Very practical and useful car and at $22,500 (Had a Honda $1500 end of year discount and the dealer came down another $1600 or so), it's not too much cash. Yes, a BOX ON WHEELS. I always get looks from other ELEMENT Owners because I don't think many of them knew about the SC version. I didn't like the ones with the flat black fenders (LX) and the flat black bumpers (EX). The SC has no flat black body panels. I bought it new in late summer of 2008 and it was HARD to find an SC! There are 6 or 8 HONDA dealers within 20/25 miles of me and only 2 had SC's. And only ONE dealer had every color. The other dealer had ONE black and ONE blue one. That's it. I have 110k miles on the car and aside from a problem with the Throttle Position Sensor at about 80k, the car has been flawless. 110k miles and just that one repair (outside of the usual brakes, tires, battery) Seats are comfy, the doors open a full 90 degrees for easy loading and unloading, and with the rear seats removed there is quite a bit of room. THE AC is powerful as is the heater. The XM radio sounds great, especially with the 8 or whatever speakers this thing has and the sub-woofer up front. It's the newer 2.4 Liter engine used in the Accords and CR-V's with a TIMING CHAIN, not a BELT! That's a maintenance saver right there. Timing Chains rarely wear out. Just had new plugs put in at 103k miles and while driving out of Chicago on the Expressway, I just noted to myself that his car drives as good as it did when new. My original Honda tires lasted about 68k miles. My original brakes up front and on the rear last about 75k miles. I am still on the original discs with 110k miles but I suspect I'll need new discs in about 4 to 10 k miles and it may be time for brakes again. With the SC package and the wider, lower profile 18" tires it grabs the road good and corners well. Brakes could be a bit better. My last car was a 4800 lb SUV and it stopped better.
The only drawbacks I see are the ride, the MPG, and the quality of plastic used inside. I have the SC, which has lower profile tires, stiffer springs, and is a bit lower to the ground than the other Elements. So, not sure if the other models (EX and LX) ride better but the SC has a jarring ride at times. Where I live (Northern IL) the roads are pretty crummy. Lots of trucks and snow and salt. The Element SC seems to go over the bigger holes good but some of the smaller dips in the road are really noticeable. My wife's 20 year old Civic with 20 years old shocks has a better ride on the roads with these little dips in them.
I get about 23 MPG city and 26 on the highway. I am getting 1 MPG better or so than the sticker indicated but I would have figured a small engine like this would get a few more MPG.
Second, the interior plastic scratches quite easily. I have hauled a few things and it does not take much to scratch/gouge the plastic inside.
It only seats 4, which is sometimes a pain if my kid has more than 1 friend that needs to be brought someplace, that one has to sit in the front. But, on the bright side, the rear seats have plenty of room AND THEY RECLINE! My daughter loves reclining the seat a bit on long drives and relaxing.
The Vehicle Stability control is a joke. The SC only comes Front Wheel drive so this may seem like a valuable feature but and I'm able to maneuver and drive better in the snow with the VSC OFF.
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.
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!
After choosing a black '07 AWD, I changed my mind at the last minute and got a gray '08 SC because I liked the larger wheels, projector headlights, and more civilized interior trim (carpet). I have nothing but praise so far. It's comfortable, practical, fun and gets a lot more attention than I expected. At times I think it's ugly, but it keeps some strange appeal in spite of it. Great feel on the highway, weak acceleration at the light, but after 40 mph, it's a rocket. The interior features are very well thought-out and the audio is better than my '07 Acura TL. While the SC interior is 'softer', it remains a very utilitarian vehicle. It's great.