Ask Nathan: A New Honda Element and What Do I Think of the Chevy Trax and Nissan Ariya?

Rendering via: Abimelec Design

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Is this the next Honda Element?
  • Is the Chevrolet Trax good?
  • My opinion of the Nissan Ariya (& more)?

The first question comes from a fan who sent me some renderings of what looks like the next Honda Element. Unfortunately…

Image via: Abimelec Design

Q: ( I saw these renderings on line and I was wondering if these belong to the next Honda Element?

Saw your words about the Honda Element last week. I love the Element. Even if we never get them in my country. Do you think they will build a new one?

– Saleh 

A: Hi there!

You located some great looking renderings that were posted by Motor Trend about a year ago. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with any resurrection of the Honda Element. In the past, there were some JDM Honda’s that looked a little bit like an Element replacement, but that never happened.

This is the Honda N+ Box Element concept (Image: Honda)

Maybe that’s a good thing.

Still, the idea of bringing something back that’s as playful and utilitarian as the Honda Element sounds good to me. Look, the only vehicle Honda has to fill the void in our market is the Honda HR-V. Frankly, the new one isn’t very lively, or utilitarian – compared with the Element.

It’s super cool to see folks still pining for this unusual ride.

– N

The next question comes from a reader who’s seriously considering a new Chevrolet Trax.

Chevy Trax "Lead Dream Chaser"
Front 7/8 view of Chevrolet Trax ACTIV in Cacti Green parked on a road in front of a lake. Pre-production model shown. Actual production model may vary. Available in spring 2023. Cacti Green exterior color late availability.

Q: ( Hi Nathan, this is Joe, and this is the first time writing to TFLCAR.

About three years ago I was thinking about replacing my Ford Focus. Then the pandemic happened and I decided to hold on to it until things calmed down. Now it’s getting a bit old and I know it’s time to go.

I know the Chevy Trax isn’t all wheel drive or anything. But I like its pricing and people seem to like it. I’m retired and I have to keep an eye on expenses. But I like Fords and Chevys and it has been 20 years since my last Chevy.

After seeing your videos and others about the new Equinox, I thought I would have a look. Can you tell me what you think about it? I know you’re the value guy at TFLCAR and care about getting the most for the money.

Been a fan for a long time. Thank you Nathan!

– Joe S Cupertino, CA

A: I must say, the Chevrolet Trax looks like a hell of a bargain!  

Yes, you’re right, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax does not come with all-wheel drive (AWD). As a front wheel drive, compact hatchback – it’s still an intriguing choice. You get a lot for $21-25K. The interior is spacious (for its class), and you get a turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine standard. On top of that, the Trax comes with a six-speed automatic, which I prefer over a CVT. It makes 137 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t too shabby.

It’s the pricing that gets my attention. I mean, this car completely undercuts Honda and Toyota, offering competitive equipment right out of the box. Impressive.

“Base LS and 1RS models get an 8-inch infotainment screen, while higher-end models (LT, 2RS and Activ) get an 11-inch display to complement the standard 11-inch digital instrument cluster. Even the $21,495 base model gets Chevy’s Safety Assist driver assistance tech, as well as standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.” – TFLcar

Our man Kase was impressed with the various versions of the Chevy Trax that he sampled. I trust his judgement, and I think the price is hard to ignore.

Lets me know what you end up with!

– N

The last question comes from a fan who posted on last week’s “Ask Nathan.” He wanted my opinion of the Nissan Aryia, and a few other things.

Q: (Via: Last Week’s “Ask Nathan”)

Hey Nathan, what’s your personal opinion on the Nissan Ariya EV, along with GM’s stated goal of going full EV by 2035? I’d also like to know what are some of your favorite rock bands are, as well.

So, have a great time, Nathan, and keep up the good work, my good man.

– John Robert Osbourn

A: Thanks for the questions John! I’ve answered each question below.

First, the Nissan Ariya:

All of us were pleasantly surprised by the quality and drivability of the Nissan Ariya. Both Roman and Tommy were pretty pleased with it, but there is one issue: timing. I believe it is about two years too late to the game. It’s also too pricey to be seriously competitive with Hyundai, Kia and even Ford. It needs more range, and more kit for the price.

2024 Chevy Equinox EV

GM’s attempt at going all electric by 2035:

This is a tough one.

I know that General Motors has an altruistic message in their efforts, but it looks implausible to me. I think they can make all of their passenger cars electric by 2035, no problem. If their upcoming Chevy Equinox EV is any indication of what their future EV cars hold for many of us, that could be a good thing.

Unfortunately, their biggest product sold in the United States is pickup trucks. While they will have an electric Silverado soon, it’s going to be stupidly expensive. Affordable electric pickup trucks are not in the cards right now. Not only that, many people need EVs to perform as good, if not better than current internal combustion vehicles. That goes double for pickup trucks.

It’s hard to imaging how they will get there with all of their vehicles.

Music? My favorite thing!

You wanted to know what my favorite bands are – eh? The list is very long, but I can sum it up this way: I dig rock, hard rock, prog rock, punk, heavy metal, (old) jazz, classical, blues and even some hip-hop (mainly, the Beastie Boys). There’s more, but those are my main likes.

My favorite band of all time is RUSH. Even Roman knows this. I guess RUSH would be followed by groups/musicians like Jimmy Hendrix, Jethro Tull, The Offspring, Black Sabbath, The Ramones, Queen, The Kinks, Van Halen, Motorhead – and others.

On any given day, (and sometimes depending on the car I’m reviewing) I might listen to Etta James, Oingo Boingo or Johann Sebastian Bach. It just depends on my mood.

Anyway, thanks for the great questions!

– N

Speaking of EVs: