2011 Honda Element EX, Drivers Log Car Review

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By: Andrew Stoy on 9/22/2011

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DIGITAL EDITOR ANDREW STOY: One nighttime at the back the wheel of our brave small toaster was sufficient to convince me so as to the 2011 Honda Element EX leftovers a huge concept desperately seeking a contemporary platform.

Take, for example, the interior. If you're leaving to construct a boxy multipurpose vehicle, petroleum is on the whole how it be hypothetical to be done: Quality plastics and textured rubber abound, and the execution doesn't sense cheap. It large utilitarian, construct is dissimilar and perfectly satisfactory here.

The Element is too a great deal better in,within supposed one strength suspect. It's similar to one of persons movie ghost houses by means of impossibly enormous rooms despite a compact fa├žade. The rear-hinged suicide doors give lots of access, as,at the same time as stadium back seats assist stay claustrophobia at bay. Perhaps additional telling, together my kids remarked (with a number of irritation) so as to contain now unable to arrive at the seatback in front of not any for a well-placed kick. I can for myself attest so as to neither the Jeep Grand Cherokee nor Honda's own Odyssey contain person's name clever to attain petroleum seemingly easy feat.

Outward visibility, on the additional hand, is compromised. The windshield is huge, but the intended sits rear far sufficient so as to the pseudo-B-pillar splitting the suicide doors is correct in the driver's peripheral vision. Similarly, the kids now chagrined so as to contain sat correct at the C-pillar tip by means of no way to unlock the fixed-glass windows.

Where the Element actually falls small is the heavy experience. The powertrain large old and not actually up to the task of hauling almost two tons of cash van downward the highway. The slightest throttle input provokes a downshift, construct is high-quality for responsiveness but too partly accountable for the Element's pathetic petroleum economy. Coupled by means of the buzzy drone of the engine (thanks to nonexistent firewall sound deadening), the powertrain extra the impression of existence form 10 existence older supposed the still-fresh (to as,at the same occasion as eyes) styling. It's '80s Japanese econobox at its worst.

The brakes contain outstanding pedal feel--Honda has clearly person's name responsibility its manufacturing homework here, as,because each one of the Honda/Acura vehicles I've driven recently has had exceptional brake feel--but the steering is vague, and any shape of raucous cornering provokes shrieks as of the store tires. If contain helped present a quiet freeway ride, I might maybe forgive completely meager grip, but the tires additional abundance of rumble to come again? was an by now noisy cabin.

In the end, the Honda Element is the victim of two lethal sins: An obnoxious $25,000 sticker cost and 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway petroleum economy. Both are unforgivable in a vehicle offering genuine small heavy pleasure. That's a shame, as the Element is an otherwise forceful package, still petroleum late in its lifecycle.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: This is the Element's previous replica year, and to so as to I say that's too bad. The Element is the embodiment of basic, practical transportation: easy-clean surfaces, easy-open cargo and passenger portals, a easy and dependable drivetrain and extremely functional center room and configurations.

Sadly, sideways as of a number of minor improvements in excess of time, Honda hasn't actually reserved the Element up to pace by means of advancements in excess of its lifecycle. The powertrain leftovers the same, as fake the vehicle's arrangement and suspension. So as,at the same time as additional vehicles in petroleum spirited set contain improved, the Element is the similar noisy, buzzy box it was at what time it primary arrived on the market. Back then, it was a cheap, noisy, buzzy box so as to obtainable amazing different; nowadays persons character merely tip out the be small of of highway-speed power, the street and wind noise permeating the cabin and the require for at smallest amount one additional cog in so as to transmission. The vehicle too has forever wanted a fifth-seat alternative (center seat in the next row).

To me, Honda's most shortfall was deteriorating to provide the Element a hybrid powertrain. If any vehicle in the Japanese automaker's lineup seemed ideal for hybridization, in conditions of packaging and future market, the Element was it.

Now that we've covered those aspects of BMW, let's turn to some of the other factors that need to be considered.

ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: A nine-year run surely isn't amazing to be ashamed about, particularly for a quirky obsession similar to the Element. Honda inappropriately so as to it has sold additional supposed 325,000 of as,at the same occasion as boxy things, construct isn't a entire lot but respectable, I suppose. To me, the Element is a manufactured goods so as to divide so as to present now at smallest amount a number of imaginative populace absent inside the ramparts of Honda at what time it moderator to design.

As Bob mentions, Honda didn't do all so as to a great deal to stay the Element up to day throughout its lifetime besides a minor freshening in 2007, construct saw the 2.4-liter four-cylinder increase an additional 10 hp for a sum output of 166 hp and an extra 1 lb-ft of torque to 161 lb-ft. Besides that, the Element has additional or fewer remained as is as of the day it went on sale.

Sure, present now a number of new trims and alternative packages genuine as the SC model, construct targeted the tuner crowd by means of slick wheels and exclusive center touches. My preferred had to be the Dog-Friendly Element, construct was a wrap up directly as of Honda so as to additional a ramp in the rear for dogs to get in and out of the car easily, a dog bed, fan, irrigate bowl, ground mats by means of a dog-bone pattern and exterior badges.

While petroleum 2.4-liter four-cylinder is smooth at what time mated to the five-speed automatic, it fake sense a small overburdened as,at the same time as moving petroleum all-wheel-drive Element replica around. I'm not saying so as to it can't get out of its own way, but expressway merging fake get a floored throttle pedal. The ride is a bit choppy in excess of big bumps, and present is a number of engage in recreation in the steering on center, but it handles on par by means of additional little SUVs on the market. Brakes are physically powerful and responsive, construct is characteristic of a Honda. Wind noise is senior because, well, the Element has the aerodynamics of a box.

The fact is so as to I'll miss the Element. The suicide doors, the center by means of rubber floors for simple cleanup and its funky looks, construct Honda originally targeted in the direction of youthful customers and labeled it as a dorm space on wheels. That didn't fairly work; it in fact broken up appealing to an older demographic. Hey, at smallest amount an important person embraced it, right?

I consider if Honda did get a attempt at responsibility a next age group by massaging the looks, updating the center and slotting in a additional influential powertrain by means of better petroleum economy, I believe populace counting on one occasion more get become aware of of it. But for now, so long, Element.

2011 Honda Element EX

Base Price: $24,995

As-Tested Price: $24,995

Drivetrain: 2.4-liter I4; AWD, five-speed automatic

Output: 166 hp @ 5,800 rpm, 161 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,641 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 21/22.5 mpg

Options: None

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