2006 Honda Element EX-P 2.4L 4-cylinder (K24A4) from North America

Summary:

Gear swallowing, cool looking, fun to drive box!

Faults:

I have only had the vehicle for about six weeks, but I have not yet had any problems.

General Comments:

I am an avid cyclist, and since my 1998 Mercury Mystique had some transmission issues (reviewed on this site also), I wanted a vehicle that would quite capably haul my bikes, my gear, and me, which the Element does in spades. The seats are waterproof, and the floors are not carpeted, so they can be wiped clean with ease. The rear seats also can be placed out of the way along the walls to provide more load space, or removed, if necessary. The potential seat configurations and USEFUL space inside are beyond compare.

The engine is typical Honda, meaning it needs to be kept at a high boil to find the most power, but acceleration is surprisingly good, especially for a 4-cylinder powering an aerodynamically challenged vehicle. I have the 2 wheel drive with a manual transmission, and it proves to be a very enjoyable combination. The shift throws are incredibly short, and the clutch action is super easy. Coupled with the peppy engine, city traffic is a breeze.

I have also found the Element to be the single most comfortable vehicle I have owned for long trips, and that includes a 1995 Buick LeSabre that I owned. The seats at first glance don't seem like much, but after a two-plus hour drive, I felt like I had just gotten into the car, with no back soreness or anything like that. The interior is just huge on the inside, large enough for my 6'3" friend to willingly ride in the back seat and for me to wear my bowler hat with plenty of remaining head room. The ride is sometimes a bit bouncy, but overall is pretty good. The 270-watt stereo and i-Pod jack make the drive that much more enjoyable, as well.

My fuel mileage has been decent so far, and is still getting better. Right now, I am getting about 23-25 city, 25-27 highway, although because it's a box, the mileage at 80 MPH does take a hit. It's worth noting that it does take 1,000-2,000 miles for the engine to fully "break in," so the mileage will not be all that great, especially during the first few hundred miles. Now that I'm at 2,000 miles (exactly 2,000 as I parked this morning...), the mileage has come up to the numbers I quoted.

Also, I do have to comment on the polarizing looks of the E. Personally, I think it's the best thing to hit American roads in a long, long time. Yeah, it's a box, but it's out there doing its own thing, kind of like me.

Again, the real story here is the ease with which the Element swallows my bikes and gear, and the ease of cleaning it up if the bike and I are muddy, dirty, et cetera. I love my box!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 2006

6th Dec 2007, 15:07

I am the original poster of this review with an update. My E now has about 22,000 miles on it, and after a year and a half of ownership, I still love this thing as much as when I bought it. I haven't had any problems of any kind yet with the car, and I'm even managing to drive it with a broken clutch-pushing leg at the moment.

It handles really well in the snow, and if it starts to spin, I can just throw it in 2nd to get it moving. I'm ranging from 24-28 mpg depending upon how I drive it. Overall, my review is even more glowing now than it was before.

2006 Honda Element EX-P 2WD 2.4 from North America

Faults:

Airbag sensor had to be reset.

General Comments:

As a Honda fan I have been very disappointed. I liked the car when I first drove it. My Grand Voyager was getting old and I was looking for something smaller, reliable, and more economical, yet still versatile and practical.

Negatives:

1. Gas mileage: 18-19 is the best I have gotten. This is what my much bigger and more practical Grand Voyager got up until about 80K miles, and far below the advertised estimates.

2. Very narrow car for carrying stuff. My golf clubs cannot lay flat in the back. This narrow cargo bay severly limits the practicality as a utility vehicle.

3. Bouncy ride due to the short wheel base and tight suspension.

4. Visibility - seems really good at fist, high upright position with lots of glass, but very thick pillars can hide cars from sight. Must be ultra careful in changing lanes, pulling into traffic, and approaching intersections.

5. No place to put stuff - used to my Grand Voyager's ample pockets and stowage bins. The Honda has some trays built into the front dash, but anything set there is going to go flying everytime you take a corner a little too fast. Why can't Honda have an underseat or in floor stowage bin like my Voyager?

6. Rear seats don't fold forward. To expand stowage space without removing seats, the only option is to set seats flat (seatbacks reclined all the way back). I know that someday, I'm going to set something on them that will rip or puncture the upholstry.

Positives:

1. Great maneuverability and handling. Tightest turning radius I have ever owned, a snap to park in a tight spot.

2. Excellent fit and finish - typical Honda quality.

3. Rear seats easy to remove and replace - once you get the hang of it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th July, 2006

26th Aug 2006, 21:02

Why place stuff on top of the back seats??

The 2006 Elements have folding seats - lay them flat then swing them up. They clip on to the side walls, leaving a flat floor for the cargo.

6th Oct 2006, 08:46

With regard to your fuel efficiency, how many miles/KM's have you driven your Element? Have you surpassed the "break-in" period?

10th Oct 2006, 21:42

Beyond folding the seats and hanging them from the clips on the sides, you can quickly and easily just take the rear seats out. I just did this to load stuff in my 2006 EXP and it was fast and provided lots of room.

6th Dec 2006, 13:30

The Element's K24A4 has been shown to take about 4,800-5,000 miles to fully break in, and it takes at least 2,000 for the gas mileage to get to normal. My E's first couple tankfuls netted me about 13 highway, but now that it's broken in (5,700 miles), I am getting 24 city, 27 highway.