News Releases 2003

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April 16, 2003

Honda Introduces the Element - An SUV that Delivers New Value

April 16, 2003-Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced the release of a new SUV*1, the Element, featuring a strikingly original exterior look that delivers new value with its center-pillarless body construction, freestyle door arrangement on both sides, highly water-resistant interior, and cargo space to accommodate a ten-foot-long surf board. The Element will go on sale April 18th at Honda Verno dealers throughout Japan. 

The Element greets users with an inviting sense of spaciousness as soon as they open the door, and wraps them in a comfortable interior environment once they are inside and the doors are closed. The Honda Element is an SUV designed according to a lifeguard station*2 motif, a familiar object among youthful Americans who seek a free and active lifestyle. 

The use of large-section structural materials and reinforced joints yields high body rigidity, despite the elimination of center pillars in its construction. The Element also employs a hook-and-catch system to prevent doors from impinging on the cabin area in the event of a side collision. This safety feature is combined with Honda's original G-Con (G Force Control) Technology to assure exceptional collision safety performance. 

The 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC engine and 4-speed automatic transmission generate smooth, powerful performance with excellent fuel economy. The Element also delivers outstanding environmental performance, meeting both Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport requirements for Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEV) and fuel efficiency standards for 2010.

The Honda Element was developed by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., and built at the East Liberty Auto Plant of Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (Ohio, USA) for import to Japan.

*1   SUV: Sport Utility Vehicle
*2   Lifeguard Station: A lookout station on a beach used by lifeguards employed to protect bathers and surfers.


*About the Model Name:   The Element is named after the four basic "elements" --- earth, air, fire and water --- that make up the physical world. For those who wish to lead a free and independent lifestyle, this vehicle is meant to be as essential for existence as the elements from which it gets its name.

Monthly sales target ¥1,000 units


Manufacturer's suggested retail price(consumption tax not included; units: ¥1,000)


Type Engine Transmission Drive Price
Element 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC 4-speed automatic 4WD 2,590
  • Body Colors (five in all):
    Sunset Orange Pearl (new color); Satin Silver Metallic; Nighthawk Black Pearl; Galapagos Green Metallic; Shoreline
    Beige Metallic

Main Features of the Honda Element

Distinctively designed around a concept of freedom

  • Element's original design gives an impression of toughness and simplicity. Taking its cue from a lifeguard station motif, it expresses a sense of the open space conveyed by sea and sky, as well as the feeling of freedom that goes with spending your leisure time as you please. Instead of paint, the floor is coated with a new, highly scratch-resistant plastic finish; which expresses both functionality and individuality.
  • The instrument panel, which is designed along horizontal lines, houses an independent three-meter cluster containing cone-shaped meters with a wristwatch look. The instruments, large air vents, and other components are arranged independently to create a distinctive layout.
  • Body colors are selected around a theme of colors found in the natural world. There are five variations to choose from, including the new Sunset Orange Pearl. There is also a selection of three interior / seat color patterns to go with the body colors.

Robust body construction with a wide-open design

  • The center-pillar-less body construction and freestyle door arrangement on both sides yields a large door opening area 1,140mm high*3and 1,550mm wide*3. The rear side access doors employ a goose-neck type hinge that allows a door opening angle of 90 degrees, for easy loading and unloading of especially large or long objects.
  • The clamshell tailgate facilitates effortless cargo loading. The lower gate also folds down to seat two adults, while the upper section provides shade and protection from the weather.
  • Despite the center-pillar-less design, the use of large-section materials, joint reinforcements, and other measures results in exceptional body rigidity.
  • *3Honda in-house measurements

Tough and flexible utility for the most demanding of users

  • A plastic tank combined with rear suspension layout and other structural measures are employed to achieve a low, flat floor design that opens up ample stowage space, while sliding rear seats equipped with a flip-up mechanism permit a variety of seating arrangements.
  • The Element incorporates a wipeable floor that lets users stow dirty gear without having to worry about cleanup, along with waterproof seat coverings and a water-repellent roof lining that can be wiped dry. These features combine to facilitate an active lifestyle.

Driving performance

  • The 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC engine and 4-speed automatic transmission achieve powerful torque, high fuel economy, and low exhaust emissions. The suspension is designed for an optimum balance of responsiveness and stability. Real-time 4WD distributes optimal drive power to all wheels in response to driving conditions, yielding powerful performance on any surface.
  • The Element also assures excellent maneuverability with a minimum turning radius of just 5.2 meters.

Safety performance

  • Honda's original G-CON (G-force Control) technology is incorporated to create a new body with a crash safety design that is among the best in the world. It can protect vehicle occupants in a 55km/h full-frontal collision, a 64km/h front offset collision, a 55km/h side collision, and a 50km/h rear collision.
  • To further improve safety in real-world collisions, Honda has implemented its own vehicle-to-vehicle collision testing program*4 with its own independently established research standards.
  • The Element's side frame ends are fitted with compatibility brackets to ensure that the frontal impact absorbing area is the same height as that of the other vehicle in a frontal collision. Consideration is given to efficiently absorbing the crash energy of both vehicles during a collision.
  • The vehicle body employs an impact-absorbing design to reduce head and leg injuries to pedestrians during a vehicle-pedestrian accident. The interior is designed to protect occupants' heads in a collision, and front-row seats are also designed to alleviate shocks to the neck. These and other measures assure a high level of crash safety that reduces injuries in real-world accident situations for occupants and pedestrians alike.
  • *4Testing involves a 50% front offset collision with a 2-ton class passenger car, both vehicles traveling at 50km/h.

Environmental Performance

  • Atmospheric pollutants (HC and NOx) in the exhaust gas are dramatically reduced. The Element clears government emissions regulations for the year 2000 with a margin of more than 75%, earning it Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport certification as an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV).
  • High-efficiency combustion technologies achieve a low fuel consumption of 10.6 km/L*5, which complies with government regulations for fuel economy for 2010.
  • Most interior injection-molded parts are made of olefin resin for superior recyclability. This and other measures result in an overall vehicle recyclability of over 90%*6.
  • Aluminised radiator and heater cores, ceramic glass brake pads, and other measures have resulted in a reduction in the amount of lead used to one third of 1996 levels.
  • *5Fuel consumption when driven in 10-15 mode. (Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport figures.)
  • *6According to independent Honda measurement standards