About the Honda Element
The Honda Element's cubist body design was originally seen as unusual. However, since the Element's launch, several compact, cube-like SUVs have been released by other manufacturers. During its nine-year run of production, the Element offered drivers an attractive combination of economy, versatility, convenience, and fun. Surprisingly compact for offering so much interior space, the Element comfortably sat four, offered plenty of headroom, and still managed to be seven inches shorter than the Honda Civic sedan.
The final production year for the Honda Element was in 2011. A compact, car-based SUV, the Element changed little during its near-decade long run of production. In its final year, the Element was made available in two trim levels: LX and EX. Previous year models of the Element were also available in the SC trim level. Honda also offered the option of a manual transmission and a navigation system in previous years; however, for 2011 both of those options were discontinued.Honda Element Features
The base LX version of the 2011 Element came with standard features that included 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, power accessories, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry, height adjustable driver seat, and rear seats that could be folded up or removed. The LX was equipped with a four-speaker audio system with a CD player. Stepping up to the EX trim level meant the addition of features such as 16-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and a center console with a removable cooler and storage box. The premium audio system for the EX boasted seven speakers, satellite radio, and an auxiliary input jack.
The 2011 Honda Element was equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that was rated at 166 horsepower and produced 161 lb-ft of torque. This four-cylinder was mated to a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive was standard for all models; however, both the LX and EX trim levels offered the option of all-wheel drive.
Like past models of the vehicle, the 2011 Element was too heavy to offer much in the way of performance. The Element's weight and abundant interior space meant it wasn't the greatest when it came to fuel economy either. EPA-estimated fuel economy for 2WD versions of the 2011 Element was rated at 20/25 mpg city/highway and 22 combined. The AWD version was worse, offering 19/24 mpg city/highway and 21 combined.
However, the Element excelled at safety. The 2011 Element was essentially unchanged from the 2010 model, which received a perfect five-star rating for front and side impact crash tests. Standard safety features for the 2011 Element included antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, active front head restraints, front side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags.
The inside the 2011 Element was spacious as ever with theater-style seating in the rear that provided passengers with plenty of leg, head, and knee room. Storage space was abundant, with various bins and pockets located throughout the vehicle. However, seeing as the Element's rear half-doors weren't really designed for people to pass through, getting in and out of the rear area meant having to open the front doors to allow passengers to pass through a small rear access.
But while the Element's rear half-doors weren't good for loading people, they were great for loading cargo, which the 2011 Element had plenty of room for. In fact, by removing the vehicle's rear seats, the Element could be made to accommodate some 75 cubic feet of cargo. The Element's standard urethane utility floor made it easy to hose out, which made the vehicle ideal for transporting muddy camping gear and sporting equipment.Honda Element Evolution
During the nine years the Element was produced, Honda failed to introduce many significant changes to the line. However, earlier versions of the vehicle were equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that claimed to offer 160 horsepower but was re-rated to 156 hp in 2006. Early models also came with a four-speed automatic transmission and the option of five-speed manual.
The LX trim level was first introduced in 2004. Side airbags were added to the EX version in 2005 when Honda also introduced the option of satellite radio. In 2007, Honda made a number of changes to the Element, increasing its horsepower by 10, adding a five-speed automatic, and offering standard stability control on the SC trim level.