2008 Honda Element

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18 CITY / 23 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2008:
  • New paint color for Element SC: Royal Blue Pearl
Honda launched the Element as a 2003 model. The idea was to create a vehicle for 20-something males, though a much wider demographic discovered that the boxy exterior shape meant a roomy and versatile interior. The Element received a makeover in 2007 that included updated exterior and interior styling, more power for its engine, and enhanced safety features, as well as a new Element SC model with special design cues and a sport-tuned suspension.

Model Lineup
The 2008 Honda Element is available in LX, EX and SC trim levels. The LX comes with power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; air conditioning; CD stereo; black composite panels on the fenders; numerous storage bins and beverage holders; and six hooks in the freight area for strapping down cargo from boxes to bicycles. The EX features a 270-watt audio system with MP3-capable CD player, XM satellite radio and steering-wheel-mounted control, additional storage binnacles, alloy wheels, and body-color fender panels. LX and EX models equipped with 4-wheel-drive (4WD) get a removable glass roof skylight for the rear seats. The SC adds a center console and full carpeting in place of the LX/EX's urethane-coated \"utility floor,\" plus a lowered and sport-tuned suspension and \"Street Custom\" exterior styling (18-inch wheels, \"aero\" grille, and projector-beam headlamps).

All 2008 Honda Elements are powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 166 hp at 5500 rpm and 161 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. Honda offers the Element with a choice of 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. SC models are front-wheel drive (FWD), while LX and EX models are available with Honda's Real Time 4WD system. EPA fuel economy estimates are 21 mpg city/25 mpg highway for FWD Elements with a manual transmission, 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway for FWD automatics, 21 mpg city/24 mpg highway for 4WD manuals, and 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway for 4WD automatics.

The 2008 Honda Element is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) \"Top Safety Pick,\" thanks to \"Good\" ratings (IIHS' top mark) in front- and side-impact tests and the availability of standard electronic stability control. The Element also fared well in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests, with perfect 5-star ratings for front and side impacts. However, the Element received a 3-star rollover rating from the agency. Along with electronic stability control, all 2008 Honda Elements feature dual front air bags, front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags, and anti-lock brakes as standard equipment.

All 4WD 2008 Honda Elements use Honda's Real Time 4WD system, which is fully mechanical and does not rely on electronics. Should the front wheels slip, power is directed to the rear wheels until traction is recovered.

J.D. Power Ratings

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Vehicle Dependability Study
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