Uncovering the Best and Worst Honda Element Model Years

The best year for the honda element is 2009 and the worst year is 2003 due to its mechanical issues and limited features. The honda element was first introduced in 2003 as a crossover suv that provided ample cargo space and versatility for outdoor enthusiasts.

However, the early models faced several issues such as weak engine power, stiff ride quality, and limited features. As the model evolved over the years, it gradually improved in terms of performance, comfort, and technology. In particular, the 2009 model year received high ratings due to its upgraded engine, smooth ride quality, standard safety features, and spacious interior design.

Despite the gradual enhancements, the honda element was discontinued in 2011 due to declining sales in the suv segment. In this article, we will explore the best and worst years for the honda element based on its safety ratings, reliability, performance, features, and customer feedback.

Uncovering the Best and Worst Honda Element Model Years

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Brief Overview Of Honda Element

The honda element has long been a popular choice for those seeking a reliable, versatile vehicle that offers plenty of space and functionality. However, with a production run that spanned almost a decade, there were certainly some years that stood out more than others.

In this section of the blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the honda element’s history, its target audience, and its performance across different model years.

Brief History Of Honda Element

From its debut at the 2002 new york auto show to its eventual discontinuation in 2011, the honda element was a compact crossover suv that offered a unique blend of practicality, style, and performance. Despite its boxy appearance and somewhat polarizing looks, this vehicle quickly gained a devoted following thanks to its roomy interior, versatile features, and honda’s reliable engineering.

Here are some key points about the honda element’s history:

  • Introduced as a 2003 model
  • Originally targeted at drivers who enjoyed outdoor activities and needed a vehicle that could transport gear and people easily
  • Offered in both two-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations
  • Featured a unique clamshell tailgate design that could be opened from either side
  • Came standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 160 horsepower
  • Offered in several different trim levels with various feature packages

Targeted Audience Of Honda Element

Over the years, the honda element’s target audience evolved as the vehicle gained popularity and picked up more fans. However, from the beginning, honda had a specific demographic in mind when designing this vehicle: outdoor enthusiasts who needed a reliable, versatile, and capable vehicle that could handle all sorts of gear, equipment, and adventures.

Here are some key points about the honda element’s target audience:

  • Initially targeted at surfers, campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts
  • Later gained a broader fan base, thanks in part to its unique styling and features
  • Typically appealed to drivers who prioritized practicality and functionality over style or luxury
  • Known for its roomy interior and flexible seating arrangements, making it a great choice for families, road trippers, and even pet owners
  • Offers plenty of cargo space for hauling gear, equipment, and other items

Overall, the honda element was a well-designed and well-engineered vehicle that offered a unique combination of style, practicality, and performance. While some model years were more successful than others, this rugged little crossover suv remains a beloved classic among honda fans and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Best Honda Element Model Years: What Makes Them Stand Out?

The honda element has been a favorite among car enthusiasts for its unique design, versatile features, and reliable performance. While some model years have been better than others, choosing the best one can be a tough decision. In this post, we’ll focus on the best honda element model years and what makes them standout.

So, fasten your seatbelt, and let’s dive in!

Detailed Insight On The Top 3 Best Honda Element Model Years

When it comes to choosing the best honda element model year, there are a few factors to consider, including reliability, performance, safety features, and design. Here are the top three model years that stand out from the crowd.

2006 Honda Element

The 2006 honda element is one of the best model years for several reasons. It offers a refined and comfortable interior, equipped with a more powerful 2. 4-liter four-cylinder engine that provides an exceptional driving experience. Additionally, this model year is reliable, efficient, and is touted for its impressive safety features.

Here are some of the standout features of the 2006 honda element:

  • Offers excellent safety features such as side-impact airbags and vehicle stability assist.
  • Provides comfortable and efficient performance, delivering power and good fuel economy.
  • Comes with an improved audio system with a cd player and am/fm radio.

2007 Honda Element

The 2007 honda element is another model year worth considering. This model year received several updates from its predecessor and stands out for its unique style and practicality. It has a spacious interior, ideal for carrying passengers, cargo, or both, and is an excellent choice for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, or biking.

Here are some of the features that make the 2007 honda element a great choice:

  • Comes with a comprehensive airbag system and electronic stability control.
  • Offers a spacious interior equipped with waterproof upholstery for easy cleaning and maintenance.
  • Provides reliable and smooth performance, thanks to its powerful four-cylinder engine.

2003 Honda Element

The 2003 honda element was the first model year to be released, and it still makes the list of the best model years of this popular vehicle. This model year has a unique, boxy design and a range of features that make it an excellent choice for anyone looking for practicality and durability.

Here are some of the standout features of the 2003 honda element:

  • Comes with a versatile interior design equipped with flip-up rear seats for carrying cargo.
  • Offers good fuel efficiency, making it a great option for long drives or road trips.
  • Provides a comfortable and stable driving experience, thanks to its relatively powerful engine and sturdy suspension.

What Are The Criteria Of Selecting The Best Honda Element Model Years?

Choosing the best honda element model year can be challenging, but there are a few things to consider. First, reliability is crucial, so look for model years that are known for having few mechanical issues. Second, safety features are essential, especially if you’ll be carrying passengers.

Look for models that come with standard airbags, stability control, and other advanced safety features. Lastly, consider your needs and how practical the car is for your lifestyle and circumstances.

In-Depth Analysis Of The Best Features And Specs That Make These Models Stand Out From The Crowd

The best honda element model years stand out from the crowd for several reasons, including their unique design, versatility, comfort, and safety features. Some of the specific features that make these model years exceptional include their powerful four-cylinder engines, waterproof upholstery, comprehensive airbag systems, and reliable performance.

Additionally, the honda element is practical, efficient, and an excellent choice for anyone who loves outdoor activities.

Choosing the best honda element model year can be challenging, but focusing on reliability, safety, and practicality can make the task easier. While each model year has its benefits, the 2003, 2006, and 2007 honda element stand out for their unique design, versatility, and exceptional features.

Whether you prioritize performance, reliability, or style, one of these model years is sure to meet your needs.

Worst Honda Element Model Years: What To Avoid?

The honda element has been a popular choice for customers since its debut in 2003. However, not all model years are created equal. In this section, we will dive into the worst honda element model years to avoid and what makes them less desirable compared to the best ones.

Elaboration On The Worst Honda Element Model Years

2003 Model Year

  • The 2003 honda element had the most complaints and recalls out of any other model year.
  • The main cause for concern was the transmission issues, which resulted in the car jerking and stalling unexpectedly.
  • Other notable problems included malfunctioning door locks, faulty air conditioning, and defective fuel systems.
  • The lack of safety features that were available in later model years, such as electronic stability control (esc) and side-curtain airbags, also made this model less desirable.

2004 Model Year

  • While the 2004 honda element improved upon some of the setbacks of the previous model year, it still had some lingering issues.
  • The issues mainly revolved around the engine and transmission, with several reports of engine failure and transmission problems.
  • Other common concerns included faulty door handles, leaking roofs, and poor fuel economy.
  • The 2004 model year also lacked essential safety features now considered standard, such as esc and side-curtain airbags.

An Explanation Of What Makes Them Less Desirable Than The Best Ones

The main reason why the 2003 and 2004 honda element model years are less desirable than the best ones is due to their numerous mechanical and safety issues. Honda addressed many of these problems in later model years, making them more reliable, safe, and efficient options compared to their early predecessors.

Comparison With The Best Model Years To Highlight The Differences

Compared to the best honda element model years, the 2003 and 2004 models fall short in several categories. The best model years, such as the 2007 and 2010 honda element, offer:

  • Improved safety features, such as esc and side-curtain airbags.
  • More efficient and reliable engines and transmissions.
  • Better fuel economy.
  • Enhanced comfort, with improved sound insulation and more ergonomic seating.

While the honda element is a great car overall, it’s important to avoid the 2003 and 2004 model years due to their notable mechanical and safety issues. Customers should instead opt for the later, more reliable models with improved safety features and better fuel economy.

Honda Element Model Year Comparison:

A Detailed Comparison Of All Honda Element Model Years

The honda element was first introduced in 2003 and was in production until 2011, with a total of nine model years. Each year had its own design, features, and specifications that made them unique. Let’s take a closer look at each model year to see what sets them apart from each other.


  • First model year
  • Two trims available: Dx and ex
  • Came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Available in front-wheel drive (fwd) or all-wheel drive (awd)
  • Unique clamshell tailgate with a swing-out tailgate door
  • In-cabin utility grid system


  • Introduces the popular sunroof option
  • Improved audio system
  • New latch child restraint system
  • More color options available


  • Revised front and rear fascias
  • Available side-curtain airbags
  • Xm satellite radio as an option
  • New orange color option


  • Updated audio system with mp3 capability
  • New lx trim added
  • Upgraded navigation system option
  • Revised tailgate design with a power outlet


  • Available satellite-linked navigation system
  • Revised front end design
  • Expanded color options


  • Updated exterior and interior styling
  • New sc trim with sport suspension and unique styling
  • Standard electronic stability control
  • Available backup camera


  • Revised grille and headlights
  • Available dog-friendly package with a rear kennel and divider
  • Integrated navigation system available for all trims


  • Final year for the element
  • Reduced trim options, only available in lx and ex
  • Navigation and backup camera included in ex trim
  • Ten available exterior colors

Differences In Design, Features, And Specifications

  • The 2003 model year has a unique clamshell tailgate with a swing-out tailgate door, while later years have a more traditional tailgate design with a liftgate.
  • The available color options changed each year, with some years offering up to ten color choices.
  • The sc trim in 2008 had a more sporty design with a lowered suspension and unique exterior styling.
  • The dog-friendly package in 2009 provided a rear kennel and divider for those traveling with pets.
  • As the years progressed, better technology options were available, such as standard electronic stability control, a backup camera, and an integrated navigation system.

Analyzing The Evolution Of Honda Element Over The Years

The honda element underwent several changes over its nine-year production, including design updates, new features, and upgrades in technology. The vehicle’s distinct characteristics, such as its clamshell tailgate and in-cabin utility system, remained the same throughout the production. However, as the years progressed, the honda element became more refined with better technology options and safety features, making it a reliable and practical choice for anyone in the market for a versatile suv.

Maintenance And Ownership Tips For Honda Element:

Best And Worst Years For The Honda Element: Maintenance And Ownership Tips

Honda is always known for providing sturdy and reliable automobiles, and the honda element is no exception. The compact design and versatility, combined with exceptional performance, make it one of the most popular compact suvs in the market. However, if you are planning to purchase a honda element, there are a few things to consider, such as the maintenance, ownership tips, and the costs of owning one.

This blog post will provide you with some of the essential tips you need to know before purchasing a honda element.

Things To Consider Before Owning A Honda Element

While the honda element is a great car, there are a few things to take into consideration before owning one.

  • Size: The compact design can be great for city driving, but it may not be practical for long-distance travel or carrying large loads. If you frequently haul large items or have a big family, the honda element may not be the best choice.
  • Fuel economy: The honda element’s gas mileage is similar to other standard suvs. So, if you are looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle, this may not be the best fit for you.
  • Seating capacity: The honda element is designed to be a five-seater. If you plan to travel with more than five people, this may not be the most practical vehicle.
  • Maintenance cost: Owning a car comes with maintenance costs, and the honda element is no exception. It’s important to budget for regular maintenance to keep your car running smoothly.
  • Repairs: The honda element has a history of recalls due to issues with the airbags and suspension. Keep in mind that these recalls can add extra expenses to your overall maintenance costs.

Maintenance Tips For Honda Element

Proper maintenance habits can extend the life of your car and prevent expensive repairs down the road. Here are some maintenance tips that every honda element owner should follow:

  • Regular oil changes: Regularly changing your oil can help keep your engine running smoothly. Honda recommends oil changes every 7,500 miles or once per year, whichever comes first.
  • Tire rotation: Regular tire rotation promotes even wear on your tires and can extend their life. Honda recommends having your tires rotated every 7,500 miles or every six months.
  • Regular tune-ups: Regular tune-ups can help ensure that your car is running at peak performance. Honda recommends a tune-up every 100,000 miles or every 7-8 years.
  • Clean air filters: Regularly changing your air filters can help improve your car’s fuel efficiency and performance. Honda recommends changing your air filters every 30,000 miles, or as needed if you drive in dusty or dirty conditions.
  • Check the coolant: Proper coolant levels can prevent your engine from overheating and can extend the life of your vehicle. Honda recommends checking the coolant every time you change your oil.

Cost Of Ownership And Future Prospects

Investing in a honda element can be costly, with a new one starting around $22,000. However, it’s essential to also consider the long-term costs of ownership. Some of the factors that can impact the cost of ownership include:

  • Fuel economy: The yearly cost of fuel for a honda element is approximately $1,750. This includes both city and highway driving.
  • Repairs and maintenance: Regular maintenance is essential to keep your honda element running smoothly and to prevent expensive repairs down the road. Some common repairs and maintenance costs include tire rotation, oil changes, tune-ups, and air filter changes. A general estimate for yearly maintenance and repair costs can range between $400 – $600 annually.
  • Resale value: As with any vehicle, the resale value of a honda element can significantly vary based on age, condition, and mileage.

If you decide to purchase a honda element, you can do so with confidence if you follow the above maintenance tips and take ownership costs into consideration. The honda element’s sturdy build, versatility, and exceptional performance make it a reliable and practical choice for anyone in the market for a compact suv.

Frequently Asked Questions For Best And Worst Years For The Honda Element

What Makes The Honda Element Unique?

The honda element was designed for utility and functionality with a boxy shape, suicide doors, and easy-to-clean interior.

What Is The Best Model Year For The Honda Element?

The 2005 honda element has been voted the best year due to its reliability and improvements to the engine.

How Does The Honda Element Handle In Bad Weather?

The honda element has a capable all-wheel-drive system, making it suitable for driving in rough weather conditions.

What Is The Gas Mileage Like For The Honda Element?

The honda element gets an average of 22-23 miles per gallon, making it a fuel-efficient option in its class.

How Reliable Is The Honda Element For Long-Term Use?

The honda element has proven to be a reliable vehicle with proper maintenance and repairs, and many owners have reported over 200,000 miles driven.

What Are Some Common Problems With The Honda Element?

Some common issues reported by honda element owners include transmission problems, engine knock, and malfunctioning sway bars.

Is The Honda Element Spacious Enough For A Family?

The honda element is a spacious vehicle with ample room for passengers and cargo, making it a practical choice for families.


After conducting a thorough analysis, it is safe to say that the honda element has had its fair share of good and bad years. While 2003-2006 and 2009-2011 proved to be the best years in terms of reliability, performance, and overall satisfaction, the period between 2007-2008 appears to be the worst years for the honda element.

Despite its drawbacks, the honda element remained a cult favorite among car enthusiasts thanks to its practical design and versatility. It is worth noting that while these years might have been a deciding factor for many buyers, they shouldn’t be the only thing to consider when purchasing a honda element.

It is always important to research and compare models across different generations to get a comprehensive understanding of what car offers the best value for money. With that said, the honda element has proven to be a reliable and practical vehicle, and it has earned its place as a solid contender in the automotive market.