This week we’re looking at the 2007 Honda Element because Ilona (my better half) wants to buy one. I said why would you want to buy such an ugly car? “I just like how it looks”. Then I’ve got to wonder why she is attracted to me. Ok, so it’s not such a bad looking car after all.
After driving the Element I warmed up to it. The road to Santa Barbara for a golf outing helped to change my mind. Four golf buddies loaded up the Element with four large golf bags and four overnight bags. Pretty impressive. And the rear seat is theatre style being higher than the front seat. Literally the rear passengers look over the heads of the front passengers. The rear seat is very roomy and there wasn’t one complaint about comfort. Our ride was about 2 ½ hours.
So after trips to the beach, airport, golf courses and challenging mountain driving I had to change my mind particularly because of the great utility and performance. Ok dear, you’re right.
Parts – U.S/ Canadian 70%, Japan 20%.
Assembly – East Liberty, Ohio, USA
Class: – Special Purpose
Cars: – Accord & Hybrid, Civic & Hybrid, CR-V, Element, FIT, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline and S2000.
I was impressed as were the other passengers on how powerful this 166 hp 4-cylinder engine performed. In spite of 4 adults and all our gear there was plenty of reserve power.
I also gave the Element the Crest Test and was even further impressed on how well it handled the mountain curves with its front wheel drive. Although I haven’t tested the AWD version that should improve road ability even more.
I found the ride to be solid and comfortable in all uses. There is the typical front wheel drive torque issues with steering but for the most part that just takes getting used to. And that only is evident with jack rabbit starts and not an issue in other normal driving conditions.
The boxy look is not a deterrent to many because you see increasing numbers of Elements on the road. They continue to be in high demand. Surely the square design makes the vehicle more utilitarian which became obvious from the golf outing where I selected this vehicle rather than a more traditional looking SUV in the same price range. The Element is clearly the more versatile.
Some will tell you the rear door opening should open and close independent of the front door and that argument is valid. But it is a different design and adds to the utility of the car. Eliminating the center post allows much more room on entry and exit or loading cargo.
Fit and Finish:
Very good. I understand it is better than one of its competitors – the Toyota Scion. I will critique the complaints in an upcoming review that the interior is cheap looking in the Scion. I’ll let you know.
Well priced. Exactly what I expected and as utility vehicles go this is worth the money.
Conveniences and comfort:
Well equipped. All seats fold flat for a quick place to sleep in a pinch. This is designed less show and more go.
If you can get past the boxy look this is a highly versatile utility.
Honda Element $19-23,000, Ford Escape $19-25,000, Ford Escape Hybrid $25-27,000, Chevrolet Equinox $22-29,000, Pontiac Torrent $22-24,000, Hyundai Tucson $17-24,000, Jeep Liberty $22-27,000, Honda Civic $15-25,000, Suzuki Grand Vitara $19-25,000, Kia Sportage $16-23,000, Subaru Forester $21-27,000, Jeep Patriot $14-21,000, Pontiac Vibe $16,760, Toyota RAV4 $21-27,000, 2008 Scion xB $15,650.
Affordable SUV with fair fuel economy, unique styling, roomy and solid comfortable ride.
Questionable boxy styling, front wheel drive torque affects steering on starts and “suicide doors are a negative to some and needs to be considered – to some it is a positive design feature.
2.4 liter 166 hp 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel ABS (antilock) disc brakes with brake assist and electronic brake distribution, rear double wishbone suspension, drive by wire throttle, power steering, front and rear stabilizer bars, dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, vehicle stability assist, tire pressure monitoring system, remote keyless entry, theft deterrent system, child latch system, audio system with 7 speakers and MP3/ CD player, steering wheel audio controls, XM satellite radio, air conditioning, removable flip up rear seats with 50/50 split, center console with armrest and storage, power windows, adjustable steering column, cruise control, halogen headlights, intermittent rear wiper washer, power mirrors, side cargo doors, clamshell tailgate, rear window defroster.
$3.15/ Gal avg. June 30 ‘07
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22 City and 27 Highway MPG
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