2005 Honda Element SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2005 Honda Element SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Honda Element Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 160 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2005 Honda Element

  • Intended to accommodate the lifestyles of the young and active, the 2005 Honda Element is a spunky small SUV with a thoughtfully designed interior wrapped up in a unique shell.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious, waterproof interior, optional all-wheel drive, smooth four-cylinder engine, balanced handling.

  • Cons

    Only seats four, clamshell doors hinder entry/exit for rear-seat passengers, ABS restricted to high-line EX.

  • What's New for 2005

    Side airbags are now standard on the EX, and all audio systems are equipped with MP3 and WMA playback capability. XM Satellite Radio is newly available. Power mirrors, cruise control and new wheel covers have been added to the LX. New features for the EX include a tailpipe finisher, black and blue plastic panels and a new side sill treatment for reduced chipping.

Full 2005 Honda Element Review

What's New for 2005

Side airbags are now standard on the EX, and all audio systems are equipped with MP3 and WMA playback capability. XM Satellite Radio is newly available. Power mirrors, cruise control and new wheel covers have been added to the LX. New features for the EX include a tailpipe finisher, black and blue plastic panels and a new side sill treatment for reduced chipping.


Honda is a company that does its homework and usually doesn't bring a product to market until it's fully developed and ready to make a serious dent in the competition's sales. All the vehicles in their lineup are desirable products that are well regarded and need little explanation. But drive a Honda Element, and you will likely be overwhelmed by questions by other motorists. What is it? Who makes it? What does it do? Now in its third year, the 2005 Honda Element is geared toward young and very active Generation-Y types who want an affordable vehicle that offers flexible cargo-hauling ability along with a sporty persona. The Element is chock-full of features that make it easy to take the mountain bikes to the trailhead, the surfboard to the waves or the 27-inch TV to the dorm or apartment. Riding on a wheelbase of just 101.4 inches and measuring only 166.5 inches in overall length, the Element is compact, yet the space inside makes it hard to believe that the Element is actually 8 inches shorter in length than a Civic coupe. The secret is in having a tall body (at 74 inches, 8 inches taller than a CR-V), which allows the seats to be higher, providing plenty of legroom. By having no B-pillar and allowing the doors to swing open wide (the fronts open up 78 degrees and the rears pivot a full 90 degrees), a 55.5-inch-wide portal allows bulky items to be loaded with ease. The typical problem with this sort of design is that it usually makes for a weaker body structure, but Honda says it more than compensated for the lack of a traditional B-pillar by, in essence, hiding one in each rear door as a reinforced vertical brace. Sounds great, but are Generation-Y surfers really going to cough up a sum as high as $21,000 just so they have something new to carry their surfboards? Or, are they just going to keep their ratty compact pickups and spend their cash on new video game releases? The latter has always seemed more likely to us, and so far, typical Element buyers have tended to be far older than Honda's targeted Gen-Y audience. Regardless of your age, a trip to your local Honda dealer is in order if the Element's qualities appeal to you.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door 2005 Honda Element comes in two trim levels -- LX and EX. With the LX, you'll get power windows and locks, an easy-to-clean urethane utility floor, removable and folding rear seats, waterproof front seats and a driver-seat height adjuster. Additional goodies include power mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning and a CD player. The EX has all of these features plus alloy wheels, an additional cargo area-mounted power point, remote keyless entry, waterproof rear seats, front armrests and a 270-watt audio system. Vehicles with all-wheel drive come with a removable rear sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

Behind the Element's bulldoglike snout is the same 2.4-liter inline four found in the CR-V. Boasting Honda's latest i-VTEC variable valve timing and lift technology, output is rated at 160 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. The Element is available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations, and can be equipped with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.


Four-wheel disc brakes are standard. EX versions get antilock brakes and front side-impact airbags as standard. In government crash tests, the 2005 Honda Element earned a perfect five stars for frontal impact protection. In side-impact tests, it earned five stars for front occupants and four stars for the rear (but with a higher than normal likelihood of head injury). In frontal offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Element earned the top rating of "Good." In IIHS side-impact tests of small SUVs, it earned a "Poor" rating (the lowest), though the vehicle tested did not have the optional side airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

Although the Element, at 71.5 inches, is some 3 inches wider than a CR-V, it is configured to seat four, not five. With stadium-style seating for the rear passengers, those riding in back will enjoy plenty of room and high visibility. With the rear seats removed, cargo capacity is a quite impressive 75 cubic feet. Though the wide opening provided by the clamshell doors is useful, using the rear doors is not as convenient as one might think. To open them, the front doors must be opened first, leading to some annoyance for the front passengers as they always have to open their doors in order to allow people in or out of the rear-seating area.

Driving Impressions

The Element is no speed demon, but it does offer peppy performance with enough smoothness to make everyday commuting a pleasant experience. From behind the wheel, the Element feels as tall and boxy as it is. The steering offers positive feedback and the wide track keeps the Element stable in evasive maneuvers. The only thing that could detract from the fun on the open road is the boxy, high roof that is prone to wind noise.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Pros and cons

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Vehicle: 2005 Honda Element EX AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Nice car, great for a tall person and carrying groceries and other stuff including smaller bicycles. MPG is about 20.

Good car for the value

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Vehicle: 2005 Honda Element LX AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

My husband and I purchased this car new and it has been a blessed experience thus far. It handles well, cleans up well and is holding it's value well. With 96,000 miles on it, we are grateful to God, that it has had no real problems, it has needed one set of breaks and a set of tires, with another one due here pretty soon. My husband drives this car almost everyday back and forth to work and it has been very reliable. AWD does seem to help it to handle well enough in the snow, and it's car we plan on keeping until it finally says no more.

15 mpg! be warned

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Vehicle: 2005 Honda Element EX AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

My v6 Suzuki grand vitara true 4x4 is getting 17.5 and my 4wd element is getting 14.5. Measured both with a kiwi-mpg obd2 tool, so it's accurate. The element really awful to me. Gotta get this off my chest. Low clearance - I already came within a 1/2" of basically ruining my car, the drive shaft guard got all bent up, luckily barely missing the actual drive shaft, this was driving to the grocery store in about 8 inches of snow/ice not true 4x4 - combined with the lack of clearance the 'real time 4wd' is a joke compared to true 4h/4l, the element has to stay up on the road, whereas the gv makes it the whole scary way down to the beach and tears through the sand, downhill in snow? Ha ha

Super element!

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Vehicle: 2005 Honda Element EX AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

Incredible car! I thought my best car ever was my much loved black 1988 Honda CRX Si that I bought brand new right after college. After getting through college in a 1985 CRX, I had to have another one as I thought the CRX was the perfect little sports car. Well, eventually I needed something to haul around my drum kit and gear to gigs. I acquired a 2005 Element EX AWD with about 21,000 miles on it. It now has 138,000 and has literally NEVER been in the shop. All I have ever done is changed the fluids and filters per the recommended schedule. In fact, I have only recently put on new front brakes. Overall, an incredible vehicle and I am currently looking to sell this one and purchase another.

Love my ellie!

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Vehicle: 2005 Honda Element EX AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

All I ever wanted was a Honda Element. Finally, after my '96 Chevy Beretta gave way, I bought a used one. I have two large dogs, and this was the only vehicle I would have. Couple of things. It's everything I thought it would be and more! The dogs have harnesses that attach to the seat belts, so no sliding around. I have two big dogs, so securing two crates to the back isn't an option. Secondly, for $3.50 from a big box store we all know and love, the big blind spots have been completely removed. Most neg. reviews were about blind spots, a very easy fix. And another was the pets sliding around. Well, get a harness. All problems fixed, and I couldn't be ANY happier with my Element.

I call my 2005 red

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Vehicle: 2005 Honda Element LX AWD 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

The only color I wanted when I saw it in the Honda Element palette selection was what they call "Rallye Red." It's a beautiful, clear, bright red that's a knockout. The drab orange and the even more drab olive color that you see all over are not for me. (This review is sounding like a "Click & Clack" radio show where the first question they ask those with car problems is "What color is it?") IN ANY EVENT: This car is the best thing I've ever owned. I was born in Detroit and just turned 65, so that's saying something! It's solid as the brick it looks like, actually FUN to drive, has great head room and is E-Z to get in to and out of. I ordered it with every bell & whistle Honda offered.

Talk About The 2005 Element

2005 Honda Element Discussions See all Started By

Element is much safer than any Kia; check the insurance industry for highway safety report on medical costs for car crashes- NOT TESTS- what actually happens in the real world-www.hwysafety.org/pubs.h...

2005 models also had it. Also, 2005 was the first year of the redesign, and frequently there are more problems with a first year design release, though I can't say that is going to be the case here. ...

2005 Elements won't be on dealer lots until December/January. FYI....

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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