2005 Element New Car Test Drive
The Honda Element is the versatile box of motor vehicles, combining unique and practical features with a kind of military/utilitarian chic. Honda says the Element was designed specifically for young adventurers who need to haul wet or messy gear, like you can in a pickup, but with the security of an enclosed cargo area, like an SUV's, plus car-like performance and economy. Element provides all that. And it appeals to a much larger audience than just young men.
Element's durable, scratch-resistant interior is a big part of its charm. Its seats are designed to get wet. Inside and out, it looks like a little truck. But it's built with components from the Honda Civic, so it drives more like a car than a truck-based SUV.
The Element was all-new for 2003. Honda has made few changes since then. The 2005 models come with more standard equipment, including side-impact airbags for the top-of-the-line EX models.
The Honda Element is powered by Honda's i-VTEC 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It comes with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission ($800), and it's available with front-wheel drive or Honda's Real Time all-wheel drive ($1,400). Models with all-wheel drive feature a large rear skylight that tilts open or removes completely and stores inside the vehicle.
The 2005 Honda Element comes in two trim levels, LX and EX. The LX ($17,450) comes with air conditioning with micron filtration, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, cruise control, an adjustable steering column, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo. (The base DX model has been dropped for 2005.)
EX ($19,525) adds side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS); aluminum wheels; remote keyless entry; a passenger-side armrest; and a seven-speaker, 270-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with XM Satellite Radio capability plus an auxiliary input for MP3, WMA, or other digital media. Silver EX models are accented by blue cladding and trim, while Red and Magnesium EX models feature black trim.
Safety features on all Elements include front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters to reduce the chance of belt-related injuries. The Element earned a five-star rating for both driver and front-seat passenger in the federal (NHTSA) frontal crash test. As mentioned, 2005 EX models include ABS and front-seat side-impact airbags, the latter designed to protect driver and front-passenger's torsos. Curtain airbags, designed for head protection in a side impact or rollover, are not available.