2011 Honda Element SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 Automatic
  • Horse Power 166 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Honda Element

  • The 2011 Honda Element is well into its twilight years but remains a good option for those who desire a proven and versatile compact utility.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Versatile and roomy cabin; removable rear seats; easy cargo loading; available four-wheel drive; optional Dog Friendly package.

  • Cons

    Seats only four; rear half-doors impede rear ingress and egress; unimpressive acceleration and fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, Honda drops the Element's SC trim, resulting in a streamlined model lineup with LX and EX trims only. The optional manual transmission and optional navigation system have also been discontinued. Honda says 2011 will be the Element's final year before it's discontinued.

Full 2011 Honda Element Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, Honda drops the Element's SC trim, resulting in a streamlined model lineup with LX and EX trims only. The optional manual transmission and optional navigation system have also been discontinued. Honda says 2011 will be the Element's final year before it's discontinued.

Introduction

Entering its ninth model year without a major redesign, the 2011 Honda Element compact crossover looks and performs pretty much as it did back when it debuted in 2003. For many vehicles, such a length of time would result in a bottom-of-the-barrel status for its respective vehicle segment. But the long-lived Element just keeps rolling along year after year, as if to prove the inherent goodness of its original quirky design.

Aside from losing the sporty SC model and EX-only navigation option, the 2011 Honda Element carries over with no content changes. However, it maintains a familiar set of strengths and weaknesses. We appreciate its user-friendly nature, space-efficient design, distinctive styling, four-wheel-drive option and room for four people and their gear. Loading cargo is a breeze thanks to the Element's swing-out rear doors and rear seats that can either be flipped up or removed. A small footprint and a boxy layout also help make the Element highly maneuverable in urban environments. The Element was always particularly dog-friendly, but Fido really loves it now thanks to the aptly named Dog Friendly package introduced last year with its fully enclosed kennel and related accessories.

On the downside, the Element's door layout can be inconvenient for rear passengers, and on the move it's hampered by unimpressive acceleration and fuel economy. As such, newer yet still distinctive competitors like the 2011 Kia Soul, 2011 Nissan Cube and 2011 Scion xB might hold more appeal, while a host of more conventional crossovers offer more power, room and refinement. But for a shopper looking for a small crossover SUV with lots of cargo-friendly utility, the Element continues to be a fine choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Honda Element is a compact crossover SUV available in two trim levels: LX and EX.

The base LX comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, keyless entry, a height-adjustable driver seat, folding and removable rear seats, a urethane utility floor and a four-speaker CD sound system.

The uplevel EX adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a center console with removable cooler/storage box, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a seven-speaker premium audio system with satellite radio and an auxiliary input jack.

The Dog Friendly dealer-installed accessory package adds a rear car kennel, a pet bed, a stowable ramp, dog-patterned seat covers, all-season floor mats, a spill-resistant water bowl, an electric fan and a bag dispenser.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2011 Honda Element is motivated by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 166 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque transmitted through a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive is available on both the LX and EX trim levels.

With a portly curb weight of about 3,500 pounds, the Element isn't very lively. In Edmunds testing, an EX model took a leisurely 10 seconds to complete the 0-60-mph dash. It isn't especially economical either. EPA-estimated fuel economy is below average compared to other four-cylinder compact crossovers (a matter of weight and this vehicle's space-efficient yet boxy profile) at 20 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for 2WD models. The AWD version of the Element offers slightly worse mpg at 19/24/21.

Safety

The Honda Element comes standard with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, active front head restraints, front side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.

The 2011 Honda Element has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) were a perfect five stars for frontal- and side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Element a highest-possible score of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side-impact collision tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Honda Element's cabin design is purposeful but compromised by trade-offs. There's only room for four, while its competitors can seat five or more. Getting in or out of the rear-seat area is an awkward two-step process because of the lightweight rear half-doors; the front doors must be opened before passengers can make their move through the small rear access. This operation can be annoying for drivers who regularly transport rear passengers. On the plus side, the Element's theater-style seating layout offers rear passengers generous room and exceptional views. A multitude of bins and pockets throughout provide plenty of storage options for small items.

Those same rear-hinged access doors shine when it comes to loading cargo from the side. With the Element's rear seats removed, there's an impressive 75 cubic feet of space available. Whether you're loading camping gear, sports equipment or the family pet, the Element's urethane utility floor allows for hose-out cleaning convenience when necessary. Dog lovers will be especially pleased with the EX's dealer-installed Dog Friendly package, which includes an enclosed kennel, pet bed, ramp and more.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Honda Element won't win many street races with its modest four-cylinder engine, but it is smooth and entirely adequate for commuting and regular everyday use. On the move, the Element is surprisingly responsive and agile, though its ride is noticeably firmer than the average compact crossover. The Element's box-on-wheels shape also pushes a lot of air that generates a noticeable amount of wind noise at highway speeds.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Overrated

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Element EX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Bought a used 2011 last yr and had it for a few months. Pros: Easy to clean, esp vinyl flooring, which is a must w/dogs. Able to remove back seats for more room. Consistent 25 mpg. Cons: No telescopic steering wheel, hard, uncomfortable seats, other than power windows/locks, there was nothing updated. Suicide doors were horrible, as were vent windows. How this vehicle was aimed for dogs is beyond me. It should have been 4 doors, all windows could fully open even the back one. Sluggish and the place to charge a phone was also at a inconvenient area.



20 of 20 people found this review helpful

Element has gone to the

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Element EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

My wife hounded (no pun intended) me until we bought a new Element. I am a Honda Sales Consultant and knew the one we had in stock would be one of the last new ones we would be getting so we traded our old 4Runner in on it. The Element is a blast to drive (I also own an S2000) and is the perfect vehicle for our 2 Boxers and a Bulldog to ride in. It is also a great car to take to Lowes or Home Depot.




2011 honda element ex 4x4

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Element EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Excellent Vehicle in so many ways. Great design with the Honda badge. This is my 4th Honda dating back to 1977. Wide open design allows for a great view of the road and all the way around. Tall enough to actually see a lot of sky while driving making the view exceptional. Very easy access for a guy of 50 years old. No twisting your back up to access a smaller or lower car. Very roomy interior, great driving position. It is actually quite comfortable on a longer drive. Tons of room in the back for most anything that does not require a truck to haul. I honestly think for the money this is the most well designed vehicle mae. I sure hate to see production stop on these little gems.



1 of 5 people found this review helpful

Buyer beware!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Element EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Our Element is less than two months old. It has failed now to start twice in the morning. The first time the dealer determined that a faulty window switch was the cause. The dealer was unable to identify the cause of the most recent failure and could offer nothing more than a suggestion that we bring the car back in should the problem happen again - although they were unclear what additional steps they could take at that point. We currently regret the purchase. We had hoped to use this vehicle as our main car for out of town trips but now are not confident driving away from town should the vehicle leave us stranded. Not willing to take that chance from a safety perspective.



12 of 12 people found this review helpful

No other like it

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Element EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

This is my second Element. I traded in my first after losing my dog. Unfortunately I equated the car with the dog. Later I found out I missed the Element so much I had to have another. Traded in my leased MB ML350 early when I found out the Element was going to be discontinued. The versatility is unmatched. You may not think it, but this is a very comfortable car on a long trip. No back ache like I got from some of my other vehicles. On first two fill-ups got 25 MPG. Take the back seat out and you've got quite a hauler. I also like the fact that you can flip up the back seats to the side if you have to and haul a large payload in an emergency.



19 of 19 people found this review helpful

A love affair

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Honda Element EX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

This is my second Element. This car does not appeal to a large base. But once you own one and enjoy the versatility and reliability you can become hooked. If you take the back seats out this baby becomes a van! I did have another car in between but knew I had to have another.



Talk About The 2011 Element

2011 Honda Element Discussions See all Started By

orbit9090
orbit9090
10-22-2010
The 2011 Honda Element is online!...


spectre15
spectre15
02-01-2011
I just purchased a 2011 Honda Element. Unfortunately, after driving the vehicle I have found that there is a constant vibration in the steering wheel at 55-70 mph. I have taken the Element to the deal...


spectre15
spectre15
02-01-2011
I just purchased a 2011 Honda Element. Unfortunately, after driving the vehicle I have found that there is a constant vibration in the steering wheel at 55-70 mph. I have taken the Element to the de...



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