In 2003, I hated them. They were square, somehow shy looking, and yet moved with unearned confidence. Then, in 2009, when a friend told me he was looking for one, I gave it a second glance. I test-drove one. Seven hours later, it was in my name. I bought my 2006 Element EX with 30,000 miles on it. Six years later, when the odometer read about 77,000 miles, I found it hit by a driver and totaled. Very sad. This Element is the perfect companion. It's resilient, adaptable, and always two steps ahead. It finished my...sentences. As long as I fed it oil and kept it up, it was dependable. In 2015, I'm looking to buy my second Element. I love this car, even if it's a bit nerdy and too forgiving.
Versatility. Rear seats are easily folded up flat and hooked or fully removable. The cargo has the capacity to sleep two adults, fit a queen size mattress or a hide-a-bed, haul an eight-foot kayak, and tuck in two road bikes.
Simplicity. Power windows, AUX line in, power mirrors, rad stock sound system, and AC. Anything else would just complicate it.
Reliability. I rarely serviced mine, having driven 50,000 miles on it. I changed the oil and some filters, bought new brake pads (only in the rear since the front were fine). Even with 2WD, I was one of the last cars driving up a blizzardy hill before other cars started sliding down and hitting expensive things.
Seats could use a little lumbar support and the material in them is great for washing, but my driver-side one dried out and began cracking and tearing.
A little more pep and a little less gas sucking would have been wishful.
Center console was loose and wiggled around, and while I appreciated the three cupholders, I wish the front one were a little larger like the other two so as to fit all of the HydroFlasks.
Suicide doors were fine, but when having people in the rear, it always felt a little weird. The higher rear seats, on the other hand, were great for keeping otherwise forgotten about rear passengers in on conversations.
Hooks. Why no hooks to hang things from?
I had owned Hondas before and had no problems with them. The element I bought seemed like a perfect choice for reliable and functional little SUV. It has been to the dealership six times for the same sputtering under acceleration. The Honda of America rep assured he he would fix it or buy it back. Since then it has sat at the dealership for nearly a month waiting on answers. I have been patient yet they question my urgency in resolving the issue. Imagine car payments on a car you can not use. That is my element. Honda needs to stand behind the product when there is a problem. We all make mistakes. But you lose face hiding behind voice mails.