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AT THE WHEEL REVIEWS: CROSSOVERS

 

2007 Honda Element SC: Quirky Appeal, Imminent Practicality

By Les Jackson  Cruise Control Radio.com

 

 

A few minutes in the 5Door 2007 Honda Element SC is all I needed to experience its appeal to its target audience.That audience is primarily young (I'm not) and active (I'm still not sure what that means) and looking enthusiastically toward welcoming what

life has to offer (did that, never regretted a minute). Its boxy shape isembraced by large segments of the population who are attracted to funky, functional, relatively-cheap transportation that is, above all, reliable and practical.

 

Hose it out and tie it down

The Element is that in spades, from its cargo area tie-down anchors; lighting; 12-volt power outlets and side cargodoors to its hose-out-the-whole-interior usability. It's a vehicle that anyone can use for practically any purpose,get dirty and then easily clean up for a night on the town. The removable rear seats (50/50 split) make thecleanout even easier, and with them out the cabin seems like it will hold nearly anything.
In town, by the way, the Element is a handy vehicle to have because it can be parked in small, cramped areas. It's big inside and small outside, so you and three other people can comfortably go nightclubbing and still have achance of squeezing into a cramped parking spot.

It's also quite zippy. Its 166 horsepower, 2.4 liter VTEC 4-cylinder engine perks right up when you push the pedalon the right and power is delivered through a smooth-shifting 5-speed gearbox. There's no sense of disconnect fromthe drive-by-wire throttle control, by the way. It feels just like the accelerator is attached to the engine.
The little Element surprised everyone who rode in it when acceleration was demanded. It's plenty fast and smooth inall rev ranges. The engine is super-clean, achieving LEV2 certification, and needs no scheduled tune-ups for100,000 miles. Mileage isn't great, however, as I only managed to squeeze out 24 mph overall and most of that was highway driving. The EPA estimates are 21/25 city/highway.

Active ride

 

Relatively thin seats and a short wheelbase add up to provide a somewhat choppy ride. It's not bone-shaking or annoying, but a long trip might prove to be a bit fatiguing for most people. The mechanical adjustments to the driver's seat are easy to use, however, and it's pretty simple to get into a good position behind the adjustable steering column. Visibility is first-rate all around due to the large glass area and, in spite of its size, the Element has a 5-star front NHTSA crash rating. Structural integrity is the name of the game at Honda and the Element isn't left lacking.

Other safety features include EBD, or electronic brake distribution, ABS and VSA, Honda's vehicle stability controlsystem that prevents loss of directional stability in situations where the driver isn't in full ontrol of thecircumstances (translation: going too fast or not paying attention). The Element SC features 18-inch alloy wheels and body-colored panels on the outside. Inside, and for the money, the entertainment system can't be underestimated. It's a 270-watt audio system with 7 speakers (one is a subwoofer) andMP3/WMA, XM satellite radio and an auxiliary input jack for the MP3.
Overall the Element is a dandy package for a very affordable price. All the goodies come in at $22,695 plus a $595destination fee. Not bad, not bad at all.

 

 

Specifications: 2007 Honda Element SC

Mileage on test vehicle: 1208

Color: Exterior: Orange Frost

Engine:2.4 liter VTEC 4-cylinder - 166 Horsepower

Fuel Required: 87 Octane

Wheels: 18-inch alloy

Tires: P225/55 R18, All-Season

Transmission: 5-speed manual
Front Wheel Drive

 

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attract more and more listeners with its engaging format. This two-hour automotive magazine program is heard live every Saturday from 10 a.m. to Noon, Eastern Time, on three national networks: the National Radio Network, Cable Radio Network (CRN), and USA Radio Network. Cruise Control is currently heard on numerous broadcast stations across the US as well as digital cable and internet affiliates. Unlike other car radio shows  Cruise Control covers all aspects of the automotive industry including new vehicles reviews, new technologies and interviews with key automotive industry leaders.

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