Whether you're a college student, senior citizen or just an average family, the 2011 Honda Element's versatility, roomy interior, and the fact that getting into and out of it is incredibly easy should make it the compact car of your dreams.
In this year's version, which was created to compete with the Ford Escape, Jeep Compass and Nissan Rogue, there is no more SC trim, which means there's no longer an option for carpeting in the cargo area, only plastic, but we don't see this as much of a negative.
Inside the car, the boxy, relatively tall design means more headroom, though there's ample legroom as well, and no one's crowded since it seats four. Honda says the 2011 Element has 64 different seating configurations, including being able to fold the back seats down flat, up to the sides, or completely removed to create a huge, open cargo area. There's also an overhead storage space, divided into three compartments.
In addition to oodles of space, the interior of the 2011 Honda Element includes air condition, power windows and locks and seats that are water-resistant as standard features, while a 270-watt audio system, MP3 jack and GPS navigational system are all optional upgrades.
Outside the 2011 Element you'll find that it's front end - specifically the headlights and grille - make the vehicle look similar to its more refined cousin, the Honda Pilot, but it's easily distinguished from all its relatives when viewed side-on, where the center-opening, swing-wide doors (with no center roof pillar) become obvious.
Other exterior features of the Honda Element include power mirrors and a choice of 16- or 18-inch wheels with chrome exhaust tips adding a dash of style to the EX trims, and optional fog lamps on all trim levels.
Under the hood of the 2011 Honda Element you'll find the same powertrains that previous models offered. Specifically, this means a 2.4-liter 166 horsepower inline four cylinder engine providing 161 pounds-feet of torque. This is married to a five-speed automatic transmission, and there's also a choice of either all-wheel or front-wheel drive.
Safety features on the 2011 Honda Element are about what you'd expect from Honda: a full complement of airbags, an antilock braking system, and an electronic stability system with traction control. If you're one of those who needs to have a backup camera, that's available as an optional upgrade.
The 2011 Honda Element has decent fuel efficiency for a crossover (its height likely adds some drag), getting 24-25mpg on the open highway and 19-20mpg in town. The starting MSRP for the base model is $20,825.