I am a member of several Honda Element Facebook groups. For a while we had 3 Honda Elements. While it seems the perfect car for us, in many ways, there was another reason why 3.
Millie had a car to go to work, I had a car to tour with and the third one was for to come see me on the road. Used mostly just for that so I wouldn’t worry she’d break down in the middle of bloody nowhere. Especially since I started touring before cellphones were that much of a thing. And after that they had “regions.”
We had 3 Nissan pickups at one time and before that 3 Mazdas.
The Element groups often had a certain kind of spam-like post that appeared almost every year about Honda bringing back the E. It wasn’t going to happen. My mechanic told me it didn’t sell that well, though I saw plenty of them over the years. He responded, “Compared to Civics and other models.” I have heard the “not safe” excuse. I don’t buy it. The suicide door can’t be suicided. You can’t open it without the front door on that side being open. Plus, seems not that hard to fix.
I really don’t know.
But kind of a VW Thing a cult of sorts has developed around it. (Another passion of mine.) So when I read a question on one of the pages, “Why not bring the Element back?” I agreed.
I do think it more likely it would come back as an EV or hybrid. I’m OK with either. Besides I think those who buy EVs would love to have one, and it avoids the one defect all Honda V-Tec engines have: V-Tec valves. If the oil isn’t changed on a regular basis they clog (NO, NOT AT DANCES!) and it’s like the engine is seizing. Oil sludge likes to gather in the top of the engine and drool down, or stir up after an oil change or rough road.
Have or buy an Element, or any E-Tec engine? Change the bloody oil!
The last one we bought was an 06 and I finally discover the problem was it was owned by a business and they only added oil for over 100,000 miles. No oil changes. What a nightmare. Hope the mother of the gentleman who uses it now finally solved the problem and changes the oil. It can be scary. Can be driven, but not well. We traded for that with a Jeep.
It was still a wise decision. The Jeep was for Millie to tour with and it soon developed serious electrical problems that never completely went away, and roof leakage had become a headache. And the trade price was incredible for the 3rd Element! The Jeep had few miles on it and quickly became a headache worse than the one factor problematic Element. The Jeep would strand a driver somewhere; it stranded me 5 times. Praise the car gods not her. And the top I swear needed an engineer to take it down/put it up. Unlike my beloved VW Thing I once owned that never, ever leaked! Not even between the rather substantial gap between the removeable windows and the top.
Point being the Element is a fine car I think would work well as a hybrid or an EV. As an EV we get away from the V-Tech issues.
I also bet there are cars that you would love to come back. Feel free to offer your suggestion. Me? Studebaker too, though obviously it would never be the same after 60 years, if we mean South Bend.
For the time the Studebakers pictured above (Champion left, Gran Tourismo right) were ahead of their time, like the one in the column logo atop the page. That’s the Sceptre, planned for 1966 but the company stopped making cars.
The Automotive Critic is a column by Ken Carman, who has been writing a weekly column since 1972 called Inspection, and as a beer judge several beer judging and beer industry-based columns. Ken is also the author of Autocide: which he started researching over 20 years ago. Autocide is alternative automobile history filled with funs, odd twists and quirky characters. He has been into cars, working with cars as part of his job, since he bought his first car: a 61 Lark, at 14. Mr. Carman lives in Eagle Bay and Beaver River, NY with his wife, Millie, their 6th collie Payson and Harvey Robin Churchill their 63 Studebaker Champ truck.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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