I owned four Hondas before I bought the Element and like them all. The Hondas I owned were two Accords and two CRXs. The Element has too many blind spots, the clam-shell doors begin to squeak and rattle after a while, they blow around on the road when it's windy, fuel economy is not that great and when facing a head wind decreases even more. The windshield pillars are large enough to easily hide a mini van and even a school bus depending on position. Vision to the sides and rear suffer the same. I took it on several long distance trips and it proved to be not comfortable. It pitches and yaws enough to make you feel motion sickness. I eventually traded it for another Accord.
Rear tale gate can be used as a work bench. Rugged interior can be easily cleaned. Excellent for the dog because of rugged cleanable interior. Interior flexibility. It has a decent amount of usable space in it.
Cut down the height a few inches and increase the width few inches. Make them all, all-wheel drive. A removable top would improve its utility and make it more fun. The fun factor is almost totally missing in this model.
I purchased this car for my wife back in 2008. She was not good about cleaning her car, so something like this (no carpet or frills) was better for her. I ended up with is 2 years later because it gets a little bit better gas mileage then our full size Chevy Crew Cab with a V8. Real poor gas mileage for a 4 cylinder 22-24 MPG, and I am on the hwy most of the time. I would not buy another one, but it is real good to haul bicycles around; in fact, I have put 4 bikes in the back with the seats up. The thing is built like a tank, and like I said, very reliable. I now have 114,000 miles on it, and it runs like a top...An ugly one!
Rear seats flip to the side making a bunch of room for cargo.
Plastic / rubber flooring is easy to clean.
Seat material is easy to clean.
Rear tailgate lays down like a pickup, so lifting is kept at a low level when loading items in the back.
Gas mileage is poor for a 4 cylinder.
Ugly as heck!
Rear seat sits to high, and is difficult to see out the front window when riding in the back.
I'm sorry to say that I didn't do my homework with this car!
So, shame on me.
However, I was told by the Honda Service Dept that all Honda Heaters don't and won't shoot heat down on to your feet when you point the heater control to feet and defroster!
Also, the brakes stick and that seems to be the norm! Anybody else have these issues!
Thank you. Major blind spot because of the doors!
I would love to return the car!
I bought my Element new in February of 08. Two weeks later I made a 9 hour trip each way to Fort Kent, Maine on the Canadian border in the middle of a snow storm to photograph the Can Am dog sled race and she performed wonderfully. Driven her all over the North East and Mid Atlantic. Never had any issues with any weather. Easy clean, load her up and go. Not for those who want plush luxury. Dog owners, campers, hikers, climbers, bicyclists, surfers, Home Depot strollers, this is the vehicle for you. Fun to drive, reliable, very versatile and pretty comfortable. Tons of space for driver and passengers to enjoy. Best vehicle I have ever owned and the most fun to drive too.
No Carpet! Easy clean seats, versatile seating & cargo space management. Seats are so much lighter and easier to take out and put in than those in other vehicles. Fun drive easy handling.
We bought our Element used with 24k on it. Overall we are quite happy -- only real drawbacks are as follows:
1. Rear access is a total pain in the a@#! We probably drive 80% of the time with the rear seats stowed -- this would not be a great family car (our kids are grown and gone)
2. Interesting lack of amenities on a top line model - ie., no auto unlock button on passenger door, no outside temp meter, intermittent wipers have only one speed.
3. Towing capacity rating is a joke -- is Honda serious about this or are they being hyper cautious?
4. Mileage is only so-so
Still, it is like a storage pod on wheels and it is fun to drive. Also great with dogs (we have 2).
A good buy overall for us.