Element in the Market

The Element was quite the character when it arrived early this decade. Today's model doesn't have quite as much offbeat charm, perhaps because there are now equally goofy alternatives, but its core strengths — versatility and reliability — are among the best on the market. Now you can tack safety on the list, too.

If there is a knock against Honda, other than high prices and the occasional poorly positioned control, it's uninteresting styling. That the Element bucks that trend — and doesn't botch anything big along the way — is indication that it's as much of a winner as you can expect from the brand.

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