Dave Thomas over at Kicking Tires is the first on the web to post his opinion of the new 2007 Element SC after Honda held a meet and greet for its new models last week. Thomas admittedly didn't get the Element at first when it appeared on the scene in 2003, but gives credit to the toaster on wheels for the market's current crop of box cars. The SC, however, is a new kind of Element that sheds a bit of the original's overtly utilitarian duds for a new front fascia with projector beam headlamps, a lowered ride height thanks to a sport tuned suspension, larger 18-inch wheels and bumpers actually painted to match the rest of the vehicle (a surprisingly new feature for the Element). Thomas tested a $22k example of an Element SC painted in Root Beer Metallic.

The Element's four-cylinder engine received a 10-horsepower bump to 166 hp this year, which moves this enemy of aerodynamics with a little more urgency than before, but not much. Davis, however, falls for the Element SC not for its performance (good thing), but for its practicality. He warns those considering a manual transmission, however, that Honda likes to put the stick up high on the dash, but we've found most people don't mind the odd placement. It looks wierd at first but generally feels comfortable.

To us, the Element and its boxy brethren always seemed like the cardboard boxes of the auto industry -– they're inherently useful and if you use your imagination can be a lot of fun. Looks like Honda used some imagination on the Element SC.

[Source: Kicking Tires]