The reconstructed 2009 Honda Element entry-level SUV constructs on its roomy and adaptable quality by putting on a more chiseled external look and a revitalized interior design with an expanded collection of available high-tech and useful features. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Pricing (MSRP1) begins at $20,175 (€15,742) for the 2009 Element 2WD LX, plus a shipment and handling charge of $670 (€522).
For the following year, Honda has totally improved each of the three special Element styles that go from the rugged and simple Element LX, to the more elegant Element EX, to the athletic Element SC. The freshly available features on the Element EX and SC consists of the Honda Satellite-linked Navigation System2 with Voice Activation and a rearview camera, for vehicles equipped with automatic transmission only; a USB digital media interface; and enhanced overhead console storage areas with modular partitions.
Considerable cosmetic styling transformations include a fresh front grille and bumper design, refurbished front fenders which is currently metal in contrast to the previous composite material, an innovative hood design, squared wheel arches, and new headlight and taillight arrangements.
"The Element's key strength is a spacious, versatile and rugged interior that adapts quickly and conveniently to people and cargo. For 2009, the enhancements strengthen the totally unique original concept with more refinement and functionality," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Fresh changes inside include new, brighter color designs with titanium-look side linings, new fabric patterns, and modified switchgear designs and meter graphics.
Outfitted with modified low-profile center console is standard on the LX. The EX model throws in a new adaptable center console with a detachable cooler/storage box while the SC model retains its exclusive center console. For more storage space, the Element EX and SC are equipped with a modular three-compartment overhead console based on the Railport Vehicle Personalization System, increasing the vehicle's hidden storage flexibility compared to prior versions. The fresh overhead console has two large storage bins that can contain CD cases and similar items and a rear storage area for sunglasses.
The 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine is obtainable with either a typical 5-speed manual transmission or an offered 5-speed automatic transmission. Real Time 4WD, offered on the Element LX and EX, improves all-weather grip. The Element LX and EX continue to be offered in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive designs, while the sport-tuned Element SC continues to be offered solely in two-wheel-drive. EPA city/highway fuel economy ratings3 range from 20/25 for two-wheel-drive models with an automatic transmission to 18/23 for manual transmission models with either two-wheel-drive or Real Time 4WD.
The inside offers a seating capacity for four people together with a cargo area that instantly adapts to large items with its foldable rear seats that can be folded flat, folded up and folded to the side, or can be altogether removed (64 plus seating configurations). The utility floor of the Element LX and EX is equipped with a water resistant urethane-coat that quickly wipes down and seat fabric that resists moisture; the Element SC has a carpeted passenger area. Standard air conditioning with micron air filtration on all models.
The LX is outfitted with a 4-speaker AM/FM audio system plus a CD player. The EX and SC highlights a 270-watt high-output audio system, an AM/FM tuner, CD player with MP3/WMA 4 capability, auxiliary audio input for MP3 players or other audio devices, audio controls located on the steering wheel, seven speakers including a dynamic linear phase 6.5-inch subwoofer, found in the bottom center of the instrument panel. Standard on the EX and SC is the XM Satellite Radio5. Available also on the 2009 Element EX and SC (with automatic transmission) is the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System, and includes a rear backup camera and a USB audio interface6. The navigation system highlights a 6.5-inch mechanical display that opens and closes for access to an internal single-disc CD player and a digital audio card reader that can play MP3 and WMA files from CompactFlash memory cards. The navigation system contains more than 7 million points of interest and can regulate the audio system.
The voice recognition feature is capable of recognizing and entering numbers, street names and cities. A number of storage bins and glass and bottle holders offer places for cell phones, CDs and super-size drinks. Available storage spaces consists of : a large three-bin tray above the glove box, perfect for mobile phones and portable music players; a modular 3-compartment above-head storage bin (in both the EX and SC only); seat back storage (EX, SC); six hooks for securing bikes or other bulky gear; and door storage pockets on all four doors. Exclusive Element SC interior features include carpeting for the whole passenger area, a console with storage at at the center, ebony black trim pieces and exclusive fabrics and patterns. The center console offers a closed in storage area in the vehicle and combined the secondary audio input jack and two beverage holders. Meter styling color on all Element SC models is copper-hue, substituting the blue backlit lighting on the other versions.
In the following year, exterior styling transformations to the front of the vehicle provide an adequate and bolder appearance. Modifications to the front face and side profile involve a fresh hood line that follows a continuously horizontal plane going from the A-pillar to the front of the vehicle. The fresh design substitutes the downward slope that began mid-fender on prior models and results in a more vertical look for the front of the vehicle. Steel front fenders substitute the composite body panels on all models, but the rear fenders retain their composite construction. The new grille design offers a consistent appearance comparable to other Honda truck versions.
The rear skylight, formerly exclusive to Elements outfitted with RealTime 4WD, has been terminated. The Element SC offers an exclusive look with street custom-inspired styling with a lowered posture and exclusive first-rate features. The exterior styling of the SC demonstrates a performance-centered approach with a single color scheme and unique features that consist of custom front and rear painted bumpers, large alloy wheels, custom grille, and a lowered posture. The lowered posture is attained by lowering the ride height and by using specially shaped painted side sills and slimmer roof moldings. The Element's totally autonomous suspension utilizes a front MacPherson strut design and a rear compact double wishbone design for better handling and a comfortable ride.
A 101.4-inch wheelbase adds to a compact exterior size and an ultra-tight turning diameter of 34.9-feet (36.9-feet, Element SC) offers high maneuverability in tight spots. Chassis safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist (VBA), which is also known as Electronic Stability Control, and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. VBA helps sense oversteer and understeer, and can regulate brake requirements at each wheel and/or reduce engine power to help the vehicle regain the intended course. Electronic Brake Distribution helps to stabilize braking forces depending on dynamic loading. Brake Assist helps apply total braking force in emergency braking conditions.
A Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) warns the driver when tire pressure is considerably under-inflated. Element LX and EX versions are outfitted with 16-inch wheels (steel on LX, alloy on EX) with all-season P215/70R16 tires. Additional LX and EX regular features include power rack-and-pinion steering and front and rear stabilizer bars (30.0x4.5 mm tubular front / 21.0 mm solid rear). The Element SC adds 18-inch alloy wheels, P225/55R18 tires, exclusive spring and damper tuning (30 percent firmer), a lowered ride height (approximately 0.7 inches) and improved rear stabilizer bar size (25.0 mm, solid). Compared to Element LX and EX, the solid front stabilizer bar is 25 percent more rigid and the rear stabilizer bar is 30 percent stiffer.
The steering rack also provides a 6 percent faster ratio (2.94:1 compared to 3.26:1). An all-aluminum, 2.4-liter, DOHC i-VTEC engine produces 166-horsepower at 5800 rpm and 161 lb-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. The Element's i-VTEC system integrates Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) and a cam position-adjusting Variable Timing Control (VTC) system to improve low rpm torque while extending high rpm horsepower. The result is a wide torque curve that begins early at low RPM's while still delivering high-RPM horsepower. The five-speed manual transmission highlights a lightweight and rigid aluminum die-cast housing.
Multi-cone synchronizers employed on first through fourth gears add to a seamless, fluid shift feel while decreasing throw distances. Inside, the instrument panel- mounted shift lever facilitates fast, direct gear changes. The five-speed automatic transmission, which is available, offers exceptional smoothness, economy and spontaneous shift points.
Grade Logic Control enhances gear shifts on hilly roads. Available on Element LX and EX, the Real Time 4WD system improves grip in snow, rain and sand. Real Time 4WD channels power to the rear wheels when the front wheels experience diminishing traction. The vehicle maintenance schedule is computed by the Maintenance Minder7 system. Maintenance Minder automatically points out when to have standard service performed based on actual driving conditions (which is tracked by the ECU) and minimizes the conjecture in determining standard or severe use conditions for maintenance interval purposes.