The 2006 Honda Element handicap van is an incremental improvement over last year’s version. The core of the vehicle hasn’t changed. It still features a unique, cube-link appearance with composite lower sides and unique plastic panel features. The cargo van-style doors and waterproof seats are still there, too.
The Element handicap van is an interesting little crossover built for a very certain kind of consumer. It’s not targeting a very large niche, but the sales figures indicate that it must be doing something right among younger drivers who enjoy an “active lifestyle.”
The Element boasts a one-of-a-kind design, decent performance and an attractive price tag.
The Element’s ride lacks comfort and the vehicles lacks the amenities may expect.
2006 Honda Element Overview
The Honda Element wheelchair van is a crossover SUV, but it doesn’t really compete with them head-on. In fact, it’s rather difficult to figure out who the Element’s competition really is. It’s the only small vehicle designed more for a camping expedition than a trip across town.
In some ways, the Element is the 2000s version of the old Jeep CJ. It supplies few frills, little comfort, but a fun vehicle with a cool look and a growing fan club.
Trim Levels and Options
Honda has added a new trim level for the Element this year. The EX-P joins the LX and EX.
The LX is the base-level element. It offers a smattering of features including:
- Air conditioning
- Power windows
- Power locks
- Power mirrors
- Cruise control
- Adjustable steering
- Stereo system with CD player
The upgraded EX adds a few extras to the mix, including:
- Side impact airbags
- Aluminum wheels
- Keyless remote entry
- Improved sound system
- Passenger side armrest
The new EX-P has the same feature set as the EX, but offers some exterior improvements, with those unique Element fenders color-matched to the rest of the vehicle and additional paint options.
All Element wheelchair vans are available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive packages. The all-wheel drive will attract adventurous drivers and those who wrestle with tough winter weather, but those who are considering turning the Element into a wheelchair van will want to stick with the front-wheel drive option. One can’t lower the Element’s floor in the all-wheel drive configuration.
What can you say about the Element’s appearance? Either you’re a fan or you’re not. It’s that unique. It has a cube-like build with a short front end. The cabin area has a high profile and the side doors open and close against one another in a cargo van style. The absence of a B pillar makes it possible to easily load and unload cargo into the crossover.
The interior is functional. The floor is made of a urethane plastic the cleans easily and seats are treated for resistance to water. The Element doesn’t weigh itself down with features. It’s a small vehicle (four total passengers) with removable rear seats. When they’re reviewed, the create a nice cargo hold of around 75 cubic feet.
Honda powers the Element with its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Buyers choose between a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic option. The iVTEC engine does a surprisingly good job of moving the Element around.
Driving the 2006 Element
The Element handicap accessible van is good in some areas, deficient in others. Handling and responsiveness is surprisingly good and one never feels poorly balanced in the high-sitting cabin.
On the highway, however, the Element isn’t nearly as enjoyable. Road noise is a problem and the high profile attracts a great deal of wind sound, as well. The high level of responsiveness can occasionally make for a rough ride.
The 2006 Element Wheelchair Van
The Element is a surprisingly effectively wheelchair van. However, it’s not right for everyone. Anyone considering a conversion should understand the seating limitations and the fact that the conversion will leave the individual with only room for another front-seat traveling companion. However if one wants a wheelchair vehicle that offers a unique look and good handling, the Element can be a great choice.
The Element is converted for use as s side-entry van using a manual or spring-assisted ramp. That addition is supplemented with a floor drop to improve clearance and an auto kneel to provide easier and safer access to and from the van.
All Element wheelchair vans come with front seatbelts and a full complement of airbags is available. The Element received high grades in collision testing from both the insurance industry and the government.