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2010 Honda Element Review

The 2010 Honda Element puts the utility in sport utility vehicle. This four-seater lacks the refinement of most of its rivals, but what it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in functionality.

Pros & Cons

  • Versatile seats and cargo area
  • Easy-to-clean interior
  • Only has four seats
  • Seats somewhat uncomfortable
  • Suicide doors can make side access difficult




Critics' Rating: 8.1
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.7
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2010 Honda Element Overview

When it was new, the 2010 Honda Element was praised for its great practicality and cargo hauling abilities. Some of its utilitarian features include back seats that can be folded up or removed altogether, as well as an easy-to-clean urethane-covered floor. It also has rear-hinged suicide-style rear doors that make loading bulky items into the side easy. However, these rear doors can’t be opened without first opening the front doors, which some critics occasionally found annoying.

Powering the Element is a four-cylinder engine that makes 166 horsepower. The Element isn’t fast and doesn’t handle all that well, but reviewers said it is fairly comfortable and does have enough power for daily driving. An automatic transmission is the only available transmission with either front- or all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models average 20/25 mpg city/highway, which is somewhat low for the class. AWD variants net slightly less.

The Element’s cabin is no luxury palace, with many low-grade plastic materials. Still, utility is the name of its game, so most critics gave it a pass. Maximum seating capacity is four, and all the seats are covered in water-resistant upholstery. Maximum cargo capacity with the rear seats removed is 74.6 cubic feet, which makes the Element one of the most spacious 2010 compact SUVs for cargo. Base models come with a four-speaker stereo with a CD player. Higher trims add a better stereo with an auxiliary input jack, navigation and a USB port. A pet-friendly package is also available, which adds rear seat covers, a small rear fan, a pet bed, soft rear kennel and a rear ramp, as well as a spill-proof water bowl.

See the full 2010 Honda Element specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you like the Element, you may also want to consider the 2010 Subaru Forester. It doesn’t have the interior versatility of the Element, but critics said its interior offers plenty of space and comfortable seats for five. The Forester also offers better performance than the Element and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Another 2010 compact SUV worth considering is the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander. The Outlander offers one of the few third-row seats in the class, though most critics said it is very small. Critics also said it has fairly taut handling, which makes it enjoyable to drive.

Compare the Element to the Forester and Outlander »

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