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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 701 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

Flawless operation!

By on Saturday, December 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Best thing I have ever owened! Absolutly reliable."

Cons: "Noisy and gas MPH a little weak."

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

"Only problem's in 130000+ miles replaced battery and 1 back up bulb burned out. Noisy. Not a sports car rear end drifts around just a little. Cargo capacity unmatched by anything close to its size .NO complaints absolutely got my moneys worth. Hope to see a replacement for it come out soon. Maybe a little more power and better gas mileage. LESS noise please."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

outstanding vehicle

By on Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "does everything well"

Cons: "utilitarian"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Only major complaint is that the brakes work fine but rear discs need attention every few years otherwise Nothing but regular maintenance in the snowy salty northeast... if they only made a diesel I would buy a new one just to have..."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

In its element!

By on Saturday, November 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

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
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliable, fun to drive, looks different,;"

Cons: "none"

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

"Bought it new in 2007. Has been very reliable and holds its value. Looks different, but still gets looks after all these years. Fun to drive despite of its tall height. Very practical with its clamshell doors and hatch, and foldable, removable rear seats."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Why did they stop making this AWESOME car!?!

By on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

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: "Great visibility, durable, practical and FUN!"

Cons: "Its sinful how much I enjoy my Element"

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

"Great visibility - you can see everything; no blind spots. Durable - love the floor mats, never worry about a spilled drink again. Short wheelbase - fits in any parking spot, even the short ones and so easy to parallel park. Its crazy how much space there is on the inside! I am telling you, it an optical illusion! High windshield - I'm tall and its nice to see every stoplight without slumping. My 2004 Element had a higher windshield than my current 2008 Element, and I miss that. But still lovin' my ride! Nice wheels, super-responsive all-wheel-drive and wicked sound system."

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

We love our Element. Great ride, great room.

By on Thursday, October 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fold up back seats are amazing."

Cons: "Interior finishes scratch easily."

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

"This has been the best vehicle I have ever owned. It is great for traveling (you sit up high and it has great window views.) The 4-wheel drive is great in the winter on Michigan roads. The lack of carpet and fold up back seats make it perfect for hauling everything from grand dogs to a washing machine. My only two suggestions: lower back seats for a better view while riding and use a different material on the interior so that it doesn't scratch so easily."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

It's the automotive equivalent of a Timex watch.

By on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300,000

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
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Reliability, reliability, reliability and frugal"

Cons: "Aerodynamic as a brick."

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

"Owned this car for 10 years, and it just keeps going. No repairs ever warranted other than wearing out drivers seat. Consistently gest 25 mpg. Honda needs to bring this vehicle back. Durable and reliable. 4WD system at high elevations in snow & ice - INCREDIBLE."

7 people out of 13 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

Buying this car?