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. running fool

    Best little big car ever! It wasn't uncommon for me to place two mountain bikes, a surfboard, a cooler, and a ton of luggage in the back, all the while never caring how much sand dropped to the uncarpeted floor after a weekend beach excursion. Have passed the Element to my son in college who absolutely loves it as well. The toaster on wheels will be missed.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sandy

    THANK YOU. This is one of the ugliest pieces of crap since the el camino.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      And anyone gives a crap what Sandy thinks because......?

      December 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • SJB

      Because she drives a Pontiac Aztek and thinks she's cool.

      December 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kim

    I have adored my Element since 2003, and it's been a wonderful car. Yes, it's a little unusual looking but it's got wonderful room inside, has been great in Colorado weather, and very dependable. I'm crushed that another won't be available after next year. I was hoping they'd made a hybrid.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kim

    If someone gave me a element for free or a couple of hundred dollars i would drive it. To pay to much for such a plain uninteresting style of i cant see it. Basicly it wont be missed it was a ugly car not a attention grabber a point A to point B with few second glances or head turns plain ugly.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ed

    I'm a proud owner of a 5 yr old element. Still drives like it did when i drove off the lot 5 years ago. i've never had a single problem with it. never had to get anything fixed, not even a tailight or head lamp replaced. Love the space inside. element still looks pretty sharp to me.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Amar

    @Thomas John
    Found or Fixed
    ON Or
    Road Repaired
    Dead Daily

    December 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank Mondana

      Boy, I haven't heard that piece of wit in at least 5 minutes from someone who thinks they came up with it.

      That clever piece of (1/2)wit was old and creaky 40 years ago.

      December 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sam

    Ew!!! One of the ugliest cars have never seen.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. paul

    better than the nissan cube. THAT is truly the ugliest car ever to be conceived

    December 4, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lemark Sibala

    I like this car!

    Lemark Sibala

    December 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank Mondana

    Good, most of those driving these steaming piles think they are behind the wheel of a Ferrari when they are barely doing freeway speed in the left lane.
    My eyes will appreciate this as well. Who designed these things? LEGO?

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

      That's a pretty poor characterization of Honda Element drivers. Most of them I know drive at faster than highway speed. What's the matter loser...jealous because the Honda dealer wouldn't give you jack for your Dodge Neon in trade?

      December 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob

    Too bad. I own a 2006 model with AWD and a manual trans. 90k miles with no problems. Lots of room and cheap ($18,000) It gets 24 MPG combined and there a quite a few of them up here in Portland. The salesman told me in 2006 that the dealers didn't like them because they canalbalized CRV sales, which sold for $2,000 more. Guess the dealers won.

    December 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • drNO

      That car is the ugliest over priced piece of junk I have ever had the unfortunate fate to have driven.. What happy to the Prelude? That car rocked!

      December 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • As the biblical farmer about his grain

      It is an ugly car, shaped like a box or an ice cube. Good riddance! Like the Pinto and the Yugo, it will be long coming to disappear off the street. Like looking at a mole on someone's nose: unforgetting, unappealing eye-catcher!

      December 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • nonconformist

      To Bob: You can't believe what a salesman tells you.

      December 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      ugly, ugly, ugly

      December 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ginger

      I bought one of the first ones in January 2003. It's tough, drives pretty well, and I haven't had any problems with it. Plus it's so damn versatile. Can't find that in anything else on the road. Very sad that it's going away. I would have gotten a new one eventually, but since it's a Honda, I figure I've got at least 5 or 6 years left in this thing, probably more.

      December 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      For me it was a deal breaker for the fact that it is only a four seat and there aren't any options otherwise to make it a five. Huge disappointment. Didn't understand the logic there. It would be useless for a family with three kids.Seems like a huge turn-off. love the features though...

      December 4, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally, from 17 West 8th ave, apt 6E

      Face it, Rob, the thing looked like a freakin box of stink.

      December 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank -Iowa

      I'm glad you all think it's fugly 'cause I plan to keep mine running fine for a long time! You'll just have to tell someone else who cares that you think it's ugly..

      December 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dg

      I love my 2008 Element. I don't think it's ugly at all. Like Frank in Iowa, I plan to torture you Element haters for a long time! I've had American cars and they've been fine. I traded in my 13 year old Mustang for my Element. It's exactly what I want in a car right now. Tons of space to cart stuff around and it drives really well.

      However, I will agree with KRG – I'm not a fan of Honda customer service.

      December 5, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Kdog

      I have to disagree to all the haters. The Element is a neat lookin car. They nailed the color options too... Wish I could have one.

      December 5, 2010 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Robin Bray

      Just bought one and it is great. Keep your SUVs. I laugh whenever I see owners of those monsters try to put in a simple load at a garden center or hardware store.

      December 5, 2010 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • lastofsane

      Most SUV's are ugly. The Element is no exception. Somewhere along the line, marketing teams were able to convince a segment of the population that a car, sitting on a truck chassis or a truck, sitting on a car chassis filled with truck-like handling, old technology and mediocre fuel economy was somehow stylish and cool. In reality, the larger SUV's look like high-top sneakers, the crossovers look like eggs, the Hummers look like armored "Brinks" trucks, and the Element looks like a giant toy (not to mention the even uglier Nissan Cube). Oh... and if utility and versatility were truly more important than fuel economy or styling, then perhaps a conversion van with track lighting and levelor blinds would be more appropriate. Since most SUV's, due to price or capability, are no longer off-road plausible, the only utilities they truly serve are 60% markups for the dealers along with higher gasoline bills and tire prices for the buyer. So please... SUV drivers... think before you comment. Don't delude yourself into thinking that your box-on-wheels is somehow more stylish or pretty than the Honda Element. For those of us who did not buy into the ridiculous marketing, they're all ugly.

      December 5, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • al

      don't blame the dealers. They are only interesetd in selling cars. If the element was popular enough they would be happy to sell as many as they could. An element and crv are two very different cars aimed at different customers. The crv is used as a family carrier and the element is more of a cargo vehicle. If you carry passengers often it gets old having to open the door to let them out.

      December 5, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Amanda

    I think they brought this on themselves. I was out to purchase a new vehicle this time last year, and I really wanted to get the Element over the CR-V. But it would have been such a freakin' hassle to get even the color I wanted (let alone the features that I wanted) that I had to compromise and get the CR-V instead. I wish I would have held out for the Element, the CR-V doesn't meet my needs that would have been fulfilled by the Element. But I needed a car right then, and Honda wasn't willing to find an existing Element and have it delivered; I would have had to wait for it to be made by the factory and shipped.

    December 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hannah

      My dad wanted the Cowboys colors, but the dealer didn't have it and he would have to wait another month or so to get it. He had to settle for just plain blue.

      December 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • RSfromDFW

      Why would you wait until you need a car before going to buy one?

      December 5, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • ladydi

      Last year during Cash For Clunkers I wanted a green Element, but the dealers in our state had only orange. I then looked for an alien green Kia Soul, but there were at the time no Kia dealers in Alaska (there is one now again, too late). I ended up buying a used "05 green Element. My husband drives it to work and back, a five hour drive each way every two weeks. He is really impressed with the way it handles on snow and ice.

      December 5, 2010 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dan Domizio

    HAVE OWNED 2 ELEMENTS SINCE 2003; MANUAL SHIFT, 25MPG AVERAGE; TOTALLY FLEXIBLE, NEVER A SINGLE PROBLEM WITH EITHER CAR (120,000+ TOTAL MILES); FUN CAR ALL AROUND...SO WHAT DOES HONDA DO???

    December 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl

      You've owned two of them in 7 years? Doesn't say much for their reliability.

      December 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Um ...Carl... Maybe he wanted to upgrade for new features/colors or something? How many cell phones have you owned in the last 5 years? Chances are you upgraded for the purpose of having something new , no?

      December 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Can't read English, eh Carl? He owns two of them, both since 2003. One is probably driven by his wife/partner and the other by him.

      December 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LD

      oh snap.

      December 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. EldoradoKing

    My '06 Element is my 4th new Honda, and I've liked it as much as the previous 3. It's a good compromise for me in several areas such as roominess, purchase price, reliability, fun to drive, and bad weather/road capability.
    I'm amazed at the vitriol with which some people criticize others' choice of vehicle. Seems like there's some real insecurity and need for a life at work there. Show me a single mainstream auto journalist who has called the Element a "piece of crap" or similar–the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
    The problem is that the design is 8 years old, which is forever in car years. I hope Honda considers a similar concept with a more modern design.

    December 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ntrain2k

    Goodbye to a fugly design.

    December 4, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
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