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For 2010, Honda is offering the Element with a "Dog Friendly" package that adds an extendable rear access ramp, soft-sided kennel with padded dog bed, a spill-resistant water bowl, 12-volt rear cooling fan, unique floor mat with dog bone pattern and second-row seat covers.
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.
In an initiative not unlike that of Toyota's Scion xB, American Honda introduced the Element (December 2002) to what it perceived would be a demographic somewhat different from its mainstream buyer. Described in its launch material as a "rolling dorm room," the Element - with wide-opening cargo doors and wipe-down floors - was all about your more basic instincts, while priced at the low end of Honda's new car showroom. Much to Honda's surprise, buyers - like those for the xB - came from across the consumer spectrum. Activity-oriented 20-somethings showed interest, but so did their 60-something grandparents. Surfboards and snowboards were easily accommodated, as were headboards and armchairs. And if the Element wasn't as expansive as your apartment, at least it could handily move your apartment. The fun, however, has to end sometime, and for this generation of the Element it's the 2011 model year.
By Box O Joe on Saturday, May 24, 2008
overall rating 8 of 10rating details
"I've had a manual '04 EX 4x4 since new. I have approximately 95,000 miles on it to date. It handles well in all types of conditions. The turning radius and manuverability is better than my wife's '05 Accord. With the right tires, the thing is unstoppable in 12-18" of snow. Runs on regular gas and gets reasonable mileage for what it is, but engine is arguably under powered. Can't really tow anything with this vehicle. The vehicle is not well sound-insulated and can be pretty loud (wind, road, and engine noice are pronounced). The ambient noise levels can make for difficult cell phone conversations at highway speed. The OEM stereo does well at drowning out the sounds of traveling though. The interior is well thought out. It is more spacious than the outside would lead you to believe. The seats all fold flat so lounging and/or sleeping is nice. The rear seats fold up or come out altogether. I wish the front passenger seat was also removeable. The suicide doors are a neat gimmick, but not particularly useful and result in a lot of confusion for passengers who are unfamiliar. The OEM flip up/removeable sunroof is large, but in the rear so your cargo gets to enjoy it more than you do. I'm on my fourth windshield (something I've never had a problem with on any other vehicle). One was replaced under warranty, the second was covered by a class action. The window replacement guys remarked that the Element windshields are more prone to chips/cracking in general and compared them to Jeep Wranglers in that regard. Otherwise no mechanical, electrical or other surprises. I've changed oil every 5-7,000 miles. No major tune ups required until after 100,000 miles. I've replaced the engine air and cabin air filters two times each. The OEM tires were replaced at 30,000 with BFG T/A KO's, which are still going strong [these add slightly to the road noise, but it was still loud with the OEM tires]. At 60,000 had the rear differential fluid changed. Proactively replaced the battery at 80,000 miles, but wasn't having any problems. The brake pads lasted 90,000. I spend between two and six hours a day in this thing for work. I love it and highly recommend it. The latest CR-V and Element are clearly similar vehicles, just marketed to different demographics. While less utilitarian, the CR-V offers a more polished package, seats five (instead of the E's four) and remains nearly as versatile. We now have an '08 CR-V as well. We've only got 1,000 miles on it, but so far, so good. I recommend that as well."
46 people out of 46 found this review helpful
By whickums on Tuesday, August 28, 2007
overall rating 7 of 10rating details
"What I like: -The room. We call it "the bus". We have 2 large dogs and since we don't usually carry people in the backseat we removed them both. Our dogs have a ton of space and we even made them a custom non-slip rubber floor. -The versatility. I like that you can flip the back seats up to the side of the car or remove them. I also like that all 4 seats can fold completely flat. -The ruggedness. I like that I can clean the car easily without worrying about ruining upholstry and carpeting. -Fuel economy. I'd say it's just decent. For a 4 cylinder engine I would expect to get better than 19 city/21 hwy but maybe my driving conditions aren't optimal. But, it's still better than my last SUV. -All Wheel Drive. Very nice feature. -The "get up and go" is somewhat impressive for a 4 cylinder. It's a little slow when first taking off but after about 30 miles an hour you can really feel it go. What I don't like: -The back windows 1)don't roll down and 2)aren't electronic. This was almost a deal breaker for me. My dogs love to stick their heads out the window and now they can't. And, if I want to open the windows I have to stick my arms back there and do it. If I want to open the passenger side and no one's in the car with me I have to stop and slide over to the passenger side myself. Quite a hassle. -Lack of concealed storage. I like all the little pockets in the front area but the glove compartment is small. There is no center console available either. I bought the armrest which does have covered storage and I highly recommend it. I still can't figure out where to hide my purse or my bags when I'm running errands or out at the park. -Suicide doors. They're alright but kind of a pain when you want to just throw your things in the back. You have to open the front door to open those doors and it's kind of inconvenient sometimes. -Sometimes choppy transmission. I notice this especially when I take my foot off the gas. The car seems to lurch as it downshifts."
15 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By P.Loshus on Monday, January 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, easy to drive, easy for hauling"
Cons: "kissing doors, windshield replacements"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car since new in 2003. Has 126,000+ miles now. Was always easy to drive & reliable. Nice height getting in for me at 5'4", and older people like parents & grandparents (not too high, not too low). Turns on a dime, easy to park. Always starts- except when I had had it for 8 years and never had had the battery looked at or replaced-my fault. Never have had to do major work to it. Pretty much kept the oil change schedule, and have flubbed on the Honda suggested Maintenance Schedule royally. One time had a shrill squealing from the a/c unit on a long road trip over the intensely hot Kansas plains. Turns out it was a belt or something, and the dealer fixed it for no charge-Warranty? Recall? I don't remember. I did take it into the dealer's shop last year because I thought it might be losing power (it's had 10 hard years by now), and he said, no- it tested out okay, and I asked if it was possibly the transmission, and he said, "I deal with a lot of Elements, and I NEVER see transmission problems- just never." That to me said a lot coming from him. The seats/interior have lasted through 3 rough sports boys, their rough mother, many over-the-road vacations, up the Rocky Mountains several times, and hauling coarse materials (like granite, wood, etc), hauling furniture- so much. The driver's seat finally flattened out a bit after 10 years, so we had it re-stuffed and recovered. The back seats flip up onto the sides of the back cargo area, so that makes it easy to convert to a hauler. Probably the deal with these little SUV's is the windshields. We've replaced 3. It's the angle of the windshield that catches flying debris (rocks, etc)- it makes a chip, and eventually a crack works its way to the edges. The little subwoofer gets pretty good sound. The whole car is wipe-able (not washable with a hose) inside. Was great because I never freaked out about kids/pets staining the material. It can be difficult to see around you at different times due to the pillars being wide, but you learn to waggle your cute little head back and forth to check all your angles. The other inconvenient thing is the kissing doors. I've trained myself to park a little further apart from the car next to me if I plan to open the back doors. When my hubby asked me what I would want for a new car, I said "One just like this one!" So, I still have it, and when I get rid of it, it may go to one of my college kids."
12 people out of 12 found this review helpful