The Dog-Friendly Element seems a bit silly to me, made slightly obsolete by the fact that the Element is already so dog friendly without the $995 in accessories. With washable floors, durable fabrics, and the flip-up rear seats, the boxy Honda is a great choice if you're frequently traveling with one or two large dogs. The new dog-friendly package, however, seems to cater to those who love to accessorize their pooch, which is really a niche of a niche.
The rear kennel is big, consuming the entire cargo area, and I personally wouldn't want to deal with it every time I ran to the grocery store or needed to pack a suitcase. The ramp is also a bit clumsy, and it's really useful only for a dog that's too large to pick up and too old to get in on its own. The water bowl and the fan seem like gimmicky add-ons that would receive little use. I certainly like dogs, but I wouldn't say dog lover is part of my personality. With that, I think the accessories prove to be more hassle than help in a car that already caters to canines.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor