2008 Honda Element SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Honda Element SUV

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Honda Element Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 166 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Honda Element

  • With its box-shaped interior, wipe-clean floor and removable seating, the 2008 Honda Element offers plenty of practicality at a reasonable price. However, its utilitarian wrapper may put off buyers for whom SUV ownership is as much about style as it is about functionality.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth engine, nimble handling, spacious interior, optional all-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Only seats four, clamshell rear doors complicate entry/exit for rear passengers.

  • What's New for 2008

    After a major update last year, the Honda Element returns for 2008 unchanged.

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good value

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Honda Element

I bought this vehicle new in 2007. got 97K miles now. It has served us reliably well as you hope from a honda with 2 exceptions. right after the warranty expired we had to shell out 500 bucks to replace a rear strut that was gone. and the original battery left us stranded multiple times when it was only 3y old. . i read on blogs that many people had that problem. since it got replaced, out of my pocket, that issue is gone. the door design is weird if you have people actually using the rear seats. especially in tight parking spots. you get trapped in the space between 2 doors. it gets worse if you have to get little children out of their child seats in the rear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2007 ex awd atomic blue

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Honda Element

Although I bought it used in 2012 about 6 months ago with 53,000 on the Odo, it has been very worthwhile in just about all catagories although Im used to V6 power in other vehicles it is still "peppy" enough for me although I did wish it got better gas mileage or maybe it is I am just not used to it? Overall in 99.9% I would give it a definate thumbs up. Its been very dependable and durable and I cant wait to try it out on the snow this year in NE Iowa. Of course I was almost sure I would love it? Its a Honda and they are known for reliability!

Good car, not quite as

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Honda Element

I had this car for three years and about 32,000 miles, drove it across the country and in Montana for a year. The drive is good, not remarkable. The gearbox is solid and smooth. The turning radius is very good! The build quality was great, and I had no problems with the engine just regular maintenance. My only problems were with the "realtime" all wheel drive and the cargo capacity. This car is marketed as a young adventure vehicle. Well with a gross payload of 600ish lbs.....4 people generally hits the limit so no gear, as long as you keep it light your ok. The AWD was slow to react to slipping wheels so you start sliding on spinning wheels too often. what is the point of the tilt sunroof?

A great used car to

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Honda Element

I bought My 07 Honda Element. It has 63,000 miles on her but it drives like a brand new car. I was gonna purchased a Saturn Vue but it was promised to another buyer. It was a stroke of luck the dealer had the Element available. Yes it is a bit bouncy but I was very impressed with everything on the Element. Even being 3 almost 4 years old it was turning heads, I got the silver S C. A very handsome and very practical car. If you are looking for a Cadillac ride you wont like it. If you are looking for a great fun to drive practical people and property hauler look at the Elements. As far as the interior it is either a like or dislike. The triple design to me is a nice touch. Get one !

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

One of my favorites!

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Honda Element

The element lacks in features such as auto headlights, USB, power seats, sunroof, etc. The gas mileage is less than you would expect from a Honda. In all honesty I could care less about that. I absolutely love this car. Even those who give this thing lower ratings rarely cite any real material issues such as engine or transmission issues. The stereo is great for a factory set up. This is absolutely one of my favorite purchases.

2007 element

by on
Vehicle: 2007 Honda Element

Fell in love with this vehicle at the showroom and still enjoy driving it but alot of the features may not be right for everyone so do your homework if you want to buy one.


Full 2008 Honda Element Review

What's New for 2008

After a major update last year, the Honda Element returns for 2008 unchanged.


Upon its debut in 2003, the Honda Element was a novelty among compact crossover SUVs. Its chunky body, tall profile and surprisingly stubby dimensions set it apart on the road, and its suicide rear doors were downright daring. While this quirky cube-on-wheels has had limited appeal for the young, active types Honda originally hoped to attract, the Element has proven rather popular among a slightly older crowd of buyers.

A likely reason for the Element's steady sales is its practicality. Its cabin is notably spacious for adults in both rows. In addition, its side doors open to form a huge portal for easy loading of bulky objects, and its rear seats can be configured in multiple ways, or removed entirely. Urethane flooring allows easy clean-up with soap and water after a day at the beach.

Underneath, the Honda Element's mechanicals closely resemble those of other compact crossover SUVs -- no surprise, given that its platform is shared with the previous-generation Honda CR-V. As a result, the Element delivers decent power and friendly fuel economy, and handles nimbly on its all-independent suspension. Performance is respectable all-around, and its driving experience is pleasantly carlike.

The 2008 Honda Element represents the sixth year of this small SUV's model cycle. Although Honda's funkiest vehicle has aged well, we'd also suggest checking out newer rivals like the Scion xB and Toyota FJ Cruiser, both of which make more of a styling statement these days. In addition, the Scion has a much lower price tag and is apt to be a bigger draw for twenty-somethings paying off college loans. Practical-minded shoppers would also be wise to investigate the Element's more conventional competition, including the Ford Escape, Jeep Patriot, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4 and even Honda's own CR-V. Their normal doors make entry/exit an easier affair, and all of them have an extra fifth seat (and in a few cases, a sixth and seventh) and a longer list of available amenities. Some also offer V6 engines with considerably more power than the Element's four-cylinder.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Honda Element is a compact crossover SUV. It comes in three trim levels: LX, EX and SC. The Element LX and EX are available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations, while the SC is front-drive only.

The LX comes with 16-inch steel wheels, an easy-to-clean urethane utility floor, removable and folding rear seats, waterproof front seats and a driver-seat height adjuster. Other standard amenities include air-conditioning, full power accessories, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, 100-watt CD stereo and keyless entry. The EX adds alloy wheels, body-color fenders and door handles, a cargo area-mounted power point, waterproof rear seats, a 270-watt audio system with MP3 capability, an auxiliary jack, satellite radio and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Finally, the sporty SC trim has a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, projector beam headlights, body-colored bumpers and roof, and copper-colored gauges. All-wheel-drive Elements come with a removable rear sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

All Honda Elements use a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 166 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional.


You'll find antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction control and stability control on every 2008 Honda Element. Front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are also standard. In crash tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Element earned a perfect five stars for frontal-impact protection. Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Element a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

Unlike most compact SUVs, the Honda Element only accommodates four. However, its stadium-style seating rewards rear passengers with plenty of room and high visibility. Cargo room is exceptional; unlike most competitors, the Element's rear seats can be removed, allowing it to swallow 75 cubic feet of cargo. The fact that its side doors open wide eases loading, though their clamshell design can be a hassle. Opening the rear doors entails first opening those in front. This means that front passengers are forced to open their doors to allow people in or out of the rear seating area. Dropping off kids curbside without a front passenger to open the door can be particularly irksome. On the plus side, the seat-mounted front seatbelts added last year are more user-friendly than the previous B-pillar-mounted setup.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Honda Element is no speed demon, but it does offer peppy performance, with enough smoothness to make everyday commuting a pleasant experience. The steering offers positive feedback, and the wide track keeps the Element stable in evasive maneuvers. The only thing detracting from the fun is the wind noise generated by the Element's boxy, tall body. Also keep in mind that while the Element rides nicely enough, it has a stiffer suspension than most compact SUVs, especially on the SC version.


Talk About The 2008 Element

2008 Honda Element Discussions See all Started By

I own a 2008 Element LX and love it. Problem is with my wife's vanity. She, when riding in the front passenger seat, will pull the rear view mirror around to adjust her lipstick/makeup. The LX's su...

Any news on the redesign?...

aluminum hardtop provides shelter from the elements and admission to tracks where open-top cars aren’t allowed. With the top off, the S2000 CR will weigh approximately 2765 pounds, almost 90...

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