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Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/16/21 11:23 a.m.

I miss my Element. It's not particularly refined, but it's perfect as an urban utility vehicle (super-small footprint yet cavernous interior,  high seating position, nimble, powerful enough, not so precious that you don't want to put dogs or muddy bikes back there) that occasionally get's used for longer drives. It's got a lovable jaunty character about it. Also, my wife can drive it, whereas the bulk of my Ridgeline intimidates her.

But they're getting older, and they're well-liked around here, so nice ones sell for a premium. Also, the back seats are craptastic, and I wouldn't mind more towing capacity. 

So what's the closest thing to it still being made? The box-on-wheels concept has fallen out of favor somewhat. 

Kia Soul: Cool but too small

Hyundai Santa Cruz: Too much like the Ridgeline? 

Ford Transit Connect: A little long. Soulless, wimpy.

Most new SUVs: Too nice. I don't want to worry about tarnishing the leather

Older SUVs: Maybe. I really like the 4th generation 4-runners, but they're getting old. 

What am I missing?

 

 

parker
parker Reader
4/16/21 11:33 a.m.

What's wrong with it being old?  It's a Honda, keep up the maintenance and it most likely will not strand you.  My 1998 4Runner is just shy of 400,000 miles.  I went off-roading in it last year 80 miles from pavement, 100 miles from the nearest gas station.  I wouldn't hesitate to drive it to Alaska today.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/16/21 11:43 a.m.

Another Element, transit connect or sprinter are the options. A transit connect and sprinter won't be as worry free with regards to maintenance and repair as the element. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/16/21 11:57 a.m.

You know, just yesterday I was talking to someone in the biz who sees the need for selling restored Elements. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/16/21 12:28 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Elements have actually appreciated over the last several years. Nice ones are routinely going for $10-$17k around here. You can still find one for 4 or 5, but it's probably salvage or was used as a shop truck by a gardener or a dog walker.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
4/16/21 12:50 p.m.

I think a flex fits most of the expectations.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/16/21 12:54 p.m.

In reply to chandler :

Yeah, but 32 inches longer is a lot. I remember going to a jobsite in San Francisco which is notorious for bad parking. I parked right in front of the building, whereas everyone else who didn't fit into the assigned parking were walking blocks to get there. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/16/21 1:01 p.m.

The Transit Connect in wagon form comes as a long wheelbase or short wheelbase. Most cargo versions are long. This might solve the perception of being too long.

It might still remain soul less and wimpy. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/16/21 1:10 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

A focus ST drivetrain swaps in to fix soulless and wimpy, but it doesn't fit the reliability and ease of maintenance.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/16/21 1:12 p.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Elements have actually appreciated over the last several years. Nice ones are routinely going for $10-$17k around here. You can still find one for 4 or 5, but it's probably salvage or was used as a shop truck by a gardener or a dog walker.

I have not experienced an Element that did not smell strongly of dog.  Must be a local thing smiley

Neat trucklets, to be sure.  It was a great concept when "cute ute" buyers actually WERE people doing outdoorsy activities.  And I can see why the value is so high, like Wranglers, the people who like them REALLY like them, and they are so polarizing in concept that the only people who bought them REALLY liked them...

 

I think a Ridgeline might be the closest newer vehicle?  Thinking about the Swiss Army Knife-ness of the bed, here.

Petrolburner
Petrolburner Dork
4/16/21 1:43 p.m.

People learn how to do all sorts of difficult and scary things through training.  Put some cones in a parking lot and practice parking and manuevers.  A new Ridgline isn't that big.  They're fantastic, I test drove one and loved it.  

AaronT
AaronT Reader
4/16/21 1:45 p.m.

Realistically, how often does your wife need to drive your car? Are you optimizing for a weekly, monthly, or once annually problem? In 3 years of living together I can count on 1 hand the number of times me and my lady have driven each other's cars when the other was not in the car. I have zero qualms considering the new toyobaru as a DD even though she can't drive stick.

Santa Cruz is your answer: 5000lb towing, smaller than your ridgeline in every dimension (210x78x70 vs 195x75x67) available with a warranty, available without the cult following tax, zero smells of the PO's dog.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/16/21 2:13 p.m.

In reply to AaronT :

I'll have to drive a Hyundai and get a subjective on it. The wifey thing is about vacations. We'll drive up to the mountains where she'll ditch me at a trailhead while she goes off for Yoga and fine-dining. Last time she tried to drive my Ridgeline in the bush she highsided it on a tree stump. That's what I get for marrying a city girl.

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/16/21 2:37 p.m.

A lot of my bicycling friends have/had Elements.  Many of them have been moving to the Transit Connect.

Personally, box-on-wheels to haul stuff, but still be roughly car-sized = minivan. And that's what I have.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/16/21 2:45 p.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

Honda Element length: 170 inches.

Toyota Sienna: 203 inches

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
4/16/21 3:07 p.m.

The Hyundai Kona has a sporty, woodsy, outdoorsy look without being big. 

Jeep Renegade too. Just not as easy to recommend given the Fiat drivetrain.  But, it's an outdoorsy box. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
4/16/21 4:21 p.m.

It won't tow much, but the Mazda5 was sold in the US through the 2015 model year.  Other than that, I tend to agree with the idea of the Transit Connect.  Might be able to pick up a passenger version fairly cheaply, since everyone jumping into delivery gigs probably wants a cargo van.

stanger_mussle
stanger_mussle GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/16/21 4:46 p.m.

Just as an FYI, you can get the Transit Connect in a short wheel base with the 1.6T. Its a pretty rare combo but they do exist. If I were to own another Transit Connect, this would be the combo I would seek out. The 2019+ were the 2.0L which is weak sauce.

2016 Transit Connect SWB

SanchinMiata
SanchinMiata Reader
4/16/21 6:54 p.m.

Get a used Honda Odyssey. It's the "old man with a bad back" pickup truck. Mine hauls long wheelbase recumbent bikes, garden supplies, lumber, and all of the gear for a six piece rock band. Some carefully cut pieces of corrugated cardboard, a couple blue tarps, some bungees, and a couple ratchet straps and you're good for just about anything. If you have to move truly heavy stuff, add air bags to the rear springs. Reliable as a rock, and not awful to drive...

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
4/16/21 8:45 p.m.

There have to be some really nice Elements out there.  Honda aimed them at skateboarding mountain biking hikers, but a whole shwack of them went to seniors, because practical.

If you want an element, spend way too much money for the nicest one left on the planet, then put a cage around the catalytic converter.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/16/21 8:59 p.m.
John Welsh said:

The Hyundai Kona has a sporty, woodsy, outdoorsy look without being big. 

Jeep Renegade too. Just not as easy to recommend given the Fiat drivetrain.  But, it's an outdoorsy box. 

Neither one has a hose-out interior, though.

 

I mean, you should not actually hose out an Element, there is a lot in there that is not waterproof, but the easy cleaning was a major selling point, as compared to vehicles with carpeting and stuff.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/21 10:01 p.m.

The problem with Elements is that they get used. There aren't any Sunday driver cream puffs lurking for those who want a good one. And it really is hard to come up with something that has similar attributes. Oddly, an XJ comes pretty close in a lot of ways including exterior dimensions. But they're even older and let's not get in to fuel economy :)

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/17/21 5:08 a.m.

When I looked the replace my Element I found nothing that compared so I just searched around and found a nice 2011 (last year produced) AWD Element and bought it. The sun has yet to rise on the day that any other manufacturer makes a better car than Honda, though I can see the Koreans coming up as a credible threat to Honda soon enough.

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
4/17/21 9:47 a.m.

It's not as big and not with a hose out interior but I've hauled tons of things in a Honda Fit.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/17/21 9:52 a.m.

In reply to dxman92 :

Of course sourcing a Fit is similar to sourcing an Element. 

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