Honda eliminating boxy Element
December 4th, 2010
09:34 AM ET

Honda eliminating boxy Element

The Honda Element, popular with dog owners and some types of businesses, will be discontinued after the 2011 model year, American Honda Motor Co. announced Friday.

Introduced in December 2002, the Element started a trend of box-on-wheels design reflected in Toyota's Scion xB and Mitsubishi's Outlander, among others.

"The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box," John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda, said in a press release. "It made boxy vehicle designs cool." gave the short-but-tall utility vehicle generally positive reviews.

"Behind that cubist philosophy is a level of versatility that sets it apart from many other small wagons and compact SUVs," the editors wrote of the 2011 model.

The Element was the subject of several recalls: 2003/04, ignition switch mechanism; 2007/08, braking system and stability module; and 2010, transmission shift cable.

Honda said it has sold about 325,000 Elements, but customers are increasingly attracted to crossover SUVs.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Honda
soundoff (361 Responses)
  1. Brian

    I should add that the Element is really a concept car/truck.

    December 6, 2010 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeannine

    I rushed to by my Element in August because the Element Owners Club forum has full of these rumors about 2010 being either the last production year or the last before a major redesign (apparently, this vehicle is the only one that went, for the most part, without a total redesign for so many years).

    I'm THRILLED with my Element. It's great for hauling furniture, dogs, camping gear, etc. There are some very thoughtful aspects to the design (French doors, seats that fold into the walls, not the floor, rubberized flooring, front and back seats form a level platform when laid back).

    What's more, my 2010 EX has a backup camera, GPS, satellite radio, and the body is all one color (no two-tone). I honestly think the 2010 was a huge step in the right direction. Too bad it will be the last.

    December 6, 2010 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. jazz

    loved my honda element!! the most expensive thing i did for the car was buy tires!! i got more bang for my buck. i loved it. i'm getting another. this is the best, most effiecient car/suv ever.

    December 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jazz

    by the way...its funny (in an awesome way) that the people that complain about the elements....never had one. to have to love one!! i don't ever want to drive anything else.

    December 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sky curmudgeon

    2004/112K AWD new for weekly commute of 120 mi one way through northern Utah mountains. Never failed. Designed for 20 somethings and bought by fogies (69) who recognized value when they saw (researched) it. 30+ mpg on highway in summer (if I drive the 65 speed limit).

    December 6, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scott

    When I first saw the car I thought it was hideous. However someone in my complex had one and I walked by everyday, Each time I peeked in I started ti like it more and more. It has been one of the few cars that I have wanted to buy new. I think the death nail for this auto was the gas mileage. It never got over lower 20's at best. If it got 25-28 it would have done better. That and they really should have tried to make a hybrid model. As boxy as it is I find it hard to believe that they could not have found the room.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jack


    This is my favourite car to drive, and one of the few which can comfortably fit myself any my family (most of whom are over 6 foot 4).

    I hate most SUV designs because they're massive heavy fuel-hogs designed for short drivers. But this had some of the best interior room of any car of its type.

    The only thing they ever did wrong with this design was not offer a V6.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • ShutDownGM

      That and Honda stopped marketing it after 2007.

      Word of mouth does not sell cars.

      February 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. So sad to hear :(

    My husband drives our Element mostly and it too is one of very few cars that he fits in comfortably.
    We also love the versatility being an active family. We can through bikes, landscaping supplies, groceries, etc. in the back. Once we filled the entire back with donation items to our local charity organization. Our choice to buy the Element weighed mostly because we own and maintain rental property. It was THE BEST option for hauling our supplies, but also having an attractive vehicle for other uses. Other SUVs and cross-overs don't have the interior space let alone the hard floors which were a major attractive feature.
    A hybrid version would certainly have been the way to go next. It's a shame they're going away. So many people still come up to us and tell us how they want one.

    December 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Aaron

    Without a doubt in my mind, my Element is the best car I have ever owned, that I can carry a sofa in. It has never let me down getting new purchases home. It is the PERFECT road trip vehicle, especially if you needed to work in your car, like a photographer or painter. It might have used a V6 but I drive the nards off my Element and for a block it handles and performs quite well. A hybrid version would have been another reason for me to upgrade mine. Other SUVs and crossovers are not as well executed, IMO. Love, love, love my Element.

    December 9, 2010 at 3:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nevadaguy

    The ELEMENT was a loser from the get-go. When I first saw this design mess, all I could think of is that it looked like a piece of luggage and soon I was nicknaming it "The Element: Body by Samsonite" for it's gray plastic-looking side panels. Trying to update the unappealing sides didn't help. The boxy and drab exterior was only perceived as a mistake that Honda was trying to make right. They weren't fooling anyone. The car was a mistake from the very start. I say good bye with great enthusiasm.

    December 12, 2010 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Frankie

      The Element ROCKS. It's the best car I've EVER driven, and I've owned Mercedes, Acuras, Fords, Buicks, and Chevys. The Element is roomy, versatile, comfortable, great in the snow, fuel-efficient, and – yes – boxy. So what? I've had mine for six years and the only thing it has ever needed was a new battery, just a few months ago.
      As for my snotty neighbors who drive BMWs and Saabs, they have nothing but headaches, all for the sake of driving a "status symbol." Ha!!!
      RIP Element, Long Live the Element.

      December 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dogmom

    I wanted to buy one on my next car purchase because of the convenient design of the back for hauling my dogs around. The hatchback was a 3/4 / 1/4 split so the dogs didn't jump out while I was opening the top part. And I liked the dog ramp for my older dogs.

    Too bad.

    December 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gerry

    Shoot, I Wanted one of these.....

    December 18, 2010 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. Janie

    What is Honda thinking??? I had a CRV and switched out for an Element because it is way more comfortable. It's like having an enclosed truck and you can't mess the interior up! I can actually get 15 bales of pinestraw in my Element and have hauled all kinds of things. I don't understand why they would get rid of such a great vehicle. Please reconsider!!

    December 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sunshine Coast real estate

    I want to read more.
    cheap cars

    January 11, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cathie

    I bought my Element in 2003 because my 6' 5" husband could sit in it and not hit his head on the ceiling of the car. It was the only SUV that qualified. I fell in love with it. I will have to buy a new one to have a spare when this one wears out (in about 10 more years). It hauls everything. No worry about dirt inside. The plastic outside panels do not show tar specks or chipped paint from gravel. It parks easily. It drives like a dream through snow and on ice. I know that it is boxy and not so stylish but it is the first practical car in years and at least it didn't look like all of the others. I can't tell any of them apart anymore, same designers – different brands.

    January 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
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