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2008 Honda Element

Overview
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2008 Honda Element Review

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Honda designed the Element to appeal to young male buyers. The original concept, in fact, was touted as a "rolling dorm room," designed to appeal to those with active lifestyles and a limited budget. Much to everyone's surprise, the Element not only hit its target audience, it picked up a number of unexpected buyers ranging from single moms to retired couples and everyone in between. The 2008 Honda Element is attractive to these folks for a number of reasons. It's economically-sized yet large-cargo friendly, and the rear seats can be folded flat to create a two-person bed. The Element also gets good gas mileage, even when equipped with the optional four-wheel-drive system.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you love traveling the great outdoors and need a smart, affordable vehicle to transport you and your many pieces of gear without hassle, the 2008 Honda Element will work for you.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2008

No major changes for 2008.

Driving the Element

Driving Impressions The Element's 2.4-liter engine is very smooth for a four-cylinder and quite strong for its size, with a good deal of torque for pulling and passing. The Element will easily...

cruise at 75 mph, and even accelerate up a highway grade in fifth gear. The Element's ride and handling characteristics are much more akin to an Accord sedan than a truck-based SUV. Once we adjusted to the long dash and squared-off hood, we found it easy to dart in and out of traffic and take sweeping curves and sharp turns with confidence. The steering and brakes operate with precision and predictable response, returning excellent feedback under all driving conditions.

Fold Flat Seats
The Element's fold-flat seats can be converted into a bed by removing the headrests and laying the seats flat and flush.

Worry-Free Interior
Waterproof seating materials and a urethane-coated utility floor give the Element a durable, easy-to-clean interior.

2008 Honda Element Details
2008 Honda Element photo Interior

From the dash-mounted shift lever to the fold-flat rear seats that can be flipped up and secured to the sides, the Element's interior is unlike anything else on the road. When the rear seats are flipped up on their sides, there's a cargo area large enough to place two upright-standing mountain bikes. The front seats feature integrated safety belts and are surprisingly comfortable. They are made of a durable, washable fabric that breathes nicely, a benefit on hot days. On LX and EX trims, the floor is covered in rubber-like urethane, not carpet, so it can be cleaned up easily. The SC model features carpeting in the passenger cabin, but not in the cargo bay.

Exterior

Easily recognizable at any distance, the Element's boxy greenhouse, two-tone body panels and forward-opening rear doors are only some of its unique styling features. The unpainted plastic body panels of the LX trim level cleverly and conveniently avoid the issue of scratching the surface during such activities as loading bikes or skis onto the roof rack, or leaning equipment against the fenders. EX and SC models feature body-colored panels. The lack of a center pillar allows for large and bulky items to be loaded through the side doors, but the design precludes rear-seat occupants from exiting until the front doors are first opened.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Element features a five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, five cup holders, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo with CD, rear defroster, rear privacy glass, dual power side mirrors, cruise control, tilt wheel, rear wiper/washer, power windows, steel wheels, side-curtain airbags, front side-impact airbags and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). The EX trim adds alloy wheels and a 270-watt, seven-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 capability and an auxiliary input jack.

Optional Equipment

Options include Real Time four-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic transmission. Ordering the SC package adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a lowered sport suspension, piano-black interior trim, custom cloth seats, carpeting, center console, projector-beam halogen headlamps, a custom grille and custom-painted bumpers.

Under the Hood

Honda employs the excellent 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine from the CR-V to serve duty in the Element. This is a strong four-cylinder engine with a surprising amount of low-end torque that translates into quick acceleration across intersections and capable passing power on the highway. Fuel mileage is comparable to most small SUV's in this class and, considering the Element's boxy shape, roomy interior and large frame, that's a commendable achievement.

2.4-liter in-line 4
166 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
161 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 (FWD, manual), 20/25 (FWD, automatic), 18/23 (4WD, manual), 19/24 (4WD, automatic)

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2008 Honda Element Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 710 Ratings for the 2003 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Hard to beat vehicle

By on Sunday, February 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliability, interior headroom, all wheel drive"

Cons: "Lower gas mileage, looks boxy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"We have owned an element since 2003. While a little boxy and slightly unstylish this is an excellent all around town(and the hills) kind of vehicle...the places it can get to and the roominess of the interior are its biggest pluses followed by unbelievable versatility in the drive train...as our family has grown we have outgrown this gem of a mini SUV,and are now moving on to a bigger Honda product in the pilot, but we will miss our 13 year old friend, and appreciate its reliability and all wheel systems. Best yet we paid about 24k new and expect to still get 1/3 of this back in the resale of this car.....way to go Honda!!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

really like this car

By on Sunday, February 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "great price, fun to drive"

Cons: "visibilty design, unsolved vibration problem,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"purchased this car new in 03. In spite of design flaws such as windshield posts cause blind spots, as well as blind spots on door posts, this car has get up and go. Have driven it on several vacations, camped in it, hauled tools, and basically used it as a work vehicle. Love design and huge cargo carrying capacity, vinyl flooring easy to clean, etc. Had normal brake and shock replacement. At 137,000 miles a vibration started and after spending money for new tires, alignment, etc. no one, including Honda dealer has been able to figure it out."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great Road Trip Vehicle. Fun to drive.

By on Thursday, February 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,250

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to take on trips."

Cons: "Large pillar at windshield, small blind spot."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Our Element has been literally all over the USA. Several trips of 3000 to 5000 miles each. Average Interstate speed was 75 miles per hour. Average fuel mileage was 27 miles per gallon even with the AC running. We have really enjoyed this vehicle."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I enjoy buzzing around in this "lego" mobile.

By on Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great pep, handling and cargo space for small car."

Cons: "The rear passenger doors are a pain."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"For a four-cylinder, this car moves. It doesn't have the power for towing much, like a U-Haul, but otherwise it accelerates quickly, maneuvers great, and handles itself well in West Michigan snow. The EX has a great sound system, visibility fore and aft are great (sideways, especially through the rear passenger windows from the driver's seat, is not so great due to the pillars and headrests), front seats are comfortable (rear ones not so much), and cargo room with the seats out is fabulous. The rear passenger doors' opening the wrong way has been a pain--no advantage I can see. The over all Honda performance and reliability are the best. I need to get a bigger vehicle for towing, or I'd hang on to this forever."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

It's a great car.

By on Thursday, January 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The Honda Element is great car, have a lot space inside. I like it. I have one since 2006. Now they were discontinued. Of course that's marketing, probably they return it in couple of years."

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I've ever owned!

By on Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun& easy to drive. Dependable."

Cons: "Absolutely none."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love my Element! It's fun to drive and easy to clean. It turns on a dime, so it's easy to maneuver and park. It holds a lot of cargo, and it's easy to load/unload items. The only thing that isn't my favorite is the "stadium seating" (in the rear) that require passengers to lean down to see out the windshield. I've looked at new cars but haven't found any I like as much as my Element! I wish they'd start making them again. Love the "suicide" doors (back door opens from front to back); Love, love, love the vinyl panels over the wheel wells; Love the rubber floor mats; Love that there isn't a lot of fabric to get dirty; Love the comfortable seats; Love the headroom - should I go on? This is a fabulous car!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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