2008 Honda Element review

Honda's Element SUV has been an intriguing choice ever since it debuted in late 2002. Its nutty appeal hides what is a fairly basic car — no sleeper engine or luxury furnishings here. It's the Element's everyday usability that gives it a level of distinction: My test car offered a wealth of storage provisions, a versatile cargo area, comfortable accommodations and gas mileage in the low 20s.

The four-seat Element received a raft of changes last year (see a side-by-side comparison with the 2007 model), including updated styling and a beefier drivetrain. More important, it added new safety features like side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system — both sorely needed, and enough for me to give the oddball Honda an unequivocal thumbs-up.

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