I own a 2005 element ex awd which has a four speed automatic. The 2008 ex awd has five speed automatic which gets better gas mileage than a five speed manual. I average 20-21 on the 05 if I drive 80 to 85mph on the freeway. I averaged 24mph on a all freeway trip averaging 90mph driving from Columbus to Dayton.
Change brakes with after market brakes. Honda should put the visors from the 05 element back into the new 08 element even though it might be a problem with the side current airbags.