Here it is, 2007, and I have owned my Element since I bought it new in 2004. In 2004, the Element was available as a 2WD or 4WD, in one of four models; DX, LX, EX, and EXs, with the latter representing the EX model with the inclusion of side airbags. I have the EXs 4WD model. Three years and 37,000 miles later, I am still as happy with my decision to purchase the Element as the day I drove off the lot. So, putting my love of the vehicle aside, I will do my best to give the pros and cons that I have encountered as an Element owner thus far.
I will begin by affectionately referring to the Element as a "fugly" vehicle.....not what you are thinking....by "fugly", I mean "functionally ugly". Seriously, the appearance of the Element may not be for everyone, but all the naysayers have to do is get in....Once inside, the functionality of this vehicle become apparent. Features such as a high roofline make for outstanding headroom for even the tallest driver and passengers. I am 6' 0" tall and a few of my friend are over 6' 5", and we all fit comfortably, noting that there is more than ample leg room for all four seats. The seating configuration has more possibilities than the average person will ever need, including the easy removal of the back seats for unprecedented hauling room, as well as the fold flat front and rear seats that, when reclined horizontally, form 2 makeshift "beds" for in vehicle "camping". I have actually used this feature one night while fishing at the beach and I have to say it was not uncomfortable. Or, instead of removing the back seats, simply fold them to the side with 2 simple motions, and I have room to haul my mountain bike----upright. Factor in the wipe down, not "hose down" polyurethane floor and waterproof, easyclean seats and you have what I call a true sport utility vehicle. Add to all of this a nice ride and capable "realtime four wheel drive" (frontwheel drive that automatically goes four wheel when needed), and for the price, you have one amazing vehicle. I have had the Element in snow, in dirt, in mud and on sand, and have had no real issues.
So, that is my positive opinion of the Element. To be fair, I will list some of the cons that I have encountered, or would like to see changed:
Engine is good, 2.4 L K24A4 i-VTEC four-cylinder, but....it is a little underpowered for my taste. However, it is fuel efficient, which is good, but I would not try towing anything other than a light trailer.
Road noise: Again, I am trying to be fair and find some things wrong, so....I have noticed road noise on the highway that I have not noticed in other vehicles that I have owned in the past. It is not bad, just not as silent as some might like.
Being a box, again, for functionality, it is not the most aero-dynamic vehicle on the road. (But neither is a delivery truck, and both are designed to "get the job done") besides, I personally like the shape.