The Honda Element was a compact crossover SUV based on a modified CR-V platform, and offered in front-wheel and all-wheel drive formats from model years 2003 through 2011.
The Element followed a concept vehicle called Model X, developed by a core group of Honda R&D engineers in 1998 and debuted at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The Model X was designed to be an activity-oriented vehicle combining features of a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle.
The 4-seat Element is optimized to carry large loads. The floor is made of easily cleanable textured urethane; the fabric is stain-resistant; the individual rear seats recline, fold up and are removable. The rear clamshell tailgate arrangement is large and the vehicle is tall, allowing large loads.
The rear side doors open outwards from the front but are not referred to as suicide doors, as they cannot be opened if the conventional front doors are not. To accommodate elimination of the B-pillars, which provides unobstructed access for side loading, the Element features a chassis with reinforced joints, strengthened lower side sills, larger cross members, enlarged rocker panels, and five bulkheads per side.
The compact SUV features a 2.4 Litre K Engine, an i-VTEC four-cylinder engine producing 166 hp (124 kW) at 5500 rpm and 160 lb·ft (217 N·m) of torque at 4500 rpm and front-wheel drive, or an optional all-wheel drive system — a hydraulically actuated system that operates only when front wheel slippage occurs, marketed as ‘Real Time’ all wheel drive.
All wheel drive was discontinued in Japan with the 2006 model. The Element has a towing capacity of 680 kg, or 1500 lbs.
With projected first year sales of 50,000, the Element sold 67,478 units in 2003 in the U.S. By 2010, just over 14,000 were sold, and by December 2010, shortly before its discontinuation, it had sold a total of more than 325,000 units.
In 2007, the Element won the Dogcars.com ‘Dog Car of the Year’ award because of its ‘versatile cargo space, easy-clean flooring, crate-friendly rear design and optional all-wheel drive’, and in 2010 it won the ‘Small SUV’ category as a ‘Top Safety Pick’ in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Annual Awards.
Model year changes
The LX model was introduced with more standard features. Improvements were made to the front seats, as well as the inclusion of an arm-rest for the passenger’s side captain’s chair.
The DX model was eliminated from the model line-up. 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.
Miles per Gallon: 19 in City, 23 highway, 20 combined.
2006 Honda Element EX-P
A fully painted version called the EX-P became available (an extra US$500 compared to non-painted counterpart). It comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.
2007–2008 Honda Element EX
EX-P is retired and painted panels become standard on all EX models. Only the LX has the unfinished body trim.
The 2007 Element received a mild refresh, which included 10 hp increase to 166 hp, 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. Side airbags are also now standard, as well as electronic stability control. The plastic latticework grille was replaced by silver-colored slats, similar in style to the 2005-06 Honda CR-V and 2006-08 Honda Pilot.
2007–2008 Honda Element SC
A new ‘urban cruiser’ trim level called the SC is offered with a custom bumper and grille, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. It will also feature upgrades to the original Element such as projector-beam halogen headlights, custom tribal print seat fabric, standard centre console and carpet in the seating areas.
Unlike the other trim packages, the SC has a rigid centre console, which cannot be removed and which rises above the bottom portion of the seats. Like the rigid seat-level consoles in most other SUVs, this crowds the seat belt receptacle into the seat space, making this trim level less comfortable for larger drivers than the LX and EX models.
The only change from the 2007 Element was the addition of the colour Royal Blue Pearl for the SC trim.
2009 Honda Element SC
For 2009, the Honda Element got a navigation option and some cosmetic changes to the exterior. The front end is similar to that of the second generation Honda Pilot and Honda Ridgeline. The hood and front grill have been redesigned, the front fenders are now all-metal rather than painted composite material, and the wheel arches were squared off. The moon-roof was no longer available for 2009-2011.
New colour combinations for the dashboard became available.
- Adapted from car care