I have a 2003 AWD Element, bought new in '03. In my rural real estate practice, I go absolutely everywhere, and in all kind of conditions. (The Pittsburgh end of Pennsylvania is very hilly!). I have taken it through farmer fields in knee-to-waist-high grass and weeds in showing land. I also have five years experience in all kinds of winter weather, often driving on ice and up to ten inches or so of snow. (The experiences I could tell you!). I usually use an aggressive tread all- weather tire in the winter, or sometimes a mud & snow. I don't particularly overload my Element with heavy "stuff" in the rear, although I do keep lots of real estate stuff back there (for fixing "for sale" signs).
Boxy design and lots of easily cleaned interior room. Handy access to passenger and back area space. Decent gas mileage.
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