This was a replacement vehicle for my 1998 Honda CR-V, which was totaled in November 2003. I loved that car.
I was going to purchase another Honda CR-V or Honda Pilot when the Element caught my eye. After getting comfortable with the boxy look (nothing I'd ever seen before except on the Land Rover or Hummer) it was the interior, standard extras, color (Sunset Orange) and affordable price that sealed the deal.
I purchased the 4WD EX with the moon roof, MP3, and the 270 watt 7 speaker sound system. Plus I bought the extra roof rack, key-less entry, and table legs for the back stow panel over the spare tire - the panel turns into a table (much like the CR-V table). My children love the car.
The side door openings (have to open and close the front doors first before opening and closing the back) takes some getting used to; however, the room to get in and out and for storage makes this a great feature.
With all the storage room, we were able to get a 7 foot Christmas tree inside the Element, as well as a sofa love seat to take to my son at college.
I don't understand why some people complain about the seat comfort. I found the Element's seats to be as comfortable as my 1998 Honda CR-V (front and back) I also sat in a 2003 Honda CR-V and found them to be as comparable.
Driving this vehicle is fun, fun, fun. For a vehicle of this size, it has a very small turning radius. It really fools you. Great to park as well.
Cleaning the waterproof interior is a snap. Simply wipe down everything with a damp towel. My kids left the back moon roof open and it rained overnight. In the morning, instead of the damp smell of cloth seats and wet rugs, I just wiped the seats and floor down with a towel and they were dry in an instant. No mold or damp smell at all!
While my husband says it looks like a cross between a matchbox car and puffy marshmallow, or as he says, it's like a hot dog that "plumps" when you cook it, he thinks it a grand utility vehicle. We're going camping in the spring and the Element is the perfect vehicle for such a trip. An all purpose, super fun vehicle -- I love it!