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2009 Honda Element

Overview
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2009 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 2009 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 reasonably 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 2009 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 2009

The 2009 Element gets a major makeover, with an all-new front end featuring metal as opposed to composite fenders, new wheel arches and new taillights. The rear skylight panel has been discontinued, but a new navigation audio unit with rear backup camera and USB audio input connector is now available on EX and SC trims. LX and EX trims receive a new center console, while the EX gains a removable cooler/storage box.

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 a 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.

2009 Honda Element Details
2009 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, bright paint choices and forward-opening rear doors are only some of its unique styling features. The new front fenders are now made of metal, but the rear quarter panels remain painted composite plastic, which are less prone to dents and help reduce weight. 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. Those who prefer a more customized ride can opt for front-wheel drive SC trim, which features a more sporting appearance and sits slightly lower to the ground. Its 18-inch wheels and low profile tires not only change the Element's personality, they help it perform better on paved roads.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Honda Element LX features a five-speed automatic 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, a tire pressure monitoring system, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). The EX trim adds a five speed manual (4WD only), alloy wheels and a 270-watt, seven-speaker sound system with CD/MP3 capability, removable center console cooler, 16-inch alloy wheels and an auxiliary input jack.

Optional Equipment

Options include Real Time four-wheel drive, a five-speed automatic transmission and a voice-activated navigation system with rear backup camera (EX and SC with automatic transmission only). 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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Buying this car?

2009 Honda Element Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 715 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

Roomy, lots of head room, runs like a top, Like it

By on Friday, April 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

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

"Overall I like this car. all of the above and plenty of cargo area. It has a small fuel tank and gets about 23 miles per gallon. 4 wheel drive worked good in the snow, but not on slick semi wet dirt. It drives good and handles decent. It really needed a six speed as it's a bit low geared even in overdrive on the highway. I have a couple of friends over 6 ft tall and one is about 6 ft 6 in and there was plenty of head room and also leg room in the back seat. Cool seats in the back that fold up to the side for cargo and even car camping. rubber pseudo diamond floor mats through out entire floor are great for outdoor adventures and shedding dogs."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

My car is totally In its Element.

By on Tuesday, April 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 117,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I bought this car About two years ago for 9999 and its worth 9087 today And it still is kicking at 117000 miles. I bought it because I figured less parts to break less things to fix. Coming from an Audi s4 everything inside electronically is almost a grand. I have had to fix both my automatic windows lucky for me my bf is a grease monkey and fixed it for 50 bucks each window otherwise expect 275-370 out the door most places. The starter went out that was 625 fix but she's never left me stranded anywhere and gets me where I need to go. Only seats four and geat for my dogs. This is my first economy car and I love it."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

best car ever

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 192,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "price/fun/low upkeep/quirky appearance"

Cons: "it's not going to out last me"

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

"required no service other than required (oil, etc); goes over/around/through everything and anything"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Overall Good Vehicle

By on Friday, March 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I liked it for my daily driver to work and for beach trips, anything involving kids and spills (everything wiped up easy) also great for dog transporting. Gas mileage was bad 15-16 mpg around town, similar to owning a truck, better on the road (Freeway). The power and handling was very mediocre. Air conditioner blows cold right away, liked I could remove the rear seats for carrying cargo or large items like a TV or recliner, saved me some delivery charges. The Element did have 4 recalls, window regulator broke very soon, Honda should have recalled the item. They don't make the Element any more so I would NOT recommend buying a used one unless your a mechanic"

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Not a chic magnet but...

By on Saturday, March 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 138,000

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
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Dependable, Fun, Practical."

Cons: "Fugly, but it grows on you and only 20 MPG."

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

"Granted it looks like a toaster, and the ones without solid color body, are particularly ugly. This car goes anywhere, has a comfortable ride, nice stereo and is about as utilitarian as they get. Why Honda stopped making them is beyond my simple mind. Wish mine had heated seats, mirrors, and a few other luxury items. But for long or short trips I like its style. Its got honda build quality, and more head and leg room than necessary. The MPG is only about 20 with the all time 4WD."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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!!"

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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