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."

Edmunds.com 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. Heidi Klum

    I didn't hate or love the design. I am impressed with its utility, though (a pal owns one) and relative comfort. Also – the stadium seating is cool for passengers in the rear – unobstructed view. Plus, what other car can you use a garden hose to clean the interior? To me it is like shoes – generally the more odd looking, the more comfortable.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Will S

      Utility = Dodge Caravan. Novelty = Honda Element.

      December 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • SJB

      Idiot = Will S

      December 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. biggerthanyou

    The cube is awful, I second that

    December 4, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. ts

    Bummer. I bought one right when they came out in '03. Still have it. Very cool car, drives great, and ridiculously practical.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Love My Element

      I also bought an '03 Element and it's still purring along at 100,000 miles. Most practical car I've ever owned! Sa day..might have to greet a second one.

      December 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff White

      When they were first introduced, I thought the folks at Honda had lost their minds. They grew on me though, and I later bought one new in 2006. It's my favorite of all the cars I've ever driven.

      December 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kevin

    If I didn't have 2 kids, both requiring child seats, I would definitely be driving an Element. I love the design, space, AWD and functionality of the thing. Usefulness and practicality does not appear ugly at all to me. But most modern, curvy cars with oodles of wasted space, for nothing more than looks, just strikes me as moronic. It's a shame they're ending the Element.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • shiner69-er

      Kevin, we have two kids, both of whom use car seats. our 2004 Eloement has been awesome. The kids get in and out VERY EASILY. Sole complaint: gas mileage. Not great. But rock solid in snow, better than our Volvo wagon.

      December 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joe

    i finally like them, and they trashcan em, go figure

    December 4, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      I thought they were hideous initially but they have grown on me. What I'd really like is for Honda to make a hybrid mini camper van, kind of like the old VW camper van, but smaller, with better mpg and reliability. Now that might be even uglier but I would buy it!

      December 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D Sands

    I loved my Honda Element. I like to camp and on those stormy nights when I did not want to be in my tent I was very comfortable sleeping in the back-with the passenger seat pulled up I could acually stretch out. It was safe, fuel efficient and never had a problem, typical Honda dependibility. It may not have looked the best, but I am one of those people who value functionality and reliability.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Old_Perfessor

    This is bad news indeed. I love the Honda Element, its' spaciousness, practicality and comfort. A great vehicle and almost a member of the family. Such a shame. I would've purchased another in a year or two.

    A great, great vehicle.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. Russ

    Too bad. It's the Swiss Army Knife of automobiles. It can do anything and has a line of accessories to go with it. A bigger, more fuel efficient engine, and a hybrid option would have been nice. If you love the outdoors, it's a great car.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Apple Sticker

      I was hoping for clean diesel. I love my homely Element and will probably hold on to it longer now that they won't make new ones. I refuse to drive a "I'm dull too" CRV/RAV/BMW SUV. I guess my next truck will be a Defender.

      December 4, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. SHOBiz

    Thank goodness.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sam

    I always thought it was kinda cool but didn't like the fact that you couldn't roll down the backseat windows. My dogs like to have air and I need to be able to open the windows more than those pop-out windows do.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. MannyHM

    It's like having an ugly dog that you dearly love. It's not ugly at all.
    Once you're behind the wheel you really like it. My brother and his family really like it.
    I really wish somebody should design a car with non-reflective paint, no chrome, 6 seater, compressed air assist on top of hybrid technology.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. JB

    A CRV with a 3.0 liter V6 and powertrain components strengthened to handle the extra power would be nice. Fuel economy would be about the same since the engine wouldn't work as hard with only a negligible increase in weight.

    I don't know why auto manufacturers build vehicles such as this, with all of this utility and carrying capacity, then hamstring them with weak powertrains. Honda sells a lot of CRVs but the majority of them are sold out in rural areas where accelerating onto an on-ramp in front of a barreling semi isn't as critical.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      @JB
      I still prefer the 2.2 Liter Diesel version that is sold out here in europe. much better torque.

      December 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rhearobin

    The Element always reminded me of a Borg Cube. Something about it screamed "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile." Didn't help stop that feeling when all the other ugly, boxy car designs followed it.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. DOnna

    I've always been in the "that thing is ugly" camp. Then a few months ago, a lady hit the husband while he was driving in our Civic (she was eating lunch) our beloved Civic was totaled. He wanted something with more room and I wanted another Honda product so we got the Element.
    I love it, plain and simple. It's comfortable, has a ton of space–we've been to Ikea and the dump and numerous trips to Home Depot.
    I think Honda is missing out by getting rid of this vehicle, but as someone who used to work the line at both MAP and the East Liberty plant, I know they've put thousands of hours into this decision.

    and anyone who doesn't think that the ugliest vehicle of all was the Pontiac Aztek (followed closely by the Mercedes Benz G-class SUV) needs to have their eyes checked.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Smokaah

      The Aztek is certainly the ugliest, but the G wagon is a great car. I think its very classy and somewhat pimpin'. There are way uglier cars/suvs

      December 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Byron Wachtler

    Wow, I was thinking about buying one when my wife finished school. We were going to put a pop top camper on it from ecamper http://www.ursaminorvehicles.com/camper.htm and rig it out like a wesfalia (sp?) inside. Maybe not as elaborate to save on weight. The awd was the selling point. Its just hard finding something that can be quasi camper that has it that doesn't break the bank in initial cost and gas.

    December 4, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
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