Honda introduced the Element in 2003 as a way of getting in touch with a younger generation increasingly involved in outdoor sports and activities. It is a crossover SUV meant to replace the CR-V as Honda's entry-level SUV. Honda took a bit of a chance with the Element's quirky, unconventional exterior stylings, but with design elements created to fit an active lifestyle, it became a popular vehicle. For 2007, it receives some updates and aims to maintain its popularity.
Honda has ecided to pull the plug on the Element for the 2011 model year. The company cited declining demand and a consumer preference for crossovers as the reason for its termination.
See Wikicars' comprehensive Honda Element Review.
- 1 Recent Changes
- 2 Styles and Major Options
- 3 Pricing
- 4 Gas Mileage
- 5 Reliability
- 6 Safety
- 7 Photos
- 8 Colors
- 9 Main Competitors
- 10 Hybrid Models
- 11 Unique Attributes
- 12 Interior
- 13 Resale Values
- 14 Criticisms
- 15 Current Generation: (2003–present)
- 16 Origins
- 17 Worldwide
- 18 Design quirks and oddities
- 19 Awards
- 20 See also
- 21 External links
The 2007 Element will receive a mild refresh. The Element will be the only SUV on the Honda Civic platform, with the CR-V switching to a new platform for 2007. A 10 hp increase to the engine is expected, along with a 5-speed automatic transmission, and an Integrated Seat Belt System on the front seats that allows rear seat occupants to exit the vehicle without the need for a front occupant to disconnect his or her seatbelt.
A new "urban cruiser" trim level called the SC will be offered with a custom bumper, lower roofline and 21" alloy wheels.
Styles and Major Options
The 2007 Element is available in three trims: the LX, EX, and SC. The LX is the base model, the EX is an upgraded version, and the SC contains some of the EX's upgrades but focuses on a sportier feel. All three are equipped with the same 2.4L 166hp I-4 engine, and all are available in a choice between 5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmissions with overdrive. In addition, the LX and EX models are available with all wheel drive, while the SC is only offered in front wheel drive. Here are some of the standout features for each trim:
- 16" steel wheels
- Premium cloth interior
- 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo
- Cruise Control
- Power locks, windows, and mirrors
- 16" silver alloy wheels
- Metal-look dashboard inserts
- Mini overhead console with storage
- 7-speaker AM/FM/CD/XM stereo with MP3 capability and amp
- Sport suspension
- 18" machined alloy wheels
- Carpet floor trim and floor mats
- Full floor console
- Body-colored bumpers
As seen on the FuelEconomy.gov website, the City/Highway MPG averages for the Element are as follows:
The 2003 Honda Element received an overall Green rating from Automotive Information Systems. Reliability was guaged based on several categories, including Engine, Transmission, and Accessories.
- RECALL ALERT: On August 18, 2008, the NHTSA announced a recall alert affecting 241 MY 2008 Honda Element stemming from an improperly welded front bushing bracket of the left trailing arm of the rear suspension that could separate from the trailing arm. In the event this occurs, the bushing bracket could cause the suspension to release the lower portion of the wheel hub, causing a loss of control and damage to the brake system leading to a potentially fatal crash. Honda is urging owners to contact 1-800-999-1009.
In safety tests performed by the NHTSA, the 2006 Element performed very well. Although results for Rollover are not available, the NHTSA awarded the Element with 5-Star ratings for all front- and side-impact tests. There was, however, some concern in the side-impact test, described as follows:
During the side impact test, the head of the left rear passenger dummy struck the side upper interior structure, causing a high head acceleration. Head impact events resulting in high accelerations have a higher likelihood of serious head trauma.
The 2007 Element has only been tested for front-impact crashes, and in these tests the Element has earned a 5-Star rating. However, since side-impact and side overhead airbags have been added, it should achieve a higher side-impact crash rating than last year's model.
Some of the standard safety features on the Element are:
- 4-wheel anti-lock brakes
- Front, side-impact, and overhead mounted airbags
- Occupancy sensors
- Side impact bars
- Seatbelt pretensioners
Colors will vary according to trim, and the interior fabric color depends on the exterior color. Here are the combinations:
- Alabaster Silver Metallic
- Nighthawk Black Pearl
- Kiwi Metallic
- Tangerine Metallic
- Tango Red Pearl
- Atomic Blue Metallic
For a full color chart, see Honda Element Color Chart.
- Acura RDX
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Ford Escape
- Honda CR-V
- Ford Freestyle
- Jeep Liberty
- Chevrolet HHR
- Chrysler PT Cruiser
- Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Toyota RAV4
There are currently no hybrid versions of the Element in production.
The Element has a number of features that are unusual. One is the inclusion of "Clam Shell Doors" that open opposite of each other with no middle column. This creates a wide open space from the side to make loading and unloading of cargo much easier. Secondly, the Element's rear cargo bed is lined with plastic, which makes cleanup convenient. But don't buy into the myth that you can just hose down the interior, because you can't. There have been several reports of multi-thousand dollar damage to the vehicle because they took a hose to the interior.
This section should include information on the interior's design, build quality, ergonomics, space (head and legroom, front and rear), features, stowage compartments and overall comfort and livability. Add pictures wherever applicable and keep information in a third-person point of view.
According to Kelley Blue Book, "the Element is expected to hold 62 percent of its value at 24 months and 38 percent at 60 months (for the four wheel drive LX). That's better than the Jeep Liberty and stablemate CR-V, but below Toyota's Rav4.
- "On serious road bumps, the ride could be harsh. There's plenty of road noise, too." Ann Job, Autos.MSN
- "New-age styling may not appeal to everyone. Also, there is no V6 option, and the Element's four-wheel drive system is not designed for serious off-road adventuring." - Kelley Blue Book
- "...the tailgate has its drawbacks. It effectively raises the liftover height for cargo in the rear, and it requires a little more leaning to heft larger objects into the back." - New Car Test Drive
Current Generation: (2003–present)
Although the Element is based on the CR-V, its dimensions are significantly different. The length is a foot shorter, the wheelbase has been trimmed 1.7 inches, the roofline is 7.8" higher, the front track 1.7" narrower, and the floor about an inch lower.
Powering the Element is Honda's K24A4 i-VTEC 2.4 L four-cylinder engine that also sees duty in the Accord and CR-V. For the Element's purposes, it produces 156 hp at 5500 rpm and 160 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm.
The Element rides on a highly modified CR-V chassis, and because it has no visible B-pillars, it sports reinforced joints, strengthened lower side sills, larger crossmembers, enlarged rocker panels, and five bulkheads per side.The Element is available with front-wheel drive or Honda's optional Real Time™ four-wheel drive system. This is a hydraulically-actuated system that operates only when front wheel slippage occurs. It was discontinued in Japan with the 2006 model. The Element is currently built in East Liberty, Ohio.
- Original MSRP range: US$16,100-$20,850
- Colors available: Sunset Orange Pearl, Shoreline Mist Metallic, Satin Silver Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Galapagos Green Metallic, and Eternal Blue Pearl
- The 2003 Element was launched with two trim levels - DX and EX. A service bulletin was release regarding the windshield flange surface being uneven . This bulletin along with the warranty obligated Honda of America to replace the windshield at no cost to the owner. Four-wheel drive models come with a large rear sunroof.
- Original MSRP range: US$16,100-$20,300
- Colors available: Same as 2003 except Fiji Blue replaced Eternal Blue.
- The LX model was introduced with more standard features. Improvements were made to the front seats as well as the inclusion of an armrest for the passenger's side captain's chair.
- Original MSRP range: US$17,450-$20,925
- Colors available: Same as 2004, plus Cargo Khaki, Magnesium Metallic, and Rally Red
- The DX model was eliminated from the model lineup. Side airbags were an available option, and XM satellite radio and MP3 capabilities were added as standard features in the audio system for the EX model. The charcoal gray that was the standard plastic tone was darkened and a navy blue was offered with the Satin Silver Metallic . Wheel covers on the LX were changed to mimic the styled alloy wheels.
- Original MSRP range: US$17,750-$21,525
- Colors available: only Rallye Red and Nighthawk Black Pearl carry over with new colors Tango Red Pearl, Tangerine Metallic, Kiwi Metallic, Atomic Blue Metallic, and Alabaster Silver Metallic
- A fully painted version called the EX-P became available (an extra $500 compared to non-painted counterpart). It comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
The Element concept vehicle (Model X) was introduced in 2001. The Model X concept was conceived around achieving ideal functionality for a cross-country road trip, hauling surfboards, mountain bikes, snowboards or just about anything else as it combines some of the best features of a pickup truck and an SUV. The Model X was first conceived by a core group of young R&D engineers in 1998. They wanted to develop a vehicle that they could use for their activities and conducted informal on-site focus groups at colleges, beaches, campsites and in the mountains.
The 4-seat Element is designed to carry large and possibly messy loads. The floor is made of textured urethane that is easy to clean; the fabric is tough and stain-resistant; the individual rear seats recline, fold up, and are completely removable to leave a large load space. The rear clamshell tailgate arrangement is large and the vehicle is tall, allowing large loads to be carried. The rear side Clam Shell Doors open backward, so there is no central pillar and this gives unobstructed access for side loading.
Design quirks and oddities
In the spring of 2006, a national advertisment campaign featured freeway billboards directing drivers to tune into an AM station to listen to various Honda Element-themed commercials looped continuously. The commercial would then reveal a final piece to the clever advertising trifecta to a website that featured video counterparts of the radio commericals. They could also be seen on television and would reveal the website also. The commercials featured candid conversations between the Element and various creatures, including a crab, rabbit, burro, platypus, and an opposum.
- In 2003, Honda had the Element featured in EA Sports BIG's SSX 3 snowboarding game. It featured in game billboards with the Honda Element logo, as well as the signature car itself parked on the slope with its front and rear doors open to have the snow boarder dart through for extra points.
- In 2004, Element was featured for the first time in Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo series in Gran Turismo 4 as a 2003 model.
- In 2006, Honda and EA teamed up again to have the Element featured in The Sims spin-off, The Urbz...
The Element was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2003.
- Honda Element official webpage
- Honda Element Owner's Club of America
- Honda Element Owners Club National Meet site
- Honda Element Owners Club of Russia
- Honda Element Owners Club of Japan
- Windshield Service Bulletin
- Honda axes the Element