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Functional But Cool: 2010 Honda Element SC

Just because you are a family doesn’t mean you are stuck with a minivan or boring old sedan. The 2010 Honda Element makes functional and safety — cool, writes Sally Miller Wyatt.

(Above): The 2010 Honda Element

Not every family need be transported about in a minivan or boring old sedan. You can get the tribe from here to there in a cool-looking but highly functional vehicle like the 2010 Honda Element.

And for those parents who put high stakes on safety features for the family vehicle, the 2010 Honda Element brings it home, after earning a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and five star crash ratings from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for its performance in front and side impact tests.

The Honda Element even earns a “Best Car for Weekend Athletes” award from Car.com, which should capture the attention of busy families who find they’re in the car all weekend long, going from baseball games to soccer practice, and perhaps ballet recitals as well.

(Above): Interior view of the 2010 Honda Element

The Honda Element’s boxy shape makes it stand out, for sure, but in a good way. With that high roof line and large windows, you have plenty of elbow room for the kids and great visibility. Even the family pet gets acknowledgment from Honda designers. Buyers can opt for a “dog friendly” package on the EX models, that includes a stowable dog ramp, pet bed, all-season “dog bone” floor mats, a doggie water bowl and electric fan to cool the pooch on hot days.

The 2010 Honda Element comes in three trims: the base level LX, the EX and the SC. We test drove the SC, which offered top-of-the-line features. Not to worry if you’re on a budget, however; even the LX offers a respectable list of standard features. The SC just adds to them.

Speaking of some of those standard features, when it comes to safety, the Honda Element SC offers driver’s and front passenger dual stage air bags, side air bags, a side curtain air bag with rollover sensor, anti-lock braking system, brake assist, Electronic Brake Distribution, Vehicle Stability Assist, and front and rear crumple zones.

Standard interior features on the SC include a Honda Navigation System with Voice Recognition and rear-view camera; a 270-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with seven speakers, subwoofer and MP3/WMA Playback; USB audio interface; steering wheel-mounted controls; XM Satellite Radio; air conditioning with air filtration system; cruise control; and power windows, door locks and mirrors.

(Above): Interior view of the 2010 Honda Element

Our five-door SC model also had a “clam-shell” rear tail gate. The top gate itself is larger than the lower gate, which is nice because you don’t need to open both tailgates to be able to reach and lift items out of the back. The rear cargo area was protected by plastic flooring, too, which means it’s protected from muddy baseball cleats or hiking gear.

The SC’s seats were covered in a tough cloth material that I’m sure will stand up to all a family can dish out.

Behind the wheel, I found a nicely organized dashboard and lots of storage space in the center console. The A-pillars and side view mirrors on the Element are large and wide, which did reduce visibility, and will take some getting used to. Seats are firm and supportive, and there is plenty of leg and elbow room for both front seat and rear seat passengers.

(Above): Interior view of the 2010 Honda Element

On the road, you’ll find the Honda Element has a stiff ride and road noise is detectable. But the sound system is awesome and can cover up some of that exterior noise.

Overall, the 2010 Honda Element SC was fun to drive, has a passenger and cargo capacity big enough to handle anything a family needs, and has earned some very respectable safety awards. Not a bad combination for the active family

Sally Miller Wyatt is a freelance writer who writes family-oriented auto reviews for newspapers, magazines and the Web.


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EDITORIAL: Bhopal Betrayed
CULTURE: Qawwali: Amjad Sabri
HERITAGE: Shanghai by the Bay
PERFORMANCE: Jai Ho? Sukhwinder
RECIPE: Cheese Veggie Pan Cake
SUBCONTINENT: The Maoist Challenge
TRAVEL: Tryst with a Bandido
AUTO REVIEW: 2010 Honda Element SC
ENVIRONMENT: No to Mining in Orissa
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: Raavan
BUSINESS: New Briefs
COMMUNITY: News in Brief

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