plan on keeping it as long as possible!
I owned a 2005 Honda Element and will never own a Honda again. It was actually my second element - the first one was totalled by someone who did not know how to drive. I'll just get down to the point. The car randomly caught fire as it was parked. The interior was completely torched. After contacting Honda I filed a case and sent them pictures, videos, etc. They got back to me and said it was not their fault, even though the fire inspector said it was electrical with no hot spots/signs of vandalism present. The car had approx. 114000 miles on it for an 11 year old vehicle, which they told me was high mileage (industry standard is 12000 miles/year, the car was BELOW standards).
I have read around online and found other element owners have experienced similar situations, namely coming out to their car in the morning and finding that the door panel's electrical controls for the window magically ignited overnight and put itself out (perhaps due to lack of oxygen?). Unfortunately for me, I leave my rear windows and moonroof cracked to combat the summer heat so oxygen was plentiful!
The kicker to this was that the guy at the tow yard told me that my element was the second one they had towed in the past month where the entire interior was completely engulfed in flames (the other element was a 2003). I also found that Honda has a class action against them in 2007 for "suppressing evidence of vehicle fires and electrical risks" for 2003-2005 honda elements and CRVs. People turn these into campers, sleep in them... what would happen if this occurred to a family sleeping overnight??? If this had happened overnight it would have caught my house on fire. I have pictures, videos, etc for evidence. The scene at the beginning of the movie Fight Club was so correct. DO NOT BUY HONDA. THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR SAFETY.
I loved my Honda Element! I had a Honda Element 2004 before I sadly rolled it three times this last winter during freezing Rain here in Minnesota. But don't think for a minute that what I'm saying is it bad for winter driving. No the element drives great in the winter. I only rolled due to the fact that I couldn't afford new tires at the time and mine on the element were bald as hell. Although it was totaled and after being upside down in the ditch for an hour. This bad boy still fired right up.
I recently purchased a Honda Element 2003 about a week ago with a bad piston because somebody before me decided they didn't need to ever change the oil and then wondered why it broke??? I bought it off of him for $500 and just finished pull the engine out of my 2004 element to switch over to my new one. I was in shock when I started the engine up on the totaled element 6-7 months after the accident and it ran beautifully aside from the smoke due to it burning the oil that ran to the top of the engine.
The smoke cleared and the engine runs great. Even drove it onto a trailer and into the garage at my new place. I cannot say how impressed I am with how much these engine can handle. The only thing I had to replace was the starter and o well the element was at 150,000 miles. Things are gonna need to get fixed eventually. I would recommend a Element to anyone. Good job Honda! O did I mention that there is awesome leg room in this bad boy and you can lay down the seats into a queen size bed?
I own a 2005 Honda Element EX with 187,000 miles on it and it will not die. It's the most practical vehicle I've ever owned for a variety of reasons. I have tested the MPG on various occasions and I am getting 25 MPG combined city/highway. I don't know why I am getting on the high end of the scale, but maybe it's because I have a feather foot. Nevertheless, for a 4WD SUV it's not bad with the exception of the gutless engine. I wish it had a bit more power. With the plastic floors and rubber mats I am now a firm believer that cars should never have carpet. It's the easiest vehicle to clean. You can literally wipe your floors spotless. No stains. The fabric for the seats could have been more durable. I think everyone has had the same problem on the drivers side seat where it is torn from getting in and out of the vehicle.
I love the range of view I have while I am driving. The boxy shape makes the windows nice and flat to see out of, although it does create a bit of wind noise because it lacks in aerodynamics. Also, the more upright windshield is susceptible to rock chip damage. I'm one of the lucky ones who has never had to replace a windshield. All of the seats go down flat and you can make a decent bed on long road trips if necessary. The rear seats fold up against the walls of the element making enough room to put three bikes upright in the back of the element, four if you remove the seats out of the car completely, which is quite easy. It's just a latch and carry them out.
The cargo room in the back of the element rivals a small truck. It's really brilliant. The doors on the element are both a pro and con. They are great from loading cargo, but they are horrible for loading passengers. It's quite the dance between rear seat and front seat passengers when entering and exiting the vehicle in parking lots. Also, the windows do not roll down in the rear. They are the old style latches that pop out that you'll find on minivans. I think that's why they added the moon roof in the back. It helps passengers feel like they are in a nice open space. Also, the legroom in the back is incredibly generous. You really can stretch out your legs back there.
The rear hatch to the element is really nice because it has a tailgate, just like a truck. You can use it to sit on or cook on if you are tailgating or camping. The built in roof rack bolts were a great idea, but they should have been made out of better material. The front brackets to mine were busted off from the previous owner, so my brother and I welded on our own custom brackets, which are much better than the original. I built my own custom roof rack to bolt on. It's nice because you have the ability to customize a roof rack to fit your needs. I installed a tow package and even did the wiring in about 30 minutes.
I've made one repair on my Element since I've owned it. I replaced the rear right upper control arm myself for $12. I do all the maintenance myself, including changing the oil in the rear differential every 20-30,000 miles. It's a very easy car to work on. I probably should have changed the shocks back at 120,000 miles, but at this point I'm just going to drive the car until it dies... if it ever does. Also, check out my parallel parking picture below. This thing has a turning radius that is unbelievable. I promise you I got it into that spot without touching any of the cars.
Honda Element Company Information
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- Honda Element