2003 Honda Element EX 2.4 from North America
The '03 Element 2WD isn't safe in the rain
I like almost everything about the my '03 Element EX, but have just recently discovered that I simply don't feel safe driving it in rain, especially heavy storms. There was a brief mention in another CarSurvey.org review that in rain one wheel might lose some traction, but an AWD model would transfer power to the rear, eliminating the issue.
I just drove in pounding rain from Phoenix to Los Angeles yesterday, and sure enough, in any kind of rain, especially in puddles, one wheel spins, the car bucks, and feels like it's about to totally lose traction. I had to slow to about 55mph to feel like I might be able to control it, but with other cars and especially semi trucks whizzing by, the water spray they shot in front of me made the conditions worse.
I may look into better rain tires to improve the situation; I think the car currently has the stock Goodyears.
If you live in a wet area, I advise you to strongly consider an AWD model. I've heard it has negatives of a little more transmission noise, and worse gas mileage (it's already pretty dismal at about 23 MPG/gallon)... but you may, like me, feel like you're taking your life in your hands during any kind of inclement weather otherwise.
As others have noted, too: the suicide rear doors are fun, but very awkward to get things in and out of in my tight garage with 2 cars parked inside. Road noise is a little high, but the nice 7-speaker sound system with my iPod cures that!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 28th January, 2008
14th Jun 2011, 13:55
OEM tires, on the three vehicles I've had them, are pretty close to worthless for several reasons, including wet traction. Good tires would likely eliminate the tire spinning issue. However, any tire will slip when it hydroplanes. If water is pooled on the road surface, you pretty much have to slow down. Trucks carrying weight and vehicles with a more narrow contact patch are less likely to hydroplane, which is probably the reason you were passed by said vehicles.