I love my E for all the features and practicality. It's easy to maintain, easy to clean, and easy to own all around. It runs great with 70,000 miles, and maintenance has been minimal. I really love the waterproof seats and rubber floors. I get sand, mud and water in the car all the time from all the outdoor sports that I do. It's super easy to clean the car and not worry about the mess. I also love the versatility of seating, and cargo space. It's so easy to throw anything I want in the car. The E is Uber functional, just not very fun to drive. It's not fast, not sporty, doesn't handle well at high speed or in corners, but it gets me where I need to go and is reasonably comfortable.
Very nice to have plastic fenders, I can lean a bike on them without scratching paint, and I've hit a few bushes while driving off road. The plastic fenders don't show any scratches from any of this.
Better sound proofing. I hear a lot of wind noise on the freeway. A lot of wind noise. I think this was improved in later model years- I bought the first model year of the Element.