Performance » 7
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Relatively sporty driving demeanor
Smooth, efficient four-cylinder power
Manual models have smooth, low-effort shift/clutch action
The 2010 Honda Element sure doesn't look like it handles well, but a wide range of reviews read by TheCarConnection.com attest that this tall vehicle is remarkably responsive and agile. However, the boxy body pays a price on the highway, with disappointing fuel economy.
Across all three trims, the Honda Element comes with a single powertrain combination: a 166-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission. The engine itself is capable enough, and Car and Driver notes that the "four-cylinder Honda powertrain pulls hard for its size." ConsumerGuide also mentions the "adequate power" from under the Honda 2009 Element's hood, "though automatic versions are slow to gather speed from a stop." Edmunds praises the Honda Element's "reasonably peppy around-town response" that features "enough smoothness to make everyday commuting a pleasant enough experience."
Fuel economy remains a disappointment for the 2010 Honda Element. Blame the poor aerodynamics, but EPA ratings don't get any better than the 20-mpg city, 25-mpg highway ratings for the front-wheel-drive 2010 Element.
While the 2010 Honda Element handles well, according to reviewers, they didn't rave about it. Motor Trend praises the "relatively sporty driving demeanor and versatility." On the positive side, ConsumerGuide says the Honda Element is "nimble for a tall box," although reviewers warn that "their slab-sided body is subject to crosswind wander at highway speeds," and that "the ride still can be stiff and jiggly on patchy pavement and washboard surfaces. SCs are particularly rough, due to their sport suspension and 18-inch tires." Overall, Car and Driver comments that the 2009 Honda Element "basically handles like a Civic wearing a TV box."
The 2009 Honda Element isn't exciting to drive, though it's more responsive than you might expect.