Pros Most flexible car I've ever owned. 17 cubic feet more than my LandRover.
Cons Be careful pulling out until you're sure of pillar blockages. Be careful pulling in until you're used to front bumper position.
Summary I never would have believed that I'd buy this car. I thought it was profoundly ugly and probably doggy. After the first test drive, I thought I was in love. After the second test drive the only other vehicle I would have bought would have been a Hybrid Element. I'm a big guy and have much more head, shoulder, elbow, and hip room than my LandRover Discovery. My mileage seems to be settling in around 24-26. We are constantly re-configuring the interior based on our current hauling needs. The MP3 connector to the great sound system was the capper. Buy this car. You'll never go back to normality.
Pros ROOMY interior, versatility, sound system, safety, Honda engineering
Cons Looks for some, but not for me
Summary My girlfriend got this vehicle and we love it! The cargo area is big enough to fit two bikes WITHOUT taking off any tires, and tall enough to fit my brother with ease at 6'6". The seats are confortable with armrests, and the back seats recline and even remove or fold up. Spill something and it's no problem to clean up without the carpet. Also, where else are you going to find an SUV that gets 22+ miles a gallon, with four wheel antilock brakes, dual front airbags, side curtain air bags, a 270 watt sound system, and XM radio built in, all for around $18k, which is what we paid in S. FL. Show me a deal like that, and I have some oceanfront property for you in Arizona
Pros Gas Mileage - Versatility - Rubber Floor and Water Resistant Seats
Cons Only 4 passengers - Optional tech accessories such as Nav
Summary One HUGE benefit - washable interior. My son threw up in ours - All Over - I will stop there with the details, but it cleaned up really well with just some damp towels. A couple of places I needed some really damp towels and since the whole floor is covered in a rubber mat cleaned up beautifully and no smell even after the hot AZ sun baked it. Try that with any other Car/SUV Unless you have one of those really expensive land rover utility models. Plus on the looks, I came to realize the car that had all I was looking for did not exist. The size of an H3, the economy of a Prius, with the utility of a truck. The Element has been a good compromise on all of those for us!
Pros Roomy, feels like a larger SUV; great for dog owners
Cons Stock tires suck; only seats 4
Summary I loved the car so much I bought a second one...Sunset Orange and Nighthawk Black. When I first saw it back in 2004 I thought "no way." Then I sat in it and really started looking at how utilitarian it was...it worked perfectly for my dogs, going to Pismo Beach (on the sand and in the dunes); its got leg and head room like no other small SUV; kid/dog proof interior, gas mileage is good, Honda reliability and really you can add quite a few aftermarket features to it. In the end, almost all SUVs are BOXY...this one just embraces it. I was looking at the Murano, the X5 and Infiniti FX65. Its not for everyone...if you need to have a certain emblem on your hood to fit in with your buddies then move on...this truck is not necessarily a 9-5er; must have leather package upgrade type of vehicle. However, if you like to go places and do things away from the office you can't beat it for pure multi-purpose flexibility. Check out http://www.elementownersclub.com if you are considering buying one. I'd say the only bummer is if you have more than two kids...only seats four.
Pros Interiour space, configurability, XM, Seats, Interior, Unique Look, Height, STEREO
Cons Sluggish Engine, Sunroof
Summary When this car first came out and was hyped up on commercials during the SuperBowl I thought it was the dumbest car in history. Little did I know that less than 3 years later I'd own one and LOVE it.
First off, if you get this car - GET A MANUAL TRANSMISSION! The engine is a bit sluggish for such a heavy vehicle and the automatic gears are geared pretty low so it takes forever to get going. With a stick you can give yourself all the power you need.
Pros: INSANE amount of room inside. I can't lean over and walk inside the car and I'm average height (5' 10"). The fold up seats is perfect, I can fold up one and fit my bike in the car fully assembled and standing up...and I don't have to lug a 40lbs seat up into my apartment, just fold it up in the wall. Turns heads. Water proofed interior for easy cleaning. XM Stereo included (free for first 30-months). EX model is the only choice, comes with ABS brakes and side impact airbags which are both a must. Last but not least, the Stereo with Subwoofer is AMAZING. This car is aimed at Gen X males so instead of investing money in an electric seat or heated side mirrors, they go after their target demographic and invest a good chunk of money in an amazing 6 speaker (+ subwoofer) system with CD and XM. CD player also has WMA/CD capability and they even give you an Aux In for iPod, DVD player, etc..whatever you want to hook up.
Cons: No options. Sunroof is silly in back (but is there for camping or moving tall objects you wish to stick out the roof as it's completely removeable).
This car isn't for everybody. You can't get GPS Navigation, external/internal temperature gauge, power sunroof, power adjustible seats, integrated garage door opener, etc. This is not a creature comfort car. HOWEVER, what you get for just over $21k (sticker) is an AWD (no shiftable 4x4), manual transmission, ABS brakes, Sunroof, side airbags, SUV that gets approx 24mpg with plenty of room. You can't get that for under $30k on any of the other models because they all include the fancy stuff listed above. It's a stripped down car, but what it gives you is as good as it could be.
If you regularly camp or mountain bike this car is PERFECT for you. If you live in NYC and commute every day, this isn't the car you want.
One thing that needs pointing out, the suicide doors in the back can't open unless the front doors are open. For adults, this is no problem at all. I was worried about it, but it's no biggie and it's kinda cool to let your friends in or out.
BUT, if you have younger kids (like 5 - 10 years old) that open their own doors and stuff there is a potential problem. God forbid you get in an accident and the front passangers are knocked out or similarly incapacitated, the person in the back would have to crawl into the front and unlock the front door or else they'll be unable to open their door. That's a serious issue parents of younger kids need to consider.