Reliability (it just keeps going), rear seating (like stadium seats in a theater), cargo space (with the back seats removed, I packed in 37 banana boxes full of stuff), durability (no matter how dirty my dog gets the read seat, it washes clean with some 409). Really appreciate the flexibility the movable and re-movable rear seats offer. Only disadvantages I find are that it's a bit difficult for my wife to get in and out of the car (it's higher than most cars) and that the 4-cylinder engine doesn't have as much pick-up as a six would have. Overall, though, I'm delighted with it and plan to keep it forever.
Owned over 7 years. Mechanically very reliable. Poor mileage hwy miles: 19+ The “maximum” cargo, occupancy and fuel weight is a maximum of 675 pounds. That means 3 skinny adults and some luggage you're already at or above maximum safe driving weight limit. Bought used, new price was way over priced at $22,000+ Would of been perfect with a small V6
Purchased used 7 years ago, our 2005 Element has proven to be one of the best vehicle purchases I’ve ever made. Rivaling my 2003 Subaru Forester (the most consistent vehicle I’ve ever owned) in terms of drivability and reliability, and surpassing all other vehicle in terms of versatility. Pros: Amazing storage capacity and versatility. Outside of a cargo van, I can’t think of another vehicle that allows this much cargo space. I’ve spent night sleeping in it. I’ve moved beds, countless pieces of furniture, gardening supplies/equipment, etc… I’ve been completely, and utterly spoiled by the Element’s ability to transport things. It will be very hard to replicate when it comes time to buy another vehicle. Solid winter performance. The AWD system is reliable in getting through snow and ice. I have noticed it sometimes hiccups on wet roads, though that could be tire issues. Driving height is also a boon. You’re seated just a bit above sedan level and are afforded great view of the road, and the ‘widescreen’ windshield does a great job of exploiting all that visible space. Handling is responsive, and the turning radius is really good. You can tell this SUV was built off of a sedan chasis. The stock sound system is really superb. So-so: MPG is about what you’d expect. Nothing to write home about, but not exceptionally low. Doesn’t have a lot of get up and go. Not quite sluggish, but you’re not going to win any races with the Element. You’ve got to plan your traffic merges accordingly. Visibility is kinda subpar outside of the front seat. Lots of columns and little blind spots to be aware of. Only a 4 passenger vehicle. I knew that in advance, but an option for a 5th person would have been great. Cons: Brakes! Oh man, have we gone through brakes. About every 18,000 miles we’re investing in new pads. We’ve had to replace the rotors a few times as well. We’ve used the dealership as well as recommended mechanics. Doesn’t matter. The Element chews through brakes like no other car I’ve owned before. Suicide doors. Getting backseat passengers in and out, especially in parking lots and garages, is painful. I understand that they may assist with the loading/unloading of the vehicle, but for as often as you would actually need suicide doors to accomplish this it’s totally not worth it. Getting things in and out through the back isn’t much more difficult. All in all, I’d recommend an Element to anyone who wants a unique looking vehicle with an incredible amount of cargo space and utility.
After totaling my 2004 2WD (not my fault), I now have a 2005 AWD. I had my 04 for 6 years and it was still worth what I paid for it used! I was lucky to find a replacement because they are getting scarce and people are holding on to them. My new one is all-wheel-drive, which it turns out is awesome! AND, it gets consistently 24 mpg, which is better than my last one. Spacious, comfortable, utilitarian vehicle. When researching to buy my new one (11 yrs. old) I found many with over 200,000 miles and even a couple with over 300,000. I intend to drive this car for a very long time.