By on December 3, 2010

The Honda Element sold 67,478 units in 2003, its debut year. Not a bad start for a car that had many of the elements, pun intended, of the “old Honda”: it was fun, iconoclastic, and extremely well-designed for some very specific tasks. When the CR-V moved into a third generation, there was no Element to match it, and when that happens at Honda, it’s usually a sign of SIDS (Special Interest Death Syndrome), a disease which affects non-boring automobiles produced by Japanese manufacturers.

SIDS struck the NSX, the S2000, and the Accord Hybrid. Now it’s claimed another victim.

Element sales have been in the basement for years, and the “SC” model, which did not have a supercharger, didn’t really help matters. So as of today, it’s bye-bye to the chunky cubic Honda. No replacement is in sight. After production ceases in April, the East Liberty plant will focus on building the CR-V and the lumpy Crosstour.

If you want an Element, act (sorta) fast. And you might really want one, you know: mountain bikers and their ilk have known for a while that nothing really matches an Element when it comes to dirt-proof interior space and four-cylinder economy. Don’t expect that a Nissan Cube or Scion xB can do the same things; they can’t. And if Honda had bothered to update the car, we suspect they’d still be selling well.

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73 Comments on “So Long, and FarewElement!...”


  • avatar
    86er

    The Honda in that picture: not in its Element.

  • avatar

    The demise of the Element does not bother me nearly as much as Honda’s disinterest in the S2000 and NSX. They are still building all of the basic pieces from which to build Elements, but they’ve entirely abandoned some really world-class RWD chassis. The S2000 in particular was almost ignored from the beginning, and in both the S2000 and the NSX, Honda failed to provide an update path which went beyond very minor changes. What if they’d had a hot V6 option for the S2000, or a coupe? What if the incredible NSX chassis had had an optional V8 or V10?
    Sadly, the loss of Soichiro Honda seems to have left the company without a mission.

    • 0 avatar

      Well they are offering a state of the art 2 speaker stereo in the new stripped Insight

    • 0 avatar
      That guy

      Agreed.  Honda (and Toyota) has all but abandoned the performance market.  Sure, you can still get a Civic Si (that’s outclassed by virtually every other hot compact) or an Accord Coupe (FWD wannabe that costs as much as a proper RWD Genesis Coupe or Mustang), but they really don’t have anything that’s a proper performance car these days.  It’s too bad, the S2000 was one of the best pure sports cars on the market. 

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, and they could build a TSX with a proper manual/v6 or at least the turbo from the RSX.  You can get a manual in the TL but it’s more expensive than an automatic.
       
      Don’t look at Honda’s euro catalog….you’ll cry.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    When we bought our Honda Fit in 2006, we were briefly tempted by the Element.  We liked the quirky style (or non-style), the scrubbable floors and the general utility of the vehicle.  The deal breaker for us was the lack of a 5th seatbelt which was essential for us.  The way the back seat splits in the middle and folds up on the sides made it impossible to accomodate a middle passenger in the back seat.  Too bad, really, because we may have bought one otherwise.

    It is also one of the few vehicles of its size and type with a manual transmission available.  Oh well, lots of good used ones out there.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I have never really bothered to find out much of Honda’s size as a car manufacturer, but they always seem to do stuff in the same way very small brands do (like AMC etc.), even when I know they sell as many cars in some segments as the really huge manufacturers do. Is it because they don’t give their car divisions as much playroom as the other divisions (MC’s and motors in general) ?

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I did a very introductory project (10 minute presentation) about Honda 2 years ago and I think I read that they consider themselves an engine company above and beyond everything else. They just happen to put those engines in cars to sell. Maybe they’re more interested in focusing on that.

      I may be wrong or I may have misinterpreted what I had read. Like I said it was a very short presentation and I didn’t have much time for proper research.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I believe you(we?) are correct, as far as I recall that’s how they started out too. Neither their bikes or cars have ever been (apart from the engines) world leading in any way.

    • 0 avatar
      lzaffuto

      That used to be true. Lots of manufacturers use some sort of variable valve timing now, but even today hardly any of their models vary lift like VTEC has done since it’s very first application in the late 80s. There’s plenty more, from the CVCC to the S2000’s hand built 9000rpm screamer. But now? Where is the direct injection? Why only one turbocharged model? Why the consistently inferior hybrids? Why the slow, old school 4 and 5 speed automatics instead of 6 speeds and DSG gearboxes? Ford and Hyundai are close to having these things in all of their models while Honda struggles to put even one out there. If they are still a “motor company”, they sure aren’t expressing it through new or superior technology anymore.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    That’s a pity. The kind of people who were drawn to the element were crazy about it. One of my friends wouldn’t stop talking, for about a week after he got it, about how he could throw all of his band’s gear in the back, including the drum kit.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    the boring-fication of Honda continues.

    • 0 avatar
      tech98

      This.
      They killed off the Integra/RSX, Civic hatch and S2000, the Accord became gigantic and bloated — it’s not the same company it was in the 80s with world-beating engines and sporty, nifty designs.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Yep,
       
      Wishbone suspension under a hot hatch on a reliable, fun, small car?
       
      Entry-lux on a reliable, fun, small car?
       
      Affordable rear-wheel drive on a reliable, fun, convertable sports car?
       
      An affordable vehicle with genuine utility, practical for small families, outdoor enthusiasts, and pet owners?
       
      All of these, and more, brought to you by pre-2004 Honda. Operative words are: fun, reliable, practical.
       
      What words come to your mind when I say V6 Honda Crosstour?
       
      As a former Honda owner who put about 300k+ miles on H-odometers in the last 15 years, I can’t help but feel personally insulted by every product decision (save for the Fit) this company has developed the past six years.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Honda never really knew what to do with the Element. They originally pitched it to mountain bikers and surfers, but when they realized that the Element was actually being bought by middle-aged women for trips to Home depot, Honda started ruining the original utility with carpet, center consoles etc. The latest low was the accessory package for dogs. A ramp so the dog can walk up into the cargo area? Most dogs could just jump. And why would a dog want to be sitting on the floor in the trunk. The whole fun of going for a ride is to stick your head out the window!!

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    I see this as one more sad chapter for Honda, they are moving away from utility to fashion.
     
    I got a dealer quote on a Honda a few years ago, and I got added to their email list.   One email I got seemed to represent all that Honda has lost, it talked about how impressed your classmates would be if you pulled up in a new Honda Pilot.  Part of the email talked about how much bigger the new pilot was.
     
    Honda seems to be just another company chasing the same middle of the market.   No more hatchbacks or station wagons for Civic or Accord.   A Civic with an impractically inclined windshield angle.
     
    One thing TTAC concentrates on is brand identity.  The Element was a distillation of the old Honda.   The new Honda has no unique identity.

  • avatar
    JKC

    I too looked at an Element briefly back in ’05: if it had seating for five, I might well have ended up with one. The closest relative, I think, is the Transit Connect, which doesn’t seem anywhere near as much fun. Pity Honda is becoming so bland.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      +1 on the Ford Connect. It drives much better then expected. Feels European. We have some in the Fleet. Cargo & Wagon versions. The 2011 New XLT Premium Wagon version seems impressive. Kinda wish we had the Euro Diesel with M/T, though they offer a CNG/LPG Prep PKG to convert to Natural Gas or Liquid Propane.
      I also saw a company that makes a RV/Camper conversion. 
      http://kevinhornbydesigns.com/specialty_vehicles/transit-connect-conversion/

  • avatar

    I drove a friend’s element a couple of times, and I was very impressed with the dynamics. That friend had it because she did gardening for a living, and was often carting around dirt and dirty tools. And yes, I know people who have it for its ability to accomodate their mountain bikes without having to worry about getting anything irreparably dirty.

  • avatar

    My own big gripe with Honda is the demise of the Integer. Sporty, inexpensive, practical. I’d buy one if I could get a used one less than five years old.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I always thought a slightly stretched Element would make a great budget alternative to the way over-bloated and overpriced Ford Flex, as well as a worth competitor to Mazda5 and Kia Rondo. An extra two small seats would have gone a long way, not to mention the extra interior length for utility usage. Alas…

  • avatar
    jaje

    I had a 2004 EX AWD w/ 5spd and loved it.  High 20’s mpg, decent power from its inline 4, and decent soft road ability (though the fuel tank is oddly placed as Honda has to have a safety bar that is easily high sides it).  In addition it handled well for its size and height, it was a great vacation car as the rear seats could fold back entirely to create a bed, it had a fold down rear tailgate making it easy to tailgate from, and it was easy to clean out (crumbs from kids, hair from dogs, dirt from mountain bikes, and sand from the beach).  I sold it as I had to move out of state to a friend who still owns it and it has become the official vehicle of amateur vball players.

  • avatar
    rtfact32

    The Element is a fantastic vehicle. I am happy to own one and use it for a myriad of things that astound me. However…
    The interior is far from dirt-proof. You can’t hose it out (thank you for not saying that cliche). And four-cylinder economy? More like…you really have to wring it out to get anywhere, and with the five-speed you’re turning nearly 4k RPM at 80 MPH…I can’t imagine how bad the MPG is with the four speed auto…let’s not even talk about the fact that with four adults loaded up you’re at the max weight capacity.
    I still love my Element.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Honda went to a 5-speed auto in 2007, and it’s rated 1 MPG better than the stick.  But yeah, between the gearing and the boxy shape, it’s definitely not a vehicle for high speed cruising.  On the plus side, in four years of Element ownership, no tickets.
      I’m not sure how Honda could update it to juice sales, it’s a pretty basic box on wheels.  If they could have brainstormed  a way to make the flip up rear seats accommodate 3 passengers instead of 2, that might have done it.

    • 0 avatar
      Superboy

      Not to take the conversation off the rails, but why does it seem that all manual transmission cars are geared this way today?  First time I noticed this “phenomenon” was in my ’01 Miata 6 speed.  Now I have an ’08 IS 6 speed…and even that turns 3000 @ 80 mph.

      Seems like such an easy way to improve highway fuel economy and reduce engine wear. I don’t need 6 forward gears so close in ratio…

    • 0 avatar

      I have an IS-250 and I don’t think it revs anywhere near 4000 at 80. In any case the engine is rather quiet.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Superboy, in this case I believe they geared the E so low because  pulling 3400 pounds plus passengers and gear is a tall order for 2.4 liters.  But I agree, a high 6th gear for loafing on flat highways would be nice.  It’s actually a do-able mod, the 5-speed in the E is the same tranny as the 6-speed used in some Civics, less one gear.  I’ve heard it costs about $150 in parts and is fairly easy to do….once you get the tranny out, which is no picnic.

    • 0 avatar
      rtfact32

      Russcycle:
      I wish I could say there are not tickets for our Element…2 years ago my wife got nabbed for 86 in a 55 pulling into Albany on I-88. We seem to end up taking the Element for long road trips (the ability to pull over and sleep somewhat comfortably and to be able to haul everything we need, and the reliability), and after one 22 hour slog to Florida, I ran it out to about 105…still smooth as can be. Ours is the base model with the steelies and FWD, and I love the way it looks over those with the aluminum rims any day of the week.

    • 0 avatar
      jbar28

      I have a 2007 SC automatic (yes, with carpet and a console, I really like it)  and live in Germany, so ‘high speed cruising’ is no problem here.  And the speed doesn’t make as much difference as I would have thought on MPG.  It’s pretty much the same at 85 mph (still only 2500 rpm) as it was at 65 mph back in Ohio, about 25-26 mpg.  What really made a difference I discovered on a  4800-mile road trip I took to Arizona.  At altitudes above 10,000 feet (thin air) the mpg went up to 29-30, rather than my consistent 25-26 in Ohio at 700 ft asl. The EFI corrects for fuel mix, so the thinner air helps with aerodynamic issues.  Not sure why 85 mph doesn’t kill mpg, but it doesn’t.

      And yes, Honda is now boring and ugly. I’ve owned eight since 1990, but would have a hard time buying any current model save the Fit (Jazz).

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    If people had spent more time backing their Elements over children, then the government would have killed off the Element for Honda. But seriously, I have friends who bought the Element specifically for it’s dog hauling prowess.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    So they’re killing the element to focus on the Crosstour.
     
    Weak.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Is the Crosstour really selling that well?  Honda needs the extra production capacity?
     
    I liked the Element too.  As a city car or a beach or camping car, or whatever, it could do just about everything.  AWD too if you wanted.  And a stick!
     
    But on the highway I just didn’t like it.  Noisy (theres a Honda trait!) and not enough pop.  But around town I loved it.  Peppy, handled pretty well.
     
     

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    The Element to me is analogous to the Mini: I’m glad it’s on the road adding character and seeing one makes me smile, but I doubt I would ever own one.  Sorry to see it go.

  • avatar
    johnharris

    I bought mine new and adored it.  I took the rear seats out the day I bought it and didn’t restore them until the day I sold it.  I used my Element to haul boats and (usually wet) gear.  With a 5-speed, it was always peppy enough to be slightly fun, and it handled very well.  The torque and drivetrain were sufficent to get me out of some truly hairy beach and unimproved boat ramp scenarios. It was a bit noisy, which I accepted for the price.  The stereo was brilliant, so mainly you drowned out the drone.
    On the highway it lacked the guts for serious boat towing.  Gas mileage would drop to the low teens with a 1500-pound boat-and-trailer combo, which I thought was pretty bad.  I replaced it with—surpise!—a 2010 Ford Flex, which has been terrific.  I’ve put 25k on it in one year.  Parking the Flex next to my Mini Cooper is embarassing, of course;  I call them the Mini Cooper and the Macro Cooper.
    Function rules.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    When I first saw one in 2003,  I thought it was the ugliest car I had ever seen in my life short of the Pontiac Aztek.  Seven years later, I own two of the things, and I finally get it: the Element is the perfect car for teenage drivers.  Underpowered, uncool, but surprisingly nimble, an audio system that is good enough (particularly if you swap out the door speakers, which is very easy to do), incredible utility, and most importantly, dead reliable.  I bought a 2006 EX-P with a manual transmission (rare) and it’s given me four years of excellent service without a single problem.  Fuel mileage is 23 MPG in a suburban environment.  My teenagers really don’t care about the uncool factor, because it has an axillary input for their iPods and hauls all their band and sports equipment with aplomb.  I moved my oldest son into his college dorm room using the prodigious cargo capacity and came away mightily impressed.  So impressed in fact that I picked up another used 2006 EX-P (this with an automatic that provides 20 MPG) to add to the fleet of kid cars.
     
    We Element faithful knew that the vehicle’s days were numbered, like the del Sol and S2000.  Declining annual sales numbers, an inexplicable lack of advertising, and a market demographic totally different than what Honda originally intended (they wanted 20 somethings, but 40 somethings like me bought them) put the writing on the wall.  There was some discussion of Honda green-lighting a generation 2 version, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
     
    Toasters rule!

    • 0 avatar
      rtfact32

      I’m surprised you can tow 1500lbs with it, I haven’t checked the official ratings, but knowing that 500lbs of people and gear inside puts it on the bump-stops would make me think twice about hauling anything.

    • 0 avatar
      Advo

      Teenagers are very strange nowadays!
       
      I thought exactly the same way about the ugly styling when it first came out. I guess more than a few years later it doesn’t really matter as much to me although I still wouldn’t want one.
       
      What makes it sad is even big manufacturers feel they can’t afford to build niche vehicles that don’t sell that well at affordable prices.

  • avatar

    I know there is always a strong niche market for function over form, but Cheese and Crackers, those things are butt-ugly.  I’m glad some love them, but I won’t miss them a bit. 

    Good ridance, Element.  May you decay into something more stable.  Like rust.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Sorry Skeptic, those plastic body panels will never rust.  You’ll be seeing them around for a long time!  I wonder if that may be part of the reason for the declining sales.  It’s pretty much a no frills box, so most buyers probably aren’t in any hurry to replace theirs, as opposed to the lease-a-new-Camcord-every-36 -months crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      A drum roll and 21 gun salute for a truly unique vehicle.
       
      In addition to the asking price for used one, the abundance of plastic body panels, limited ground clearance of the undercarriage and the scarcity of a 5 speed manual in my area were the reasons I passed on this useful hauler from Honda.
       
      While not re-known for its back seat comfort.  The rear seating position is rather high, which allows those seated in the rear to see over the front seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      @Russycle
       
      I know one couple who replaced their “bought new” Element with another “bought new” one about a year ago, for no particular reason other than that the first one was nearing 100k miles.

  • avatar
    mountainman

    The Element was uglier than the Aztec.  There, I said it.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    2010 Element is no longer available with manual transmission.
    Subaru needs to come out with a rubber-floored Forester.
     

  • avatar
    Hank

    Dagnabbit, that was at the top of my list as a kayak/bike hauler next vehicle purchase, and I’m not looking before they’ll be kaput.

  • avatar
    obruni

    my parents seriously considered one of these before they bought a wrangler. I always liked it, but was turned off by the low city MPG.
    the days of “good” weirdness at Honda are long gone, i’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Pity.  Great, functional car….if only the sunroof was on the right end…..

  • avatar
    Banger

    No replacement is in sight.
     
    Ha! I see what you did there.
     
    Or did you?

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    while i’ve never been a fan of the look, i didn’t have much of an opinion on it til i drove a friends new 09 Element on a short road trip. I hated every minute behind the wheel of that thing.  Everything felt crude from the road noise to the gutless (on the highway) engine.  But what i hated the most was the seating position and the relationship of the upright windshield to the passengers

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      It isn’t designed for road trips, so faulting it for failing to excell at them rather misses the point.
       
      Not sure I understand your complaint about the windshield. Nothing about it has ever caught my attention one way or the other.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The Element is a fake xB, and an overpriced gas hog.  No 4-cylinder Honda should be getting 20s mpg on the highway.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Never considered one due to abysmal fuel economy ratings, but that’s not what prompts my comments…
     
    I’m just wondering where that self-righteous dude is hiding who never fails to point out that thousands of innocent seal pups and helpless Biafran babies were killed in every single accident photo recycled on this site. If he got banned: Thanks, moderators!

  • avatar
    Sam P

    My 6-speed manual 330i pulls 2000 rpms at 60 mph in 6th gear. Of course, it helps that it has the ridiculously high 2.93:1 stock rear diff that BMW put in the manual E46 330.

    Honda should have put a 6th gear in the 3-pedal Element – it needed an extra ratio.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    Good riddance to one of the worst vehicles available. I miss the S2000 and the NSX. But getting rid of the Element is a good thing.

  • avatar
    newfdawg

    When the Honda Element was released in 2003, it was supposed to be aimed at Gen-x males, but I never saw any driving one, it seemed to appeal to an older audience and a suprising number of female drivers-something Honda never planned on.  I bought one in 2004 for transporting my Newfie(Newfoundland to you) to water trials, draft trials and other events.  It was easy to clean out and was dead reliable; I put 117,000 miles on mine with virtually no trouble.
    For such a boxy vehicle, it handled extremely well.  My major gripes were the marginal fuel economy, excessive road noise and the marginal usefullness of the rear doors. I wished Honda would have stretched the wheelbase, added a couple of regular size sliding doors, and made the rear seat so it could have folded into the floor, then they would have had something really unique. Sadly, Honda doesn’t seem interested in unique and funky-and at the same time extremely practical vehicles, they’re following Toyota into white bread mediocrity–where’s
    Soichiro Honda when we need him?
     

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    No offense to anyone, but it surprises the heck out of me how many people have gotten all teary-eyed about this vehicle’s demise.  The Element is about as ugly a design as it gets, and I venture to guess that if it had been introduced Ford, GM, or heaven forbid Chrysler, the hate campaign would have been cataclismic.  But it appears as though if Honda (or now Nissan for example, with that warthog looking thing they just introduced) comes out with a design hodgepodge, there’s a whole lot more leniency…

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      completely true. But the Element was basically the last ugly car Honda got away with, now they are widely considered to be the ugliest of the mainstream manufacturers along with Acura. Every brand discussion of Honda bookmarks “ugly” right away, much like VW has to cope with their old reliability rep. Problem is, Honda hasn’t done anything to mitigate that perception yet.

  • avatar
    bevo

    As an Element owner since 2003, yes, it has a lot of cabin noise, the rear doors are annoying, and the gas mileage is simply aweful for a 4-banger. That said, I need the six-feet of cargo space to haul stuff.
    Try finding a car (not a small truck) that offers six feet of interior cargo room and gas mileage above 25. Good luck given Americans strong aversion to station wagons.
    OTOH, my big dog loves riding in the front seat of the E.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Honda still holds out hope with its Civic Si and Accord V6 coupe. Hopefully the next Civic will get a K20Z version
    It’s not all bad though. In Honda’s heyday they had a lot of needless overlap. The current Civic Si is better than nearly all previous DOHC VTEC Civics/Integras except the Type-R, and the current Accord V6 coupe is better than the 97+ Prelude & all the CLs & 98-02 Accord V6s.
    I think what Honda needs to do, honestly, is wholly separate Acura with an “FM” style RWD platform. Even with that grille, with RWD proportions and a J30 V6 the TSX would be a no brainer over all 3-series competitors. The cars are good; just ugly and driven by the wrong wheels. That with the return of a more practical S would vault Honda to the top again.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      RWD is a red herring.  If you look at Audi, you have to accept that FWD/AWD does not prevent commercial success even for a premium marque, whether you like their cars or not.
       
      But what Audi does point out is that you need to build cars that look good (at least to most people), have high-quality interiors and provide a premium dealership experience (at least while buying the car).  Many Audis share VW platforms (A3, TT and Q7, and soon A1) but with little visual commonality or obvious shared components.
       
      RWD is nice for the enthusiast market, but it doesn’t guarantee commercial success, either (see Infiniti for an example).

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Bye bye to the least ugly vehicle in Honda’s lineup. Don’t sing me the praises of the CRV’s goofy double smile and arched side windows on a squared SUV profile, or the Civic’s perilously plunging windshield line. These shapes are bizarre to the eye, conflicting with each other. At least the Element’s form and function were well matched. I though the windows were too small, giving a mini-Hummer sense of bunker security, but I liked the upright windshield. Out here in the West, “fast” windshields admit unwanted solar heat and collect even more sand and rock wear marks, making them a pain to peer through. More windows, please– but less windshield!

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    Wheatridger made comment I agree with: the Honda Civic windshield is a terrible design that places form over function in a major way.
    I live in Arizona, and AC is major issue, many cars can’t keep interior cool because there windshields are huge solar heating panels blasting out massive amount of heat.    Driving south at 2PM with temp at 118F the small 4 cyl powered AC has tough time without about a k-Watt (!) of thermal power dumped in.   WTHF What The Heat Flux!
    On top of this the windshield reduces visibility, esp. at night with headlight glare.   At night on crowded road about 20% of the vehicles coming in other lane are jacked up SUV and Trucks with their “driving” lights on – much worse through sloped glass.
    Finally they are much harder to clean.
     
    One final comments, someone above said “I know there is always a strong niche market for function over form”
    Sad but true.  Function has become a niche, and style mainstream.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      Laid-back windshields are such an unacknowledged design issue that we don’t even have a term to describe them. I’ve heard the word “fast” used, and that’s appropriate. These windshields used to be the un-ergonomic price of driving a supercar. In a Civic, it’s only the suggestion of a supercar. I’m aware of how pedestrian safety standards and eco-areo imperatives lead towards this design, also. So our windshields look and act more like sunroofs. Don’t you just know the studios are cooking up designs with no windshields at all? We’ll all lie on our backs and steer by video screens.
      I’d never consider a modern Civic for this reason alone. My New Beetle has the same vast dash problem- you can place two large boxed pizzas side by side on the dash, and the sun will keep them warm. The car’s windshield angle, though, is surprisingly upright. IMHO, only the retro cars (MINI, PT Cruiser, Ford Flex) deliver the rare delight of a windshleld oriented for the best driver visibility, plus a set of Japanese noodle boxes like the XB, Cube and Element.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Nothing does what a Honda Element does, but the one in my family has been a complete and total piece of sh*t. We’re on something like rear rotor set #5 or 6, awful suspension jangles and clanks abound, and the transmission is awful. I hate this thing every time I’m not moving apartments, but on those (very few) days it saves me a ton in rental costs. It’s just too bad it always claws that savings right back in mechanical failure.
    Cons: reliability (and Honda techs have told me I’m not a one off with these issues), materials quality, automatic transmission (everything about it), poor fuel milage, and a heavily front biased and slow reacting awd system (zero development work obviously went into this).
    Pros: relatively direct steering, light weight for purpose, cheap and cheerful feel overall, NOTHING touches the cargo layout, great design for urban driving (corner awareness, turning radius), super cheap awd, bold exterior design.
     
    It’s a toss up, not sad to see it go, but I’ll miss seeing this niche filled in the general automotive landscape. Maybe Ford will do an awd transit.

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    I thought the Element was God’s gift to the motoring public. What a great idea.

    For me, the problem was the price. By the time you put AWD and an automatic in it, you might as well get a CRV. Or a 4×4 truck.

    I know Honda makes some good stuff, but yeesh, they sure know how to charge for it. (check out their lawnmowers, or $3k snowblowers, or motorcycles…if its a Honda, it’s pricey )

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  • EBFlex: “So “meanwhile in automotive news” is a jab to Posky to stick to stories you deem germane but you...

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  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber