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2005 Honda Element

$2,582 — $10,558 USED
Sport Utility
4 Seats
22-23 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Versatile cargo loading
  • Distinctive appearance
  • Reputation for reliability
  • Fuel economy

The Bad

  • Controversial upright profile
  • Bouncy ride on rough surfaces

What to Know

about the 2005 Honda Element
  • 160-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Manual or automatic
  • FWD or AWD
  • Pillarless side-door layout
  • Unusually tall profile

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Youthful shoppers gave a big thumbs-up when Honda exhibited its Model X concept vehicle at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. Because of that reaction, the innovative light truck wound up on what Honda called the "fast track to production." As a result, the youth-oriented Element was launched as a 2003 model.

Honda said the Element combined the best traits of a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle while retaining the most striking feature of the Model X concept: a pillarless side-door configuration that yields cargo-loading flexibility. Even though it was directly aimed at active young buyers, the Element has appealed to quite a few older folks who appreciate its practical merits.

For 2005, side-impact airbags are standard on EX models, which also gain standard XM Satellite Radio as well as MP3 and Windows Media Audio playback capability. Power mirrors and cruise control have been added to LX models. Built in Ohio, the Element comes with front- or all-wheel drive.


Exterior
Center-opening swing-wide doors with no B-pillar between them are the most notable styling feature of the Element's straightforward exterior design. To create a wide entrance space, the rear doors are hinged at the back while the front doors are front-hinged. The Element is smaller than the Japanese automaker's Pilot SUV, but its styling is undeniably more adventurous.

Interior
Functionality is considered one of the Element's main attractions. The rear seats fold d...
Vehicle Overview
Youthful shoppers gave a big thumbs-up when Honda exhibited its Model X concept vehicle at the 2001 North American International Auto Show. Because of that reaction, the innovative light truck wound up on what Honda called the "fast track to production." As a result, the youth-oriented Element was launched as a 2003 model.

Honda said the Element combined the best traits of a pickup truck and a sport utility vehicle while retaining the most striking feature of the Model X concept: a pillarless side-door configuration that yields cargo-loading flexibility. Even though it was directly aimed at active young buyers, the Element has appealed to quite a few older folks who appreciate its practical merits.

For 2005, side-impact airbags are standard on EX models, which also gain standard XM Satellite Radio as well as MP3 and Windows Media Audio playback capability. Power mirrors and cruise control have been added to LX models. Built in Ohio, the Element comes with front- or all-wheel drive.


Exterior
Center-opening swing-wide doors with no B-pillar between them are the most notable styling feature of the Element's straightforward exterior design. To create a wide entrance space, the rear doors are hinged at the back while the front doors are front-hinged. The Element is smaller than the Japanese automaker's Pilot SUV, but its styling is undeniably more adventurous.

Interior
Functionality is considered one of the Element's main attractions. The rear seats fold down to create a large, open cargo space in the rugged, easy-to-clean interior. Space is sufficient for hauling surfboards, snowboards, mountain bikes and other outdoors equipment that young buyers with athletic lifestyles are presumed to use. A 270-watt seven-speaker audio system is installed in the EX model.

Under the Hood
The Element's 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 160 horsepower. Either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission can be installed.

Safety
Antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard on the EX model.

Driving Impressions
With its pillarless design and washable floor, this SUV offers substantial versatility and practicality and a distinctive appearance. Approximately 8 inches taller than the Honda CR-V, the Element is very upright and tall.

Don't let the Element's youth-focused credentials sway your decision. Regardless of the driver's age, this can be an enjoyable compact SUV to drive. Its handling is positive and quite precise. The firm suspension yields a smooth ride on good pavement, though the Element gets bouncy on rougher surfaces.

Performance ranks as strong but not stunning. The manual gearbox's shift lever is mounted on the console and is easy to operate. Extra-comfortable seats round out the pluses on one of the more intriguing entrants into the SUV arena.


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.7
51 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Read reviews that mention:

(4.0)

Guaranteed go-to to get-to.

by Clevs4 from Louisville Ky on November 15, 2018

This car is fun to bug around in! Required replacement parts for transmission and brake systems. If you?re looking for cadillac smooth ride, this isn?t it, but if looking for fun and adventure...this ... Read full review

(5.0)

I love my toaster too!

by xJaeihx from Summerville, GA on July 6, 2018

I'm kind of late in the game. I've always liked how the Element looked but never got around to buying one until just a few weeks or so ago. I absolutely love it! I never thought I would enjoy a car as ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2005 Honda Element currently has 7 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Latest 2005 Element Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Element received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker