The Honda Element is a crossover SUV manufactured by Honda and marketed in North America over a single generation for model years 2003–2011 noted for its boxy exterior styling with bi-parting side doors and its boxy, flexible interior layout.
Manufactured in East Liberty, Ohio, the Element used a modified second generation Honda CR-V platform with front-wheel or all-wheel drive. By late 2010, shortly before its discontinuation, production had totaled approximately 325,000.
Noted for its four bi-parting side doors that open to provide a clear aperature of 55.5 inches, the structure of the Element eliminates the B-pillar by reinforcing and enlarging the side sills, floor and roof cross members, and providing five bulkheads per side. The rear door structure have a reinforced vertical beam and, when closed, connect to the body side sill via a hook and catch system, effectively creating a B-pillar. The rear-hinged rear side doors can open only after the forward doors.
The production Element debuted at the 2002 New York International Auto Show with an interior featuring TPO-coated textured urethane flooring; stain-resistant fabric; individually reclining and removable rear seats that stow.
The four-cylinder i-VTEC 2.4 Litre K Engine produces at 5800 rpm and of torque at 4000 rpm in 2007-2011 model years and at 5500 rpm and of torque at 4500 rpm in 2003-2006 model years. Drive is either front-wheel drive or optionally, all wheel drive — via a hydraulically actuated on demand system that engages with front wheel slippage, marketed as "Real Time 4WD". The Element has a towing capacity of 680 kg, or 1500 lbs and a gross weight of 4450 lbs (2018 kg).
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 4 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.
2005: The LX model featured revised front seats with a passenger seat armrest. The DX model was eliminated. XM satellite radio and MP3 capabilities were added as standard features in the audio system for the EX model. A 5 speed manual transmission was standard. The charcoal gray plastic tone was darkened and a navy blue was offered with the Satin Silver Metallic paint. Hub Caps on the LX were changed to cover the entire wheel. Fuel economy was officially City, Highway; Combined
2006: A fully painted version called the EX-P became available for an extra US$500. It came with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission.
2007: The 2007 Element received a mild refresh, which included 6 horsepower increase to 166 hp, along with a 5-speed automatic transmission replacing the 4-speed automatic transmission. The front seat belts shoulder mounting location was relocated to the front seat backs rather than the rear doors allowing rear-seat occupants to exit the vehicle without a front occupant having to unbuckle. Side airbags became standard, as did electronic stability control. The plastic latticework grille was replaced by silver-colored slats. A new trim level called the SC was offered with a different front bumper and grille, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels, projector Headlamp, "tribal print" seat fabric, center console, and carpeted floors in the seating areas. Unlike the other trim packages, the SC had a non-removable center console and was unavailable with all-wheel drive.
2009: New color combinations for the dashboard became available. For 2009, the Honda Element received an optional navigation system, outside temperature display and minor exterior revisions. The hood and grill were redesigned, the front fenders were now all metal rather than painted composite material, and the wheel arches were squared off. New York: Honda Ramps Up Attention for Dog-Friendly Element Concept, April 8, 2009. The rear moon-roof was no longer available for 2009-2011. 2009 was the last year of availability for the 5-speed manual transmission, it was available on AWD EX and FWD SC trims.
2010: For 2010, Honda Element offered LX, EX, EX with Navigation, and SC trim levels. Only the EX-4WD trim was available with a 5-speed manual transmission.
RPA, the company which created the Element and friends website, won the "Best in Show" Press Release: RPA Celebrates Three MIXX Awards Wins and Two Creative Media Awards, September 29, 2006. from MIXX Awards for the microsite. They revealed that visitors average 15 minutes on the site. The TV campaign was created by Adam Lowrey and Chuck Blackwell (currently at RPA) and the digital and social campaign was created by Luis Ramirez and J. Barbush, Currently at Cast Iron LA. The microsite was built in flash and created by David Howard (RPA) and Chris Pierantozzi (currently at Saatchi).
The second row pet restraint system was a small net crate suitable for cats or small dogs, which could be belted into place. It strapped directly to the lower portion of the seat and the captive animal could not see out the windows, unlike the pet "booster seats" sold by pet-supply vendors specifically designed to allow small dogs to see through the windows and sniff the incoming airflow. The pet bed is a thick cushion for the whole of the rear cargo area. The cargo area pet restraint system consists of netting on the sides and the top of the dog bed, as well as a zip-up fourth side to be secured after the dog is loaded.
The package was dealer-installed and retailed for $1,000. Honda's dog-friendly Element is aimed at pets -- and their owners