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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Cars.com Staff
November 11, 2008
Vehicle Overview The Honda Element gets some exterior and interior changes for 2009 and also receives some new electronic features.
Available in LX, EX and SC trims, the Element competes with rivals such as the Jeep Compass, Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue.
New for 2009 The Honda Element receives an updated interior and exterior. A rearview backup camera, USB hookup for an MP3 player and GPS navigation with voice activation are also newly optional.
Exterior The Element gets redesigned headlamps and taillamps and a new front grille. It now more closely resembles its larger, more sedate cousin, the Pilot.
Center-opening swing-wide doors with no B-pillar remain, but a rear sunroof is no longer available. The SC features a different, custom grille, painted bumpers, larger wheels and a lowered stance. Its just-under-170-inch length makes the Element significantly shorter than the Rogue, Escape and Compass.
Available 16- or 18-inch wheels
Standard power mirrors
Chrome exhausts tips (EX and SC)
Optional fog lamps
Interior The Element gets a new, redesigned center console, new color schemes, fabric and switchgear designs. The Element EX and SC also get a new three-compartment overhead storage unit.
The front and rear seats can be folded or moved — Honda claims 64 different seating configurations — creating a large, open cargo space. The Element's small exterior belies its accommodating 103.6 cubic feet of passenger space and maximum 74.6-cubic-foot cargo area, both of which beat its competitors.
SC versions get a carpeted cargo area, while the regular model has a wipe-clean plastic surface. The SC's dashboard is darker and less fanciful, with piano-black trim around the center control panel and vents, as well as on the steering wheel; the seats feature a unique patterned design.
Standard air conditioning
Standard power windows and locks
Standard water-resistant seats (LX and EX)
270-watt audio system (EX and SC)
Optional GPS navigation system
Optional USB jack for MP3 players
Under the Hood The Element keeps the same powertrain offerings as before. The SC features a sports-tuned suspension and steering.
166-horsepower, inline-four-cylinder engine with 161 pounds-feet of torque
Available five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission
Available front- or all-wheel drive
Safety Available safety features include:
Standard side-impact airbags
Standard side curtain airbags
Standard antilock braking system
Standard electronic stability system with traction control