Any Honda Element Owners?

Went to the dentist today and stopped at a dealer just to look at that quirky little thing out of curiosity. The more I looked, the more I liked! Ended up mesmerized by the thing and took over an hour test drive that included gravel roads and off-road driving (gotta be able to drive gravel roads and no roads where I live). The wife and I couldn’t find a single thing we even remotely disliked. Checked on-line and my Thule Tracker II that I have should fit it also. So anyone out there own one? What do like and dislike about it. How many MPG do you get in real life? And how well does it work hauling your boats and what rack system do you have? Thanks! WW

don’t own one - but
it is a cool car - at first I was skeptical - but then I really looked at it - really like it! But I am not in the market for a car - gonna run my VW golf TDI as long as I can

"Honda element owners club"
Look for it on the web. Every question you can think of (plus a few more) are answered there.

A friend of mine bought one and loves it. She can get 8 ft planks inside with the sets folded down. Hers is all wheel drive, anti lock brakes, stick shift. It looks like it would not have a problem with yaks on top. Only has a 1500 lb tow load though

I own an element
Hey, I always considered myself a macho guy and hated the element when I first saw it, but my wife loved it so I bought it. But now, I’ve pretty much seized it as my primary kayaking vehicle. Here are the good points about it for a kayaker

Decent off road==I’ve done lots of dirt/gravel roads in the Alaska mountains up here. It holds up as well as any SUV aside from the ones specifically designed as off roaders.

Big Flat Roof—the roof is so big and wide you could actually hold three kayaks side by side if you wanted to (I’ve only done two so far)

Rubber interior—I wouldn’t hose it out like they advertise, but you can throw all the wet drysuits, sprayskirts, paddles, and muddy boots you want and not damage the car

Cheap price and gas mileage—I average about 23-24 MPG, not bad for an SUV with as much space in it as this. I got the model as loaded as it offered and it was only $21,900.00

Overall I love the element, even though it is ugly as sh_t. Unless you have kids (the backward rear doors are a pain if you’re always carting people in the back seat)

Hope this helps


Surfboard rated roof
Before you buy, check the specs on the maximum roof load.

Apparently doing away with the center door posts to enhance interior access also severely limits the amount of weight that can be carried overhead.

I don’t recall the exact stat, but it can barely carry one canoe, and don’t even think of two (Honda says 66 lbs., Thule says 100 lb.s if properly loaded …)

Almost bought one until I learned of this …


– Last Updated: Oct-05-05 10:48 PM EST –

It is not the lack of center posts that limit the rack cargo capacity, it is the honda rack,, if you put on a Yakima or Thule instead you get a much higher rating,, although several people from the Element Owners Forums say they have put much more than recommended with no problems..

I guess I should be more specific, the Honda rack is only rated at about 50lbs,, the Yakima with or without the Honda rack is rated for 125lbs

My wife has an 03 4x4 EX and we love it.. 26mpg overall with the 5 speed manual,, I'm sure a little less with an automatic.

Like you, I was amused, then curious, then mesmerized by the Element. But, my local Subaru salesman was a LOT more interested in selling a Forester than the Honda jerk was in selling an Element. The Subaru gets better mileage and can comfortably carry two people in the back seat. I can put two bicycles upright in the back (front wheels off) and I believe the weight rating for the roof is the same as the Element.

I still look at the Element with some longing, but I drive by the Honda dealer with the satisfaction of having not given them my business!

Happy in my Element
I’ve been a happy Element owner for the past 15 months. Before puchasing, I was considering a compact pickup with extended cab. The Element works much better: shuffling my daughters complete with car seats around, camping and ski trips, and it easily hauls a healthy amount of kayaking gear. In the summer I tow a trailer and use it for my outfitting business, providing kayak tours up and down the Maine coast. I’ve got Thule racks with Malone J-cradles on it. Would probably go with saddles if I were to do it again – for ease of loading at that height. I have the '04 base model, standard, and seem to get 27 mpg, both highway and around town.

You just saw my new pickup
at the rendevous, but I looked at lots of vehicles for 5 or 6 months. At the top of the list was the AWD manual tranny Element. It looked (and stills does) like the perfect canoe, camping gear and grocery hauler. My wife and kids threatened divorce if I got one of them ugly things! In the end I bought the Ranger because it was $10,000 less with all the discounts and gets around 30mpg. I concur with the suggestion to check out the Element owners site. Lots of info.

My element
Is my home away from home.

It matches me perfectly…ugly and cheap, but very handy!

Thanks a Bunch, All
Doug, we BOTH got a big laugh because Margaret said it looked like a little schoolbus and living in the country she hated the schoolbus 'cause she spent too much time on one! She didn’t even want to look at it, but we both fell in love with it. And I haven’t felt so comfortable and roomy in a vehicle in a long time. During our test drive it also drove well off-road, and that’s a must out here where we live. Looks like a $44 dollar set of four different “Feet” and it will work with my Thule rack. I’m gonna stop by and discuss things with the dealer right after my Dr.'s appointment today. The salesman was a really great guy, no pressure, no B.S., could really teach the “Average” car salesman a thing or two. THanks again for the help! WW

Have owned one for almost 2 years
mainly my wife’s vehicle. We love it. I don’t haul my yaks on it, the roof is a bit high, IMO would be a bit of a pain to load. Biggest gripe for me are the LOUSY tires it comes with (Goodyear Wrangler HP), the only good thing that I can say about them is that after 22K miles they are worn enough where I don’t feel too guilty about replacing them soon.

the element
caught my eye but I was a little disapointed after going into a couple of element forums and finding out that it only gets about 21mpg. With that engine size and hp rating I was expecting a little better gas mileage.

Crash Test Ratings?
DO you know how many stars it gets in government front rear and side impact tests and roll over tests?

I call it an FUV
F%$%ing Ugly Vehicle. Along with that really boxy Mercedes thing.

Element mileage
Element mileage varies, of course, depending on choices: manual/auto; 2wd / 4wd; engine size. I have the manual transmission 2wd and get about 27 mpg. And the mileage is better going down to the put in than coming back out!

Drive one
it has a way of winning you over.

Five star front
Less in the side without side airbags, good side with airbags. (Some tests only give non-side airbag ratings unless side air-bags come standard.)

The horsepower to weight ratios of several vehicles are:

Element: 0.046

Suby OB: 0.050

Honda CRV: 0.047

Toy Highlander V-6: 0.058

Ford Freestyle V-6: 0.049

GMC Yukon V-8: 0.057

Hummer H-@ V-8: 0.057

All info came from

I assume that the power/weight ratio becomes significant when you are pushing a boxy vehicle like the Element through the air. A friend who is commuting with his (city) is getting 18-20.


I’m soooo not a car guy
If it is reliable, gets good gas mileage, and is safe, I probably would like it just fine.