Used 2007 Honda Element Review
Now in its fifth year, the 2007 Honda Element is still one of the most distinctive vehicles on the road. Of course, its exterior shape, which one might suspect was penned by designers who watched too many Borg episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, is the attribute that strikes first. It's relatively short -- 7 inches shorter than a Civic sedan, actually -- and surprisingly tall. And behind that cubist shape is a level of versatility that's pretty much unmatched by any other small wagon or SUV.
Rather than have a conventional four-door setup, the Element's rear doors pivot backward a full 90 degrees. There's no B-pillar, so opening both side doors creates a very large portal in which to easily load passengers or bulky cargo. In back, the tailgate lowers like a pickup's and is split from the upper glass. The theater-style rear seats provide plenty of legroom and can be configured multiple ways. Remove the rear seats and you've got a midsize-SUV-like 75 cubic feet of cargo space to work with.
Honda envisions the Element's versatility and optional all-wheel drive as making it the ultimate niche vehicle for active generation-Yers wanting to cart around their surfboards and mountain bikes. Certainly the Element will fulfill that role, but plenty of older buyers will find it useful for mundane tasks as well. Its main downside is its lack of family friendliness. It only seats four and those backward-pivoting rear doors can make kid-schlepping a pain. We like the 2007 Honda Element, but you also might want to check out the more traditional Chrysler PT Cruiser or Jeep Compass.
performance & mpg
For power the Honda Element has a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine, rated at 166 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. The Element LX and EX are available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations, while the SC is front-drive only.
On the Honda Element you'll find four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control and a tire-pressure monitor. Front seat-mounted side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are also standard. In NHTSA (government) crash tests, the Element earned a perfect five stars for frontal-impact protection. The IIHS likewise gave a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection. Updated side-impact results have not yet been published for the 2007 Honda Element and its new side curtain airbags.
The 2007 Honda Element is no speed demon, but it does offer peppy performance, with enough smoothness to make everyday commuting a pleasant experience. From behind the wheel, the Element feels as tall and boxy as it is. The steering offers positive feedback and the wide track keeps the Element stable in evasive maneuvers. The only thing that could detract from the fun on the open road is the wind noise generated by the boxy, high roof.
Although the Element is wider than many compact SUVs, it is configured to seat four, not five. With stadium-style seating for the rear passengers, those riding in back will enjoy plenty of room and high visibility. With the rear seats removed, cargo capacity is a quite impressive 75 cubic feet. Though the wide opening provided by the clamshell doors is useful, using the rear doors is not as convenient as one might think. To open them, the front doors must be opened first, leading to some annoyance for the front passengers as they always have to open their doors in order to allow people in or out of the rear seating area. Dropping off kids curbside without a front passenger to open the door can be particularly irksome. On the plus side, this year's new seat-mounted front seatbelts take some of the hassle out of disembarking from the Element's rear seat.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.