Ride & Handling

With its sport-tuned suspension lowering the ride height by about 0.8 inches, the Element SC rides like a tightly sprung car — think economy go-cart, not luxury sports sedan. Speed bumps and potholes intrude both in noise levels and ride comfort, but the suspension seldom feels disconnected or trucklike. It mitigates body roll unexpectedly well, and it settles down on the highway, resisting undue disruption and making for a relatively quiet cabin.

The EX rides much more agreeably, without the SC's jarring motions over speed bumps. As you might expect, there is a bit more body roll in the corners, but the SUV never feels unnervingly top-heavy.

At low speeds, the steering wheel in either trim level has less power assistance than I've come to expect from Honda; some may find it too hard to turn for their tastes. Outside of parking lots and driveways, though, the wheel seems much more natural, with a well-weighted feeling when pointed straight ahead, and direct, fluid motions while cornering.

Pushed hard in turns, the Element's front-heavy weight distribution can easily send the front wheels plowing wide — it's known as understeer, which is to be expected in a front-wheel-drive car. In bumpier corners, the buttoned-down suspension in the SC does a fine job mitigating wheel hop, which can make many cars seem unduly skittish.

    See also:

    Fastening a Seat Belt
    After adjusting a front seat to the proper position, and while sitting upright and well back in the seat: 1. Pull the seat belt out slowly. 2. Insert the latch plate into the buckle, then ...

    If the EPS Indicator Comes On
    ■ Reasons for the indicator to come on • Comes on when there is a problem with EPS. • If you depress the accelerator pedal repeatedly to increase the engine speed while the engine is i ...

    For Safe Driving
    The following pages explain your vehicle's safety features and how to use them properly. The safety precautions below are ones that we consider to be among the most important. ...