The U.S.-built Honda Element was launched in 2003, and since then has received only minor updates, including adding a navigation option in 2009. Honda classifies it as an SUV, but its style and dimensions are more that of a minivan.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The Element's unique look has proved polarizing, with the car gaining fans and detractors. But it is unmistakable and stands out from all other cars in the automotive world.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Since its launch, the Element has been powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine makes 166 horsepower, while getting 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway in EPA testing.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
A console between the rear seats limits the Element to four occupants, but the interior is quite spacious. The rear-half doors can only be opened once the front doors are open, which is a minor inconvenience.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The Element's ride is stiff, but not uncomfortable over short-to-medium distances. The car can be had in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The Element benefits from its particularly tall cargo space. That space can be maximized by folding the rear seats into the sides of the car.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Not much in the way of cabin electronics was available before 2009. But now the Element can be had with navigation and iPod support.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The Element has a good steering radius for urban environments, given its carrying capacity.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
We were disappointed in the lack of a trip computer in the Element, which would show range to empty and average fuel economy.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Our Element came equipped with a five-speed automatic, a transmission Honda has been using for years. The Element also comes with a manual transmission.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Although we like the fact that the Element now has navigation, this is a very old system, with low-resolution maps and only basic functionality.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The Places menu contains one of the most complete points-of-interest databases we've seen, covering everything from restaurants to retail stores.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
To get at the CD player and PC Card slot, the LCD folds down. The PC Card slot is meant to be used with a PC Card adapter for SD Cards.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
A USB pigtail supports USB drives and other mass storage devices, and can connect with an iPod cable.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Although it has seven speakers and a 270 watt amp, we found the audio from the stereo sounded muffled, without much dynamic range.
Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
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