2003 Element New Car Test Drive
The Honda Element is one of those vehicles that elicits that great question: What's that? Some people hate the thought of driving a car that's the center of attention, but others find that's part of the thrill of owning a car that's different from other vehicles on the road.
Honda is known for conservative styling, which is not a bad thing for the majority of people who are only looking for reliable and functional transportation. However, pizzazz and style are important ingredients if you're one of those looking for something different.
Honda has really gone out on a limb with the Element. It is a very different looking vehicle aimed at young male buyers who need a truck to haul their stuff but want the security of an enclosed cargo area and the performance of a car.
The 2003 Honda Element is available in two trim levels with a manual or automatic transmission and front wheel drive. An optional all-wheel-drive system will be available half way through 2003. All models come with the same new 160 horsepower i-VTEC 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that's found in the new Accord.
DX is the entry-level model (about $16,560). It's really a starting point, however, as it does not even come standard with a radio or air conditioning. Honda expects many young buyers to opt for this model, as they will want to install their own stereo system and customize the vehicle.
EX (about $20,510) adds numerous extras such as air conditioning, alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, power mirrors, stereo sound system and other features.
Automatic transmission adds about $800 to the base price of each trim level while all-wheel drive adds about $1200 to the cost. A loaded EX model with automatic transmission and AWD will top the price range at around $21,500.