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Element vs. Aztek

orange_element.jpgI'm considering getting a Honda Element to replace my 2001 Aztek. The main factor: I could probably get my car payments down to 2/3 the current cost. Honda seems to have a good reputation for building solid, dependable cars, so that's a good thing too (I've had no troubles with Pontiacs in the past, nor has my family).

You see, I got my Aztek shortly after graduating from college, moving 1250 miles from where I grew up, and after doing a few years of work that wasn't taxed (W-2 work, not W-4). I got it just before 9/11, so I got absolutely raped on the interest rate.

I love my Aztek, but at what I'm paying per month, I should have two cars! So if the ride is smooth, if the space inside is nice, and if the numbers work out, I may have a new car as soon as Monday. I guess we'll just have to wait and see…

13 Responses to "Element vs. Aztek"

  1. I don't like a lot of things about the Element: the sunroof isn't mechanical (and is in the back? huh?), the stereo isn't as loud, it's a four-banger and not a six with only 160 horses, etc. We'll see. If it can come close to cutting my payments into 2/3, it may be worth the "downgrade."

  2. I have a funny story about my own friend's attitudes towards the cars I've been considering. I've always liked the Aztek, and she thinks it's the ugliest car ever. I didn't even want to tell her of my growing attraction to the element, but when I did she said it's almost as ugly as the Aztek, but it was somehow okay, because it was intentionally ugly, like a Jeep.

    I've decided I'm not as fond of the Element, because its interior is essentially rubberized, like it's meant to be taken to sandy beaches and little else. Now I'm looking at the CR-V (though I don't like the gearshift implemented as a stalk on the steering column), the Saturn VUE (similar problems with the Element regarding the overplasticed interior), the Pontiac Vibe (eew, Pontiac), Toyota Matrix (hmmm, better than Pontiac), or maybe a Jeep Liberty (actually turned off by the idea of feeling overpatriotic!)

    As for your car loan, isn't it possible to refinance? Get a low-interest car loan from a credit union to pay off your high interest loan? People are doing it with houses left and right...

  3. If the Honda is not my "method of refinancing" then the bank is the next step, yes.

    As for the plastic, well, I have a dog and live a few miles from the beach, so that's not really a drawback. I got seat covers for my Aztek to help with the cleaning, after all.

    The more I think about all of this, the more I love my Aztek. The Element will have to really impress me (and so will the $$$ offer).

  4. I like how the element has an audio in jack for things like iPods. Yes, the element is intentionally ugly, but I'm not a SUV/etc. user, so I find all of the above in said category ugly.

  5. It has an audio-in jack?! Finally, the car makers are getting it. I love my iPod, bring it everywhere I go - except my new MINI Copper (please refrain from singing the Madonna song at this point - hehe).

    It doesn't have a tape deck (that's a good thing), but I've yet to find an FM Tuner I like. I'm going to try that new iTrip thingie next time I'm in the States. But I hope audio-in becomes standard across the board.

  6. .tony, the Element not only has an audio-in jack, the jack sits next to a bona-fide 120v AC electrical outlet. 🙂

  7. I'm with Justin--I've never liked the Aztek very much, and I *really* don't like the Element.

    Have you considered something like the Nissan Murano? I actually think those are kind of cool...

  8. Buzz - spending more for a car is not the way to lower payments, no.

  9. Go european, by an Alfa Romeo. The most exciting car in the world, you'll never know if it will start in the morning. Imagine the thrill you'll get !

    And since it Italian, and so not too modern, they don't have built-in stereos. So I put in a nice MP3-player to play all my tunes. Thank god the company is paying it though 🙂

  10. José and I went to a Honda dealer today to test drive a Honda Element. As I wrote before, I was considering an Element. To...

  11. yeah, the Alfa Romeo and Murano are almost in the same $ class :/

    I'm also looking into an Element. They may be ugly (to some people) but headroom, functionality and a durable intererior are really impt to me. I actually think they look cool. It's great to see Honda step out and break some ice. When one goes by you notice it whether you like it or not. Most other Vans/SUV's simply 'go by'.

  12. I like the element, it's not like any other car.. that sometimes you forget you have a car. Very dependable, very smooth except on higher speed, against the wind. I'm planning on buying air deflectors to help with its aerodynamics. Makes me smile everytime.