The Leatherman of vehicles. Flexible + Reliable
April 8, 2019
The one and only car for me. It has absolutely everything I need.
- Safety: This thing is a tank. It may not have all the bells and whistles of newer models, but it's an absolute tank. It's almost impossible to get seriously injured in an Element due to the innovative design. You're basically driving a huge roll cage down the road.
- Handling: The Element is based on the old CR-V, which is in turn based on the Civic. And it really shows in handling. It corners like a slightly tall Civic, thanks in part to Honda putting most of the weight in the floor. It's tall but you'd never know it.
- Reliability: Where to even start? These things are bulletproof. I drove my first one for 12 years and 190K miles with only routine maintenance and replacing some wear items (tires, brakes, belts, shocks/springs, spark plugs, starter). It still started up and ran like an absolute champion every single day and drove like the day I bought it. It got totaled when someone ran a light this winter, which devastated me because I planned to drive it for another 10 years or more. So I started a search for a replacement. It took a while but I now have an almost exact replica of my first one and I couldn't be happier with it.
- Flexibility: There is no other vehicle out there that can match its flexibility, especially when paired with everything else. It can haul 4 people and a large amount of gear, then in literally 20 seconds you can change the configuration to have a huge back cargo area. Not quite big enough still? Another minute and the back seats come all the way out for a cavernous cargo area. And I've hauled everything and then some in mine. People, all types of construction supplies, compost, straw bales, firewood, excessively dirty dogs, furniture, appliances, 32 bags of cedar mulch, and so much more. Got it dirty? Just get a rag and wipe it out. Elements have the easiest upkeep on their interiors. Everything except the seats is plastic or rubber, and even the seats are super easy to clean. And it can tow too, especially in a stick shift model.
- Size and roominess: The Element packs a *LOT* into a pretty small vehicle. I can still park in "compact car" stalls, but the inside is cavernous. Even in the slightly higher back seats, the amount of headroom and leg room is huge. A lot of very tall people have commented that it's the most comfortable car they've ever been in because for once they aren't squashed.
It is the Leatherman of vehicles. Always reliable, always tough, surprisingly compact for how much it offers, maybe not the best at any single job because it's not a purpose-built tool, but if you have it with you you'll always be able to get the job done reliably.