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Hi. I will be looking for something to drive after the first of the year. My Wife has a 2011 CRV. All I have right now is a 1937 Ford Tudor Sedan, and I am not going to take it out in the Winter. I would like a pickup, but what I would really like would be a Regular Cab. Short Box. 4x4. I thought about a Ridgeline, but I am not a fan of 4-doors. Then there is the Element. That one I could gut the back out of it, and put a Lexan wall up behind the seats. Though I am not sure as to how they are. I heard from a owner that they are not that good in the Winter. I need something that I can carry 4x8 sheets of plywood, and 2x4's in. Anybody know anything about the Element?? Thanks
 

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You can fold the rear seat to th esides on the Element providing room for the plywood. Good vehicle, I had a 2008 and never had issues.

Best thing is to go to cars.com and find one near your area, drive it and see how it feels. If you like it.
 

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Element performance in the winter isnt the vehicles fault. It is nothing more than a CRV with an ugly ass body and sits lower to the ground.

Issues are:

if you buy a front wheel drive version, ya it's going to suck because of its size and weight. Get 4wd (they are not all wheel drive, dont come all wheel drive, they are automatic engaged 4wd) version.

Dont put **** tires on it. I have cooper discover a/t3s on my CRV and the old ones that where worn down pretty bad I spun a lot (pretty oversized tire size too, came off jeep wrangler) when getting going but COULD NOT GET STUCK even in 14" of snow. And I tried lol. Now I have a bit narrow size of the new a/t3 4s silicone blended tread and FFS this thing is unstoppable. Even on cooper CS5 touring tires is was great in comparison.

Element you will have the issue of lower ground clearance vs a CRV but beyond that, they are the EXACT SAME VEHICLE. If your wifes does good, use the same or better tires (and 4wd version not FWD) and show your friend what he was missing out on.

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'07 CR-V EX-L AWD
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I almost bought an Element instead of a CR-V. The only reason I didn't was the deal. It was a 2011 AWD, a nice one. The CR-V I got is an EX-L, which has leather seats (not available on the Element), but otherwise is pretty much identical. IMO the Ridgelines are nice but way overpriced for what they are. A full size pickup would be a better deal, and probably less money. I love my F250 but it gets 10mpg, and now that I am retired and my woodshop is built, I don't really need it any more. The element will hold full sheets of plywood, and a CR-V won't (I think). But my CR-V has a hitch, so I can use a trailer when I need it. Or get the plywood pre-cut before loading, or …


The CR-V also has a nicer interior and is nicer looking, a little. Either the CR-V or the Element will get way better fuel mileage than a Ridgeline, too. I'd love to have an Element with a 5-speed manual. I drove one, but it had too many miles on it. After 6 months of searching I gave up and got a CR-V. I wanted an '06 with a 5-speed, but couldn't find one of those in good shape either. Oh, well. I'm happy with what I got. I go for low mileage and best condition first, and everything else second. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
 

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Had a 2003 Element, AWD and loved it. Had the rear seats up most of the time, then just plain OUT (easy to do). Eventually I just outgrew it and in '07 I traded my 54,000 mile Element for a new '07 Ridgeline.

I think I can help answer your question...

The Element has a simple AWD system -- when the fronts begin slipping power is sent to the rear wheels (just like Gen. 1-4 CR-V's). If you are on snow or ice and are turning left or right from a stop sign the rear end WILL come around on you.

As for driving in snow it has a pitiful ground clearance. I have some out of town friends who have a log cabin that I oversee. The driveway is plowed intermittently. Many times I got stuck in this driveway with the Element high centering on the fuel tank and it's metal protector (below back seat, left). I actually kept a special snow shovel in their garage just for these situations. The AWD with GREAT Nokian snow tires were no match for the low clearance and the damm fuel tank.

It got poor fuel mileage and was rather noisy, however in 2005 there a transmission upgrade that helped with the MPG and I understand they added sound deadening...

Hauling 4 x 8 material is possible with the product loaded semi-vertically. 2 x 4's are easy with the back window open, or, conversely with the tailgate down and the window lowered. Opening the rear doors while in a parking lot is a challenge called 'The Element Dance' (you will understand it the first time you experience it).

FWIW I taped together some butcher paper and drew a template of the back area with the seats up - then I transferred this to those 18" x 18" (I think?) interlocking foam floor tiles and covered the rear plastic bed with a nice foam mat. When I traded it in the floors looked new.

I think I went through 6 windshields in 54,000 miles and actually hit two birds - the Element was odd that way...I did buy a small cooler (with a plug in cooling element (no pun intended)) and used it as a console between the from seats -- it was excellent storage!

The Ridgeline is superior in every way. The AWD system will not 'come around' on you at a stop sign in snow or ice. It has higher ground clearance, granted, but the ability to lock the center diff and the rear diff has prevented me from ever getting stuck in the same driveway that proved too much for the Element.

Much like the Element the rear seats are up almost all of the time. I do have some tools in there but most are in the trunk, which is a very nice feature. I have the OEM tonneau cover and it keeps the worst of the rain and snow out of the bed, but it is not 100% effective (and is not advertised as such). I screwed in two 4" black metal handles onto the underside of the tonneau and did the 'spring clip' modification (search at the Ridgeline forums fo it - SUPER easy to do) so the tonneau can be removed in 30 seconds. I fact I removed the tonneau yesterday and took four 55 gallon bins of trash to the dump yesterday -- something not possible in the Element.

4 x 8 material is easy to transport and I have even transported EXPENSIVE exotic plywood in rain and snow with just some plastic covering the material, the tailgate extends nicely and the tonneau covers a lot of it as well. 2 x 4's are easy with the gate up or down.

My first new windshield came at 54,000 miles and I am now on #5 @ 132,000.

NOTE: LONG items can go over the tailgate, through the window and into the cab onto the dashboard, similarly with the Element long items go on the top of the tailgate (window open) through the cab and onto the dash.

The Ridgeline got about the same mileage as the Element (it should be noted that I live in Montana and drive at 80+ MPH and the Element just can't handle that speed with out really WORKING HARD) and I understand that in 2009 the Ridgeline had a transmission upgrade as well so newer models get better MPG.

I do not believe that any model of Element ever received any sort of traction control (perhaps during the last year?) and has a 1,500 pound towing weight while the Ridgeline has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

I upgraded the speakers in both machines and they sound(ed) pretty good.

You can camp inside the Element but you cannot in the Ridgeline.

If you do decide to buy a Ridgeline have the VTM-4 LOCK system checked (on rare occasion an owner can destroy the dear diff lock by having it engaged on pavement for an extended time).

Prefer the ride, quality and comfort of the Ridgeline a great deal more than I appreciated the Element, but I have to say Mr. Watson (the name of my Element) was my buddy and I miss him.

Let us know what you do!
 

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Everything in Moderation
2006 CR-V EX, 5MT
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Thanks for that well-detailed answer, RockyMtnCRV. :banana:

Slantback, have you considered a used Pilot?
 

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You could go over to the EOC and read what owners have to say.

Ground clearance has never been an issue for me. Buy a good set of winter tires and snow is never an issue.

Traction control was standard on 2007 and up models.
 

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You could go over to the EOC and read what owners have to say.

Ground clearance has never been an issue for me. Buy a good set of winter tires and snow is never an issue.

Traction control was standard on 2007 and up models.
Thanks for the info, I'm happy to know it.

I do disagree with you on the ground clearance & good snow tires due to excellent, real life experience.

Merry Christmas to you!
 

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Ya if ground clearance isnt an issue then you dont get real snow storms

But proper tires do make a night and day difference.

Merry Christmas All!

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'07 CR-V EX-L AWD
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It truly breaks my heart to have to say this, but snow? What the heck is that? It's gonna be low 70's and some thunderstorms here for the next several days. I've never owned a snow shovel, or a snow tire, or a snow anything else. Of course, there are still times when ground clearance can be an issue, like last year when it rained 18 inches in 12 hours in my back yard. Interestingly, I have seen something here which is rare but does exist called thundersnow, which is the same thing as a thunderstorm only with snow instead of rain. That was up by Ft. Worth. I ran in it all night that night. Fun. I did have to dig my winter jacket out this week and wash it so I can carry it in the car for a couple of months. It doesn't get dirty, but I do have Brown Recluse in the house, and I hate surprises.

I wish they had kept the Element around. They sold plenty of them here. To me they are kind of the VW Bus of Hondas, and guess what I drove in my college years?
 

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A small trailer is handy as a pocket on a shirt. Doubt I will ever have another p/u again. Traded in too many with the floor of the bed still as glossy as the hood. Slow learner. Running around town, which is 98% of my driving in the CRV, the CRV gets 26-27 mpg.......the p/u's I've had got 12-13 mpg around town.

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