I had my first Honda Civic for 14 yrs then replaced it with another Civic several years ago. With two kids, we wanted something safer. Given the heavier weight, side curtain air bags and great crash test results, we bought the Element SC and absolutely love it. Its a lot fun to drive, handles very well, sounds solid when you close the doors, ride is quiet, looks great, safer than the previous Civic and is very functional. It has more room from the passenger seats forward than our Mazda MPV. Another very satisfied Honda customer. When will US car makers get on the ball?
Safety, XM radio free for 3 months, radio controls on steering wheel, side curtain air bags, fold up/removable seats, leg/head room, plenty of storage, great sound system, 18" alloys, great color (galaxy gray) etc.
Smoother ride on rough streets and better fuel economy (good but could be better).