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.
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.
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.
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
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