We towed with a CRV, same engine and I believe same platform, for 7 years, Our son towed a Casita
16 with his Element for a year.
We knowingly exceeded the 1500 lb limit with our Honda CRV. We traded it in for an Odyssey this month. We had 225,000 miles on it and never had a problem, having towed all over North America.
I have complained to Honda about their NA rating on many occasions, They have never said anything negative about my communication, but silence is not consent.
We have always had brakes on our trailers. No matter how big your tow vehicle trailer brakes should be a requirement for numerous reasons.
Our CRV did not have an automatic transmission, hence no need for a transmission cooler. One of our son tows a Scamp 13 with a 4 cylinder Accord and has added a transmission cooler.
We kept our tongue weight down to 200 lbs and did use an anti sway bar though we never experienced sway when not using it. Our Scamp's axle
weight was 2400 lbs.
Over 7 years we averaged 20-22 mpg depending on the trip or trailer (we had 3 different trailers and the lightest got the worse mileage).
The only negative was the CRV does not have a 300 horsepower engine and is not a hill charger meaning we usually have to downshift to 3rd on long hills.
We did some things to make the CRV a more capable tower, minimizing the distance from ball to axle
, increased rear and front tire pressures, ......
When it comes to towing one needs to consider their driving style and goals. Of course we are religious about trailer safety, another long topic. If you decide to tow with your Element drop me a note and I'll detail what we did and do when towing. If you're a 'thread hunter' most of this is in various posts.
We loved our CRV and it proved very capable, now we know why so many Europeans tow with one, Europeans are even more fortunate because they can get the diesel version.
We went to the Odyssey because Ginny knows we're getting old and that it will be easier as we age further.