Scion's xB is a capacious, convenient vehicle, but has recently grown bigger and heavier (some 600 pounds greater than before), diluting its nimbleness; with that extra weight, its more powerful 2.4-liter engine delivers lower fuel economy without much more impressive performance than the former 1.5-liter.
The Mazda5 is probably the Element's fiercest competitor in terms of value and convenience, though its minivan silhouette might make it a no-go for some.
Finally, Kia's upcoming Soul promises a strong dose of fresh style in the mini-crossover market, though initial driving impressions rate it as somewhat less refined than the 2009 Honda Element.
For those who love and need vans—especially small-business owners—the Ford Transit Connect arrives for the 2010 model year with a four-cylinder powertrain and a customizable rear cargo area.
|2009 Honda ElementBrowse Used Listings||2010 Ford Transit ConnectBrowse Used Listings||2010 Kia SoulBrowse Used Listings||2009 Scion xBBrowse Used Listings||2008 Mazda MAZDA5Browse Used Listings|
|18 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||24 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||N/A|
|2WD Sport Utility||N/A||Small Station Wagon||Small Station Wagon||N/A|
|2WD 5-Door Automatic LX||114.6" XL w/o side or rear door glass||5-Door Wagon Manual||5-Door Wagon Manual (Natl)||4-Door Wagon Manual Sport|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||N/A|
|4 Door||Cargo Van||5dr Wgn||4 Door Wagon||N/A|
|Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual||Manual w/OD||N/A|