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Discussion Starter · #182 ·
I put my first thousand miles on the new car in about six days. So far so good. The torque curve is really great on this car. The useful RPM band starts around 2k and goes all the way up to 7k so I can basically choose any gear between 3 and 6 at almost any legal speed without blowing anything up or bogging down.
 

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Drove to Cincinnati to test-drive an Element today. It was a 2004(?) in that nice orange color, AWD with a 5-speed stick. It was in shockingly nice condition for its age, with "only" 160,000 miles, and had very decent nearly-new Cooper tires. The dealer had not been able to price it yet, as they had a bunch of maintenance items addressed late last week and hadn't seen the bill from the mechanic yet, but they told us it would be in the $7k range for sure, which he admitted was rather high. However, having browsed AutoTempest regularly for the past month or so, there are rarely any under 8k, and the few that are in the 5-6k range all have 240,000 miles on them or something. So it looks like $7k+ is what the market will bear for this right now, unfortunately. They are supposed to contact us with a final number as soon as possible.

This was the first one I'd actually been able to test-drive, and man it was GUTLESS. I haven't driven a car with less than about 180 hp since 2012 or so, and everything in the fleet now either has larger displacement or boost, so I guess I'm spoiled. But that thing could really use another 80-100 HP. Stock numbers for the 2.4 in the first generation are 156/160, but the AWD weighs 3600 pounds, which is... stupid. You had to get REALLY deep in the rev range in low gear before you felt anything at all, so it will take a lot of shifting to feel remotely at home in one of those. OH, WELL - I have to remember it's not the fun car, it's the useful car. Drove really nice though, and SO QUIET. Don't know if we'll pull the trigger on this one or not, but it's looking more and more like we don't have many better options at this point in time, especially given the great condition and one-owner quality of this one. And it has the roof rack and sunroof and all the options. Time will tell.

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Discussion Starter · #185 ·
The Manual trans really limits your options unfortunately, especially if you don't like Subaru's.
The good news is that the Obama CAFE standards have really forced auto-makers to up their game for automatic transmissions and they really are better than ever.
Here's a CRV...
It looks like there's quite a few Nissan Rogue's and Toyota Rav4's that would all probably give you many years of reliability.
Even a handful of newer Escapes and Mariners

How about keeping it in the family with one of these odd-balls? :ROFLMAO:
 

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The Manual trans really limits your options unfortunately, especially if you don't like Subaru's.
The good news is that the Obama CAFE standards have really forced auto-makers to up their game for automatic transmissions and they really are better than ever.
Here's a CRV...
It looks like there's quite a few Nissan Rogue's and Toyota Rav4's that would all probably give you many years of reliability.
Even a handful of newer Escapes and Mariners

How about keeping it in the family with one of these odd-balls? :ROFLMAO:
I think the main thing that the Element accomplishes that nothing else does is in the utility per square foot department. Very flat floor, rubberized for easy cleaning; fold-away or outright removable rear seats, reverse-opening rear doors on both sides for a very large ingress/egress, very high roof; it's practically a minivan, only much smaller and more efficient, plus a lot easier to park. The only thing I think that is similar these days is the Transit Connect, and the price is double for one of those and you can't get a stick shift or AWD with those.

Your Rogues, CRVs, RAV4's and all those things are not really going to give us any more interior space/utility than we already get with our Focus ST, in all honesty. Maybe the roof is a little higher, but that's about it. I thought I'd really enjoy a MINI Paceman S when that fact occurred to me. The Escape/Mariner would maybe work, but again, you're talking about a CD4E here, unless you go with the 4-cylinder. And the Escapes have such a nasty rust problem. I don't necessarily have an aversion to an automatic for this car's purpose, but I DO have an aversion to an 18-year-old, 100k+ mile automatic transmission...

The only strange outlier that even made a blip on the radar would have been an Ecoboost Flex - or as I call them, a MAXI Cooper. But those are also way above the budget here, and I'd rather stick with a smaller footprint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #188 · (Edited)
It looks like the CD4E was gone by '09 so that '09-'12 period might be the sweet spot with the improved transmission without looking like "some curvy crossover disgrace ". :ROFLMAO:
Mariner
 

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Discussion Starter · #189 ·
I didn't know much about the Element, but you piqued my curiosity and made me wonder why it was better than a CR-V or any other mid-sized SUV that looks like it...
It actually is pretty cool.

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Exactly. The rear seats can easily be removed entirely as well, although the space that saves would be minimal over simply folding them away as pictured. The front and rear seats recline perfectly flat, so in a pinch you can remove the headrests and use the thing as a makeshift queen-size bed (albeit with a center console - but those are also removable). It's shockingly versatile, which I guess kind of explains why prices are still as high as they are.

It looks like the CD4E was gone by '09 so that '09-'12 period might be the sweet spot with the improved transmission without looking like "some curvy crossover disgrace ". :ROFLMAO:
Mariner
Interesting; might be worth considering. I did NOT know that they eventually moved on from the CD4E while the Duratec 6 was still in play.

EDIT: also should add that the wife HATES silver cars though :LOL: so it can't be THAT one...
 

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LOL, right?

After having owned 2 different Silver SVT Focus', and having both of them killed in traffic accidents by other drivers, she swore off silver cars for good. So the Focus ST replacement was hereby Race Red.
 

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Discussion Starter · #194 ·
ive seen a handful of those around, but never seen one advertised or sitting on a lot. They just appear
I used to have a coworker that had one. When someone would ask her what she drives, she would say "its a...Ford...SUV...thing". She didn't like using the word Taurus because that was more confusing than just playing dumb.
 

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If there had been a nice Taurus X around when we were looking at the Edge and CX-9, I'd have totally given it a shot. Still don't understand what people have against "station wagon" when they drive minivans. I can understand the difference in utility, but not the attitude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #196 ·
Really nice looking Zn for sale in Idaho right now.
Low mileage, great condition, even the seat embroidery is still somewhat intact...looks like the thread might be gone but at least the circles aren't ripped out.
 

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That's pretty remarkable. Non-standard exhaust system, too!
 

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Other than the Police Interceptor badge, that is in amazing condition. Looks better than Laser Red, and fewer miles!
 
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