There are 98 naturally occurring elements that we know of. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Honda Element — despite its name — is actually made up of quite a few of those, but would paying its asking price be elementary?
With the CRV Honda has had a tidy little cross-over with a decent combination of room, fuel economy and - with its available AWD - inclement weather tractability. But what the CRV didn't have - in fact the major area where it seemed to resoundingly fail - was in its Toaster-mimicking capabilities. And that was the reason that the maker introduced the two-slice with bagel option Element, which, while based on the same platform as the CRV, makes up for that car's utter lack of countertop appliance doppelgängerdom.
The toaster was the first electric kitchen appliance to gain mass popularity and today mechanisms for turning pedestrian slices of PBJ foundation into extravagances that are golden brown and delicious are many and varied. The same can't be said however, for Honda's eclectically styled Element. Today's 2006 Element is different, and the first clue of this is the added slot in its stumpy hood, which surprisingly is for air intake and not for flinging toasted slices of Roman Meal at crosswalk doddlers.
Painted in silver with acres of blue plastic trim this Element looks otherwise stock, right down to its factory alloys. It should be noted that the plastic noted above is really more than just trim, it makes up more than half of the Element's body panels, and makes the car one of the weirdest that Honda has offered for sale here in the US. Suicide rear doorlets, side-panel folding rear seats, and an interior that's just shy of being hose-able also contribute to Element's odd nature.
But those are all elements of all Elements and what makes this one special is the turbo kit that has been applied to the 2,354-cc DOHC four. The factory engine made 160-bhp, and by pressurizing it, well it would pump out more right? Sitting atop the K24, and fed through that former STi hood scoop is what the ad claims to be a water-cooled intercooler. Huh? I think he means air-to-water, but this one is obviously an air-to-air box.
Whatever, the engine sends its now boosted power through what appears to be the stock 4-speed autobox (yeah, sorry haters) and on to all four wheels through Honda's automatic all-wheel-drive system. That setup is good for slippery roads, but the Element obviously isn't intended to run the Rubicon.
Keeping you comfortable inside, no matter what the roads are like outside, this Element is a top of the line EX, meaning that it's fancy. Adding to that is a pair of aftermarket gauges that have been plopped atop the dash like a pair of disembodied frog's eyes. You'd typically expect to find those cluttering up the A-pillar, but the Element's are so steep they probably don't make any that wouldn't be pointing at the ceiling.
Many people are fine with whatever kitchen appliance their local Walmarts has to offer, while others like to project their affinity for the finer things through the stainless steel mirror of a high-end offering. This Element is very much like one of those wildly expensive bread tanners, in that its turbocharged engine is above and beyond what you might expect from Honda's box on wheels.
And for that, we need to determine if it warrants a commensurate price. The seller is asking $11,800 for this pressurized toaster, and it's now incumbent upon you to voice whether or not that's a fair deal. What do you think, is that a good price for a not so elemental Element? Or, is that amount nothing to toast?
H/T to an02wrx for the Honda hookup!
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