2009 Honda Element SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 Automatic
  • Horse Power 166 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Honda Element

  • The 2009 Honda Element's versatile interior design continues to separate it from the compact crossover pack, but it's getting on in years. We still recommend it for those who will use its flexibility to the fullest.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth power delivery, spacious cabin, removable rear seats, available four-wheel drive.

  • Cons

    Seats only four, awkward rear ingress and egress due to small clamshell doors, unimpressive fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Honda Element receives a Pilot-style grille and loses some of its plastic body cladding. There's also an available voice-activated navigation system with a back-up camera on EX and SC models, and the rear skylight has been discontinued.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (3 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Element sc

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Honda Element SC 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Recently purchased, put first 1K miles on her today. Overall excellent car, feels very safe. For only a 4 cylinder I am averaging only 20 miles per gallon. Interior is cheap for the most part, especially considering it is a $24K rig. Cheap plastic steering wheel, no ipod controls and no security system come standard, you have to add them as accessories. Wake up Honda and make these standard. Heavy orange peel in paint. Extremely vulnerable to chips. This is unacceptable for any modern vehicle.




'09 sc

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Vehicle: 2009 Honda Element SC 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

I've been looking at these cars for some time now and I can't believe I waited so long! Very pleased so far. VERY fun to drive with plenty of power and great fuel economy. I work in an auto body repair facility and I've seen these cars hit in all areas and they hold up incredibly well (I hope I never have to test it) and it was one of the selling factors for me. GREAT sound system, amenities.




Nothing but impressive

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Honda Element SC 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Wow!! Had our heart set on the base Element but the dealership had an SC they were trying to unload and we picked it up for less then the basic Element. Mileage is rated at 8.1L/100km and we have been consistently UNDER that number. We are getting about 30 MPG highway. This vehicle is so versatile. I was worried about it measuring up because I traded in my Acura. The ride is very comfortable, the seats are VERY comfortable, it's easy to clean and really fun to drive. Turning radius is tiny, really easy to park. If the sideview mirrors are adjusted properly there are no blind spots. Haven't come across anything that I'm hauling that doesn't fit in it. Two thumbs up!! Excellent vehicle Honda!!



Full 2009 Honda Element Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Honda Element receives a Pilot-style grille and loses some of its plastic body cladding. There's also an available voice-activated navigation system with a back-up camera on EX and SC models, and the rear skylight has been discontinued.

Introduction

One definition of "element" is a small but significant presence of an abstract quality; another is a substance or primary constituent that can't be broken down into a simpler form. Both meanings describe the spirit of the 2009 Honda Element compact crossover SUV, a back-to-basics interpretation of the compact crossover genre. Having made its debut way back in 2003, the Element's tall, funky-looking body has become a more common sight these days, particularly in regions where outdoor activities reign supreme. Despite its advancing age, this quirky but useful cube on wheels remains an appealing vehicular solution for the young and young-at-heart alike.

The Element has prospered due to its inherent practicality and likable nature, along with an attractive starting price just over $20,000. The boxy cabin has space aplenty for four adults (that's the Element's maximum seating capacity), and its cargo-van-style side doors open wide for easy loading and unloading of bulky cargo. To maximize utility, the Element's rear seats may be folded or removed entirely, and its hose-out textured urethane flooring makes for easy cleanup after a day of surfing or a week of camping.

For 2009, the Honda Element marries these friendly attributes to a mildly refreshed exterior with some new high-tech toys inside. Three Element models are again available -- the basic LX, uplevel EX and sporty SC -- with the latter two featuring an optional new voice-activated navigation system that includes a rearview camera and USB digital media connectivity. Enhanced interior storage is also on tap for the latest Element.

While the 2009 Honda Element is certainly worthy of consideration for shoppers in search of a versatile compact utility vehicle, there are other compelling vehicles that occupy this niche. Those looking for a similarly funky alternative would do well to check out the less-expensive Scion xB, and if you're open to more conventional designs with easier rear-seat entry and exit and greater seating capacity, the Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester or even Honda's own CR-V might serve you better. Power is another consideration. The Element's lone offering is a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, while many competitors can be had with considerably more juice under the hood. The Element remains a solid choice, but it demands some compromises in return for its impressive versatility.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Honda Element is a compact crossover SUV available 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 sport-tuned SC is front-wheel-drive only.

The base LX comes with 16-inch steel wheels, a urethane utility floor, moisture-resistant seats, folding/removable rear seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry and a four-speaker CD audio system. The midlevel EX adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a three-compartment overhead console, a center console with a removable cooler/storage box, a cargo-area 12-volt power outlet, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a seven-speaker audio system with MP3 capability, an auxiliary input jack and satellite radio. Finally, the street-smart SC trim features a lowered sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, a custom grille, a monochromatic paint scheme with body-color bumpers and roof sections, passenger-area carpeting, an exclusive center console design, piano-black interior trim pieces, unique fabrics and copper-colored gauges.

Available on EX and SC models is a voice-activated navigation system with a rearview camera and a USB audio interface.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2009 Honda Element is equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 166 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a five-speed automatic optional. Front-wheel drive is the default configuration, while all-wheel drive is available on the LX and EX models. EPA-estimated fuel economy is somewhat lackluster by current four-cylinder compact crossover standards, ranging from 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for automatic-equipped two-wheel-drive models down to 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined for manual-shift all-wheel-drive models.

Safety

The Element comes standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, active front head restraints, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The Element has earned a perfect five stars in government crash-testing for frontal and side-impact protection. It also received a highest possible "Good" rating from the IIHS for both frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Honda Element seats only four -- a disadvantage compared to other compact SUVs -- but rear passengers enjoy ample room and excellent visibility thanks to the theater-style seating. Cargo capacity is also exceptional: With the rear seats removed, the Element can accommodate an impressive 75 cubic feet of gear. The Element's unique pillar-less access doors make side loading a snap, though their design can be a hassle for transporting people -- the front doors must first be opened before rear occupants are allowed in or out. This can be particularly inconvenient if the rear seats are used regularly.

Driving Impressions

The four-cylinder Honda Element won't win many stoplight drag races, but it delivers peppy enough performance for most daily tasks. The four-wheel independent suspension endows the Element with surprisingly responsive and agile handling, though its ride is noticeably firmer than the average compact crossover, especially in SC trim. At highway speeds, a fair amount of wind noise is produced by the Element's ungainly physique.

Talk About The 2009 Element

Read more about the 2009 Honda Element

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs