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Micro-Machine by Conor from Pittsburgh on 04/30/2012. Trim: 2011 Honda Element EX 4WD 5-Spd AT, Owned 1 year.
Pros: The only thing this vehicle has cost me are gas (20city /28 hwy) and oil changes. Realtime 4WD. Stain resistant / Water repellent seats. Braking. Drives better with weight in the car. SPACE...unlike ALL if it's competitors.
Cons: Large blind spots at your 10 and 2 o'clock -- and more depending on if the seats are put up against the sides. Poor gear ratio (car likes to hover in high RPM instead of shifting). SLOW compared to other cars I have had/driven especially when climbing hills. The floor is slick when it is wet and items that are not tied down tend to slide around during transport. The plastic panels scratch easy. Seats are comfortable for short trips but don't support the lower back on long trips (probably because the steering wheel isn't telescopic).
Overall review: This is my first SUV and I love it! Honda truly made a vehicle in its own category: it's like a jeep, a truck and a van all in one. The Element is perfect for my active lifestyle. It is easy to park and has a small turning radius. The lack of carpet makes cleaning up spills and mud a breeze. The seats ability to fold up against the sides or be completely removed (which is slightly awkward and can be considered heavy to some people) is one of the best features because it allows you to convert the vehicle into a covered truck with an approximate 3.5ftX5ft bed great for transporting various sized objects. The tie down points are an added bonus. The suicide doors and clam shell rear hatch/tailgate are great for loading things, however, even though I don't have kids I can imagine that it might be complicated getting them in and out of their car seats -- especially infants. Braking is awesome. If you have to slam them then the car feels like it stops from the back instead of nose diving.
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