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Honda Element logo
The Honda Element is a compact crossover SUV based on a modified CR-V platform, manufactured in East Liberty, Ohiomarker and marketed in the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker since 2003.

Overview

The Element followed a concept vehicle called Model X, introduced in 2001. The Model X functionality was conceived with a cross-country road trip in mind, combining some features of a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle. The Model X was first conceived by a core group of young R&D engineers in 1998. They wanted to develop a vehicle that they could use for their activities and conducted informal on-site focus groups at colleges, beaches, campsites and in the mountains.

The 4-seat Element is optimized to carry large loads. The floor is made of textured urethane that is easy to clean; the fabric is tough and stain-resistant; the individual rear seats recline, fold up, and are removable. The rear clamshell tailgate arrangement is large and the vehicle is tall, allowing large loads.

The rear side doors open outwards from the front but are not referred to as suicide doors, as they cannot be opened if the conventional front doors are not. The design forgoes B-pillars to create unobstructed access for side loading. In return, the chassis features reinforced joints, strengthened lower side sills, larger cross members, enlarged rocker panels, and five bulkheads per side.

Powering the Element is Honda's 2.4 Liter K Engine, an i-VTEC four-cylinder engine producing at 5500 rpm and of torque at 4500 rpm.

The Element is available with front-wheel drive or Honda's optional "Real Time" four-wheel drive system — a hydraulically-actuated system that operates only when front wheel slippage occurs. Four wheel drive was discontinued in Japanmarker with the 2006 model.

Honda Element Price History
Year DX/LX/EX MSRP SC MSRP
2003 US$16,100–$20,850 N/A
2004 US$16,100–$20,300 N/A
2005 US$17,450–$20,925 N/A
2006 US$17,750–$21,525 N/A
2007 US$18,900–$22,310 US$22,695–$23,495
2008 US$18,980–$23,190 US$22,775–$23,575


2003

  • Colors available: Sunset Orange Pearl, Shoreline Mist Metallic, Satin Silver Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Galapagos Green Metallic, and Eternal Blue Pearl
  • The 2003 Element was launched with two trim levels — DX and EX.
  • Four-wheel drive models come with a large rear sunroof.
  • Windshields:
  • A service bulletin was release regarding the windshield flange surface being uneven. This bulletin along with the warranty obligated Honda of America to replace the windshield at no cost to the owner.
  • The class action Daniels, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co. reached final settlement November 16, 2006. It provides for warranty replacement of windshields in 2003 and 2004 model Honda Element for 6 years or 60,000 miles.


2004

  • Colors available: Fiji Blue Pearl replaced Eternal Blue Pearl from the previous year.
  • The LX model was introduced with more standard features. Improvements were made to the front seats as well as the inclusion of an armrest for the passenger's side captain's chair.
  • The class action law case Daniels, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co. reached final settlement November 16, 2006. It provides for warranty replacement of windshields in 2003 and 2004 model Honda Element for 6 years or 60,000 miles.


2005

  • Colors available: Same as 2004, plus Cargo Khaki and Rally Red. Shoreline Mist Metallic was eliminated.
  • The DX model was eliminated from the model lineup. Side airbags were an available option, and XM satellite radio and MP3 capabilities were added as standard features in the audio system for the EX model. The charcoal gray that was the standard plastic tone was darkened and a navy blue was offered with the Satin Silver Metallic. Wheel covers on the LX were changed to mimic the styled alloy wheels.
  • Miles per Gallon: 19 in City, 23 highway, 20 combined


2006

2006 Honda Element EX-P
  • Colors available: only Rally Red and Nighthawk Black Pearl carry over with new colors Tango Red Pearl, Tangerine Metallic, Kiwi Metallic, Atomic Blue Metallic, and Alabaster Silver Metallic
  • A fully painted version called the EX-P became available (an extra US$500 compared to non-painted counterpart). It comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.


2007

2007-2008 Honda Element EX
  • Rally Red is retired and replaced with Galaxy Gray Metallic, the rest of the colors remain the same as the 2006 line-up.
  • EX-P is retired and painted panels become standard on all EX models. Only the LX has the unfinished body trim.
The 2007 Element received a mild refresh, which included 10 hp increase to 166 hp, along with a 5-speed automatic transmission, and an Integrated Seat Belt System on the front seats that allows rear seat occupants to exit the vehicle without the need for a front occupant to disconnect his or her seatbelt. Side airbags are also now standard, as well as electronic stability control. The plastic latticework grille was replaced by silver-colored slats, similar in style to the 2005-06 Honda CR-V and 2006-08 Honda Pilot.

2007 SC

2007-2008 Honda Element SC
  • Available in Nighthawk Black Pearl, Root Beer Metallic, Galaxy Grey Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic.
A new "urban cruiser" trim level called the SC is offered with a custom bumper and grille, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. It will also feature upgrades to the original Element such as projector-beam halogen headlights, custom tribal print seat fabric, standard center console and carpet in the seating areas.

Unlike the other trim packages, the SC has a rigid center console which cannot be removed and which rises above the bottom portion of the seats. Like the rigid seat-level consoles in most other SUVs, this crowds the seat belt receptacle into the seat space, making this trim level less comfortable for larger drivers than the LX and EX models.

Advertising

Gil the Crab

After a summer break, Honda decided to bring back a portion of the "Element and Friends" ad campaign, but with a focus on the crab, who now has a name: Gil. The most popular character from the ads with his "I Pinch!" catch phrase, Gil has a myspace page that will chronicle Gil's trouble with the law. In order tap into social networking sites, which began to play larger roles in ad campaigns in the mid-2000s, Gil was to maintain a blog, promote an online petition to save his job. and endorse Gil paraphernalia through a website. ll this led up to the launch of the new commercial dubbed Element TV, which premiered September 28, 2006 and rolled out with the new Honda Element SC that went on sale that same day.

Gil the Crab's popularity has spawned a game similar to punchbuggy or slugbug, wherein seeing a Honda Element on the road gives the first viewer an opportunity to pinch their less-observant companion, exclaiming "I pinch!" like Gil the Crab.

Element and Friends - version 2.0

In the fall of 2006, the Element and Friends website was re-launched with the introduction of the new Element SC trim. The previous version had the driving game using the Element EX-P (now simply called the EX) in a desert, snow topped mountains, forests, and a beach. They now renamed that area "above ground". A new second option from the main page allows you to select the Element SC to go "underground" in an urbanesque environment featuring a drive-in, central park with a basketball court, a seedy mainstreet, and project housing. The six new SC friends include a rat, mole, hamster, pigeon, roach, and a dog. The drive-in serves as the venue to view the TV spots that feature only the rat, mole, pigeon, and hamster. The format remains the same with new mini-games, but both maps now include a tunnel to venture above or below the surface, through the mountain and building respectively. Changes to the above ground include the removal of the previous TV spots from the website and a link on the beach to Gil's Myspace page.

RPA, the company which created the Element and friends website, won the "Best in Show" from MIXX Awards for the microsite. They revealed that visitors average 15 minutes on the site.

2008

In mid-June 2007 Honda started selling the 2008 Element. The only change from the 2007 Element was the addition of the color Royal Blue Pearl for the SC trim. This color, however, is not listed on at least one roster of SC colors, which includes only the somber palette of Nighthawk Black Pearl, Galaxy Gray Metallic, Root Beer Metallic, and Alabaster Silver Metallic.

The color roster for the 2008 LX model was Tangerine Metallic, Kiwi Metallic (a bright grass-green), Atomic Blue Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Alabaster Silver Metallic (a very light silver), and Tango Red Pearl (a dark red).

The EX model includes all six of the LX colors, with the addition of a medium gray, Galaxy Gray Metallic.

2009

2009 Honda Element
2009 Honda Element SC
New color combinations for the dashboard became available. For the exterior, Tangerine Metallic was replaced with Citrus Fire Metallic for the LX and EX trim packages. For the first time, neither Kiwi Green Metallic nor any shade of green was offered for any trim package. The color roster for 2009 included:

  • Crystal Black Pearl
  • Polished Metal Metallic (dark gray / pewter)
  • Alabaster Silver Metallic
  • Citrus Fire Metallic (orange; not available for SC trim package)
  • Omni Blue Pearl (pale aqua pearlescent)
  • Royal Blue Pearl
  • Tango Red Pearl (for LX and EX trim packages only)
  • Midnight Red Pearl (a dark "black cherry" for SC trim package only)


For 2009, the Honda Element got a navigation option and some cosmetic changes to the exterior. The front end is similar to that of the second generation Honda Pilot and Honda Ridgeline. The hood and front grill have been redesigned, and the front bumpers are now all-metal rather than painted composite material.

A significant style change was the squaring of the wheel arches for 2009 models.

The moonroof previously available on AWD Elements was eliminated.

Dog Friendly concept

See "external links" below for dog-friendly concept car photo gallery.


In 2007, the Honda Element won the Dogcars.com's "Dog Car of the Year" award. Honda chose to follow up on that with a concept vehicle unveiled in 2009 New York Auto Show specifically designed for canine transportation. It includes an "pet restraint system", an extendable cargo area load-in ramp, a 12V DC rear ventilation fan, second-row seat covers with a simple beige dog-outline pattern design to match the bed cover fabric, all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern, and "Dog Friendly" exterior pawprint emblems. A spill-resistand water bowl, also included, can be placed into a nook in the corner of the pet bed.

The second row pet restraint system is a small net crate suitable for cats or small dogs, which can be belted into place. It straps directly to the lower portion of the seat and the captive animal cannot see out the windows, unlike the pet "booster seats" sold by pet-supply vendors specifically designed to allow small dogs to see through the windows and sniff the incoming airflow.

The pet bed is a thick cushion for the whole of the rear cargo area. The cargo area pet restraint system consists of netting on the sides and the top of the dog bed, as well as a zip-up fourth side to be secured after the dog is loaded. Unless the top of the restraint system can be opened, which is not clear from the press release and accompanying photos, it severely limits the ability of the dog to see out the side windows or rear window.

However, the concept vehicle does not include an element much requested on sites dedicated to Element owners with dogs: roll-down rear windows, which would allow dogs to put their noses outside. The concept vehicle's windows remain the pop-out vent type.

The package is dealer installed and retails for $1,000.

In popular culture

The Honda Element has been popularized recently among college students who play a game similar to the "Slug Bug" game played when one sees a Volkswagen Beetle. This "Element Game" involves groping one's opponent whenever one spots an Element on the road. The origins are unclear, however, it is played on college campuses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Payload and towing capacity

The Honda Element has a towing capacity of 680 kg, or 1500 lbs. A tow-hitch must be added to make use of the towing features. The payload is a low 675 lbs, but many owners contend this weight as being more a function of Honda erring on the side of safety than an accurate reflection of the vehicle's capacity.

Video games

In addition to the "Element and Friends" video-game advertising campaigns for the 2006 and 2007 model years, the Element has appeared in several free-standing games:

  • In 2003, Honda had the Element featured in EA Sports BIG's SSX 3. It featured in game billboards with the Honda Element logo, as well as the signature car itself parked on the slope with its front and rear doors open to have the snow boarder dart through for extra points.
  • In 2004, Element was featured for the first time in Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo series in Gran Turismo 4 as a 2003 model.
  • In 2006, Honda and EA teamed up again to have the Element featured in The Sims spin-off, The Urbz.
  • In 2006, Honda and Bikemag.com cross-promoted each other in an online dirt bike game called Monster Park Motor Madness.


Awards

2007 Honda Element won the Dogcars.com's "Dog Car of the Year" award.

References

External links




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