When the Honda Element was in concept stage, the team of designers in their 20's attended x-games and checked out the beach scene to see how surfers used their wheels. The dudes were tying surfboards to their pick-ups and using the hatchbacks for partying. Hence, the working theme for the concept--" dorm room on wheels" using the functional look of a lifeguard stand as direction.
As for the surfers...they're getting older these days. The average age of an Element buyer is 41. But you can fit surfboards along with strollers in this $16,000 to $21,000 vehicle.
Voted by Maxim as " Ultimate road trip vehicle" and Popular Science as " Best of Whats New" , the Element defies all description. A boxy profile with a vertical windshield, four doors that open out from the center, a lift gate with removable rear skylight (on 4WD models) and a back hatch that will hold two 220-pound people are just a few of it assets.
Wide gray body panels that come up to hip level, intended as protection, give the Element a chunky look.
The two rear seats fold flat or pivot to the sides, recline backwards for lounging, or can be removed completely to create at least 64 cargo space configurations.
A flat, urethane-coated utility floor is scratch-resistant, water-resistant and ‘sticky' for better grip. The spare tire, kept in the floor underneath the rear seats has a cover that can be used as a table when paired with special-order legs from Honda. There are also more than enough cubby spaces and cup holders.
The ample front seats are covered in water-resistant cloth and slide back and forth 11 inches for long legs. The instrument cluster houses large, easy –to-use controls are and sizeable vents reduce noise from heating and A/C.
The most interesting point of the Element for me is the price, the styling and the interior space. Luckily, it doesn't bill itself as a sports car SUV or a performance truck. The engine is a 2.4-liter, 160-horsepower 4-cylinder i-VTEC motor is matched to a standard 5-speed manual transmission or optional 4-speed automatic, delivering 161 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. Real-time 4WD is available on all models.
Brakes are front disc/rear drum with optional ABS. Safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags, optional side bags and optional LATCH child seat tethers. Keyless entry is available but not standard.