Ask Nathan: Return of the Honda Element, Tires and Used Pickup for Colorado?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will we see a return of the Honda Element?
  • Tire questions? 
  • I need a used pickup (under $20,000) for Colorado 

The first question comes from a fan who’s hearing rumors about the return of the Honda Element. 

A return of the Honda Element? Nah, this is the Honda NeuV Concept from 2017. Still, it has a look that could…. (Image: Honda) 

Q:  I see assertions the (Honda) Element is returning next year.

Is it really coming back?

– Scott

(Image: Honda) 

A: Hi Scott. 

I did some digging and found a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors, but nothing solid from Honda. The net has oodles of guesses, totally incorrect/ill-informed information and some outlandish claims. I have yet to see anything solid. And – no, I haven’t seen or heard of any test-vehicle that matches the Element’s modus operandi.  

There’s a funny post on, about a misidentified replacement prototype. I’ve seen a story on which states that “leaked” information may point to return of the Honda Element. I would take that with a grain of salt. Then there’s the fans out there that want something along the same lines as the Element in the Honda lineup. 

The original Honda Element was sold from 2003 – 2011. I adored this vehicle as it was amazingly utilitarian, fun to drive (AWD w/ a manual was available) and totally quirky. Hell, I once fit a motorcycle in one and, the next day, slept comfortably in one with a massive dog. (Image: Honda)

The thing is: Honda already replaced the Element. It’s the HR-V and has out-sold the Element 2-to-1 over the same amount of time it was sold here. While the HR-V is not as boxy and utilitarian as the Element, it is a good little crossover with tons of space for its size.  

2019 Honda HR-V (Image: Honda) 

As for bringing back the name “Element,” that could be possible. Honda likes to bring back iconic names from time to time. It’s entirely possible that they could use an upcoming EV platform that could house a flat floor similar to the Element’s (which is why I featured the Honda NeuV Concept in these photos). Something like this is possible, down the road. 

Honda is pragmatic and they won’t risk a Dodge Dart or a Ford Fiesta fiasco in this country if they can avoid it. 

If anyone has information about the return of the Honda Element, let me know! 

— N

(Image: Honda) 

The next question comes from a fan who has a question about tires. 

Q: Hi TFL staff, Love watching all of your YouTube channels and having new content to look forward to every day!

I’m ready for a new set of tires on my 2017 Highlander with 55K mi. and when I did a little research, I surprisingly found there were a few all terrain options. I know I may take a 1 mpg hit but for the improved wet and winter traction in rural Illinois I’m willing to swap.
Wondering if you’ve had experience with either the Toyo Open Country AT3, Continental Terraincontact AT, or Falken Wildpeak AT Trail?
Can’t wait for the day I can hook up an RV to a modified pickup or SUV and head west to get off road and check out places you’ve shared. I enjoy traveling off road vicariously through your videos. My relaxation and entertainment includes watching and reading about cars and trucks of all types and still miss my 01 F250 Super Duty V-10 that had to be sold in 08 when gas hit $4+.
So for now I’ll keep the – J – fleet running well until the boys are out of college and settled in 2023 and my wife retires in 2025.
– Ty’s 08 Highlander (160K)
– Trace’s 09 Corolla (55K)
– Shalee’s 14 Camry (125K) 
Dean J
Geneseo, Illinois 

A: Thanks for the email Dean! 

We have some experience with a few of these tires; unfortunately, the vehicles in which we’ve used them are completely different than your Highlander. Still, I am happy to report about the experiences we’ve had. 

Furthermore, at the end, I have my own personal recommendation. 

Falken Wildpeak AT Trail – 

Andre added a set to our long term project, the Ford F-250 “Super Tremor.” He absolutely loves the tire so far and it appears to be a great highway tire as well. Quieter than expected. He hasn’t taken it into snow. My friend Phil has a set on his ’19 Wrangler Rubicon – and he lives in Steamboat Springs. According to him, they are great in deep snow and do well on ice, but he says self-cleaning in gooey mud is “so-so.” 

Toyo Open Country AT3

I have no personal experience with this tire. I do have a Twitter friend who put a cool set on his 2014 Nissan Titan and they look awesome. He hasn’t had any issues and he lives in your state, but that’s all the info I have on those. 

Continental Terraincontact AT

Ah, now this tire I have no experience or feedback with. I would not be able to give you any useful information. Sorry. 

Fortunately, I have (this) link to an excellent tire poll TFLtruck put together gathering the best and quietest pickup truck tires available. There are lots of options, some that may work with your High lander. 

This is my truck with BFG K02s. Still great after 30K+miles. (Image: TFLtruck)

My suggestion: if you can find BFGoodrich T/A K02s that work with your Highlander, I personally recommend them. I have a set on my Nissan Pathfinder and put nearly 35,000 on them in all kinds of conditions. They have been outstanding. 

I wish I had more information for you. If any reader has a suggestion for Dean, please add it below! 


P.S. the Nissan I refer to tows this trailer. 

The last question is from a fan who’s looking for a pickup truck for $20,000 or less. There are a few stipulations. 

Q: Hello fellow Coloradans, 

Writing to you to ask your advice on which truck I should buy. I am sure you guys get this question ALOT! But figured I would ask too since I also live in Colorado and I am curious about real life experience of driving a truck in Colorado.

I currently live in Arvada Colorado and I am driving a 2005 Subaru Outback XT (2.5T w/5mt) with 186,000 miles. She starting to get a little tired and needs to be replaced.  I do a lot of driving to summit to go skiing and end up camping a lot in the summer. But realizing that a truck would be better to have these days with all the home projects around the house.

Looking for a reliable truck that gets decent MPGs but still has some power to get up to the Eisenhower tunnel and not feel like a have come to a crawl.

Would like to have 4 doors and Minimum of a 6 foot bed. Seeing as money is tight right  now because of covid ( I work as an Assistant Camera/ Camera Operator  for a lot of reality tv shows. And now one is filming right now.) I think my max budget would be $20k but obviously the lower the better. I don’t need a super fancy truck. What do you guys recommend.

Thanks for taking the time to read my email, Look forward in hearing back from you.

Best regards,

Scott V  

Trucks like this 2007 Toyota Tacoma long bed come to mind. It has a lot of miles, but it’s priced at $15,599. (Image: De Anda Auto Sales)

A: Thanks for the question Scott! 

That is a popular question, but (fortunately) we have some experience with a few options. It sounds like you are looking for either a long-bed midsize truck, (Tacoma or Frontier) or a somewhat basic full-size truck with a medium bed. 

I like Nissan and Toyota midsize trucks; the power, sizes and prices should fit into your requirements. Unfortunately, they get blah gas mileage. In fact, many full size trucks match or better their efficiency. 

Full-size Nissans and Toyotas are in the same boat as the older ones were great, but not very efficient. If you want to “big” you could opt for a heavy-duty diesel, which might fit in your price bracket. Diesels are more efficient and work well in high elevation. 

Something tells me you’re not into massive pickup trucks. Especially for loading light gear and being used to driving a smaller vehicle in the past. That’s just fine, there’s still good pickings out there for you. 

I happen to like the performance of GM products for power and efficiency. Ford is pretty good, but the first gen EcoBoost has frustrated some owners. Older Ram products have stout engines, but efficiency and overall reliability were issues to some. 

Hell, nothing is perfect, but if you stick to lower mileage, well cared-for trucks, it’s a good start. 

Here’s a good one… 

This 2011 Chevrolet Silverado is a great choice, especially as it has less than 48,000 miles on it and it’s priced at $16,499! (Image: Auto Nation)

Obviously, there is something to be said about the mileage and condition of these trucks. Nicer trucks are available at your price level, but mileage (in most cases) will be high. Make sure they have a clean Carfax (no accidents and good service records – etc..), and make sure you feel comfortable behind the wheel. I always suggest long test drives with competing vehicles nearby – if possible.   

If you have a mechanic handy, make sure you can consult with them about your vehicle – before you purchase. Many will do a comprehensive check for a reasonable fee. 

I hope that helps! 


Speaking of good used trucks…