When searching for a reliable and versatile vehicle, the Honda Element is likely to catch your attention.
This quirky, spacious SUV had a production run from 2003 to 2011, transitioning from targeting younger demographics to being popular among various age groups on the used car market.
In this article, you’ll learn about the best and worst years for the Honda Element, based on industry reviews, National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) statistics, and consumer feedback.
By the end, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision when shopping for a used Honda Element.
- 1 Best Years for Honda Element
- 2 2005 Honda Element
- 3 2003 Honda Element
- 4 2010 Honda Element
- 5 2007 Honda Element
- 6 Which Honda Element year and model is the best and why?
- 7 Key Features and Specifications
- 8 Engine and Fuel Economy
- 9 Versatility and Design
- 10 Safety Features
- 11 What’s the difference between Honda Element EX and LX?
- 12 Purchasing Guide
- 13 Which Years to Avoid
- 14 Budget Considerations
- 15 Buying Tips and Advice
- 16 Comparing with Competitors
- 17 Honda CR-V vs Honda Element
- 18 Toyota RAV4 vs Honda Element
- 19 Share this post:
Best Years for Honda Element
2005 Honda Element
The 2005 Honda Element is a great option for those looking for a reliable and versatile vehicle.
This year introduced several improvements compared to previous models, making it a popular choice among Honda Element enthusiasts.
Some of its standout features include increased cabin space, comfortable seating, and high safety ratings. As an owner of a 2005 Honda Element, you’ll enjoy its practicality and reliability for daily use or outdoor adventures.
2003 Honda Element
While the 2003 Honda Element was the debut year for this unique SUV, it does have some drawbacks.
The first-generation Element models had more reported problems than later models, so it’s essential to be aware of these issues when considering the 2003 version.
However, if you can find a well-maintained model, it’s still a quirky and practical vehicle with plenty of space and utility.
2010 Honda Element
The 2010 Honda Element is one of the best years for this versatile SUV, boasting improved reliability, powerful yet fuel-efficient engines, and comfortable interiors.
If your priority is value for money, then the 2010 model is an excellent choice. Additional improvements during this year also include better suspension and stability control.
Keep your 2010 Honda Element well-maintained and take advantage of its reliable performance and spacious design, which makes it perfect for daily commuting, road trips, or outdoor adventures.
2007 Honda Element
Another standout year for the Honda Element is 2007. This model year offers excellent versatility and reliability, making it a crowd favorite.
With ample cargo space and practical features, the 2007 Honda Element is an excellent choice for any active individual or family on-the-go.
Make sure to maintain your 2007 Honda Element to enjoy its long-lasting quality and performance. As an owner of this dependable vehicle, you’ll find it a reliable companion for all your travels, be it for work or play.
Which Honda Element year and model is the best and why?
The 2011 Honda Element is considered the best model year due to its improved features, engine performance, and overall reliability.
This model boasts a 2.4-liter inline-four engine that delivers a good balance between power and fuel efficiency.
When it comes to interior features, you’ll find the 2011 Element has comfortable seating, user-oriented controls, and ample storage space.
Moreover, the four-wheel-drive option makes it versatile, perfect for your off-road adventures and camping trips.
Overall, the 2011 Honda Element provides an excellent combination of reliability, performance, and utility, making it the top choice for you among all Honda Element models.
Key Features and Specifications
Engine and Fuel Economy
The Honda Element is equipped with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that was also used in the CR-V. Paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, this SUV provides decent fuel efficiency for its time.
You can expect an estimated mpg of 20 city and 25 highway for the 2009-2011 models.
Versatility and Design
With its boxy and distinctive design, the Honda Element offers a practical and spacious interior.
The 2005 model, considered one of the best years, comes in various trims, including EX and LX, for customization. Opt for the four-wheel-drive version to make the most of its versatility and utility.
Your safety is well taken care of, thanks to stability control and front and side airbags featured in the late model years (2009-2011).
These models are built on the reliable CR-V platform to ensure a strong foundation and peace of mind.
What’s the difference between Honda Element EX and LX?
When considering a Honda Element, you might be wondering about the differences between the EX and LX trims.
To help make your decision easier, let’s take a look at some key differences between these two trims.
The LX trim is considered more basic, while the EX comes with additional features and upgrades. One of the main differences between the two trims is the audio system.
Your LX will have a 4-speaker radio, whereas the EX features a 7-speaker setup with a subwoofer.
Another aspect to consider is wheel design. In the LX, you’ll find steel rims, while the EX comes with alloy rims. This could impact the overall aesthetics of your Element, as well as ride quality.
Seat material is another distinction. The EX version has all four seats treated with a stain-resistant coating, while the LX only provides this on the front seats.
Additionally, the LX comes with black composite fenders, while the EX has color-matched fenders.
Lastly, it’s important to note that the LX trim does not have an iPod port, which might be a consideration if you frequently use your iPod. The EX, on the other hand, ensures you can easily connect your device for music and entertainment.
In summary, the Honda Element EX offers more features and a slightly refined look compared to the LX. When choosing between the two, consider your priorities and preferences regarding audio, wheel design, seat material, and connectivity options.
Which Years to Avoid
When looking for a Honda Element, there are certain years that you should consider avoiding.
The earlier models, such as the 2003 and 2004 Honda Element, may have fewer features and have some common issues, such as faulty door locks and windows. In general, it is recommended to look for models after 2004 for better reliability and features.
Before making a purchase, it’s essential to consider your budget. The 2005 Honda Element is often regarded as the best year due to its modern design, reasonable price, and overall utility.
You may also want to consider the four-wheel-drive version for added versatility. Prices for used Honda Elements will vary based on the model year, features, and mileage.
Buying Tips and Advice
Here are some tips to keep in mind when searching for a Honda Element:
- Research the specific models and years to find the one that best suits your needs and budget
- Prioritize reliability and consider models with a manual transmission, as they tend to be more reliable
- Look for models that come with stability control, as it became standard in 2007 and offers better handling and safety
- Check for any signs of rust on the body or under the cabin, especially in areas with harsh weather conditions
- Investigate the condition of the door locks and windows, as these have been known to be problematic in earlier models.
- If you’re a dog owner, consider looking for models with the dog-friendly package, which includes a dog bed, ramp, and other pet-friendly amenities
Remember that the Honda Element was discontinued in 2011, so you’ll be looking at used vehicles. Take your time and find the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Comparing with Competitors
Honda CR-V vs Honda Element
When considering the Honda Element, it’s natural to compare it with the Honda CR-V, another popular compact SUV model from the same manufacturer.
The 2006 Honda Element and the 2007 CR-V both have some differences in handling. The Element offers a roomier cabin and is designed for a more rugged outdoor experience. Even the first and second generations were some of the best Honda CR-Vs.
However, the CR-V may get better fuel economy and feel more comfortable for daily driving. The Element, particularly the EX AWD and SC trims, focuses on utility, while the CR-V feels more like a family-oriented car.
Both vehicles are based on the Civic platform, and both are known to last long, with some units reaching 300,000 miles. It is important to remember, though, that 2007 was a problematic year for the Element.
Toyota RAV4 vs Honda Element
Another competitor to the Element is the Toyota RAV4. The element differs in design and focus, with its boxy shape and outdoor adventurer appeal.
On the other hand, RAV4 appears more conventional and refined. In terms of fuel economy, the RAV4 may have an advantage as well, making it a more budget-friendly option for long-term ownership.
However, if you prioritize spaciousness and versatility, the Element’s roomy cabin has an edge over the RAV4. However beware of RAV4 common problems such as steering wheel and fuel system problems.
Bear in mind that according to Edmunds, the RAV4 is considered an excellent choice for daily driving. When comparing the two, reflect on your individual needs and preferences in order to decide what suits you best.