That's a very weird article. It states that ABS brakes are optional on the EX models. My owner's manual says that they are standard on the EX. (I'd like some clarification on this.)
The article also mentions slow acceleration and sluggish turning. I would disagree with both pronouncements. My E accelerates at least as well as my previous 2001 Toyota Tacoma PU, and turns considerably tighter and smoother.
I've been very surprised by how peppy even the AWD auto E really is. Sure, it doesn't compare to a sports car or even one of the newer Civics, but compared to similar minivans, it's pretty decent. With two adults, it'll easily accelerate into traffic and hold 72mph basically indefinitely. Is more needed?
Then the article mentions what a physical challenge it is to reconfigure the back seating and storage compartment. What in the world are they talking about? A 110lb. woman can reconfigure this thingee at will in under a minute.
You are correct about the ABS on the EX. I tested mine the other day as we had some snow in CT. It is on my EX and it was not extra! Everthing else you wrote I agree with you and I did not read that article. Barry
Curiously the reviewer in the quicktime movie sounds far more enthusistic than the text of the road test does - almost like they're two different cars. And it's difficult to imagine how they could draw some of the conclusions they did about the perfornance and driving experience when their descriptions are far from the common experiences reported almost everywhere else. If you couldn't see an Element being driven in the movie, you'd wonder if they even saw one before they wrote the review!