2010 Honda Element EX 4WD

I appreciate the likes of the Element, the Scion xB, the Nissan Cube, and the Kia Soul for their affordable, efficient packaging within small footprints. Unfortunately, the Element is perhaps the worst-driving boxcar of the bunch (not that any of the aforementioned vehicles are sports cars). The steering is slow and much less lively than what you find in most other Honda products. On the highway, the Element gets pushed around by the wind and is inundated with lots of buffeting sounds at about 75 mph with the windows closed tight (are the clamshell doors to blame?). The four-cylinder engine is also noisy.

Speaking of noise, the "Dog Friendly" components in the way back rattle around a lot. That said, the rear crate area has a very nice padded bed for canines that should help them tolerate being stuck safely in the back, rather than unsafely on someone's lap (I'm used to small lapdogs, OK?). Methinks the Dog Friendly package goes too far, though: witness the dog silhouettes on the back-seat covers and the dog-bone icons in the floor mats. But to quote Eric and Joe ... I suppose that the people "who love to accessorize their pooch" will also love these "whimsical" touches.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Another major carmaker has made a huge recall due to a defective part that could cause serious injuries to drivers. After the recall made by Toyota, Honda decided to do the same. Honda has to recall almost 400,000 cars due to faulty airbags, made by Takata Corp in the US. Only models made from 2001 to 2002 are affected, but if their airbags are likely to explode, then people who bought these cars should have to shoulder the cost if you pay for a car (they're expensive!) you shouldn't even have to think about payday loans or shouldering any cost at all if they muff it. Detroit has to love the Toyota recall and the Honda recall although it isn't as if GM, Ford, or Chrysler hasn't made defective products either. (The Ford Pinto, Firestone Tires, and so forth.)
I think a truly "dog friendly" car would not have cloth seats. Better break out the pet hair roller.

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