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2006 Honda Element Sport Utility Crossover

2WD LX AT

Starting at | Starting at 22 MPG City - 26 MPG Highway

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  • $18,550 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2006 Honda Element Sport Utility Crossover

Printable Version

2006 Honda Element Sport Utility Crossover

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2006 Honda Element

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Honda Element is a versatile box on wheels, combining unique and practical features with utilitarian chic.

Honda designed the Element for young adventurers who need to haul wet or messy gear, but with the security of an enclosed cargo area. The Element combines those practical considerations with car-like performance and economy.

Its durable, scratch-resistant interior is a big part of the charm here. The seats are designed to get wet and the back seats can be easily removed, serving up a huge cargo area. Loading and unloading gear curbside is aided by the Element's low step-in height. These features also make the Element a good dog car. Canines can easily walk in through one of the side doors, the interior is dog friendly, and there's not much to damage or stain.

In spite of its utilitarian appearance, the Element drives more like a car than a truck, and it's built with components from the Honda Civic.

Honda introduced the Element as a 2003 model and there haven't been a lot of changes since, but the 2006 Element features a host of equipment changes and adds a new trim level called the EX-P.

Model Lineup

The Element is powered by Honda's i-VTEC 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It comes with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission ($800). All models are available with front-wheel drive (2WD) or Honda's Real Time 4-Wheel Drive (4WD). The 4WD models feature a large rear skylight that tilts open or removes completely and stores inside the vehicle. The 2006 Honda Element comes in three trim levels, LX, EX and EX-P.

The LX ($17,750) and LX 4WD ($19,150) come with air conditioning with micron filtration, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, cruise control, an adjustable steering column, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo.

The EX ($19,625) and EX 4WD ($21,025) add side-impact airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS); aluminum wheels; remote keyless entry; a passenger-side armrest; and a seven-speaker, 270-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with XM Satellite Radio capability plus an auxiliary input for MP3, WMA, or other digital media. Silver EX models are accented by blue cladding and trim, while Red and Magnesium EX models feature black trim.

The new EX-P ($20,125) and EX-P 4WD ($21,525) feature all of the goodies of the EX, but are distinguished by body-colored fenders and door handles and some unique color options, including Tango Red Pearl and Tangerine Metallic.

Safety features on all Elements include front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters to reduce the chance of belt-related injuries. The Element earned a five-star rating for both driver and front-seat passenger in the federal (NHTSA) frontal crash test. EX models include ABS and front-seat side-impact airbags for torso protection. (Curtain airbags, designed for head protection in a side impact or rollover, are not available on the Element.)

Walkaround

The Honda Element is all about the box, the ultimate shape for cargo functionality. The Element's shape proudly proclaims its utility.

Further distinguishing the Element are the dark gray panels used for the front and rear fenders, front fascia, and rocker panels made of a scratch- and dent-resistant composite material. These panels are painted to match the body color on the 2006 Element EX-P model, giving the Element a different look.

From the front, the Element has a cheeky, chunky look accentuated by rectangular headlights and the unusual design of the bumper. In profile, it has a shape unlike any other on American roads. The hood line is fairly low and leads to a steep windshield flowing into a gently curved roofline, while the rear tailgate is nearly vertical.

The tailgate is split horizontally. The top half raises like a hatch, the bottom half drops like a tailgate. Honda suggests the lower half can be used as a seating surface for parties. At times it almost seems to raise the rear load height. The Element's rear corners are nicely curved, so it doesn't look as chunky from behind. Large wheels help ensure the Element doesn't look like a minivan.

Interior Features

The Honda Element has lots of room for passengers and cargo, with a flexible interior designed to handle all combinations of people and stuff. The front seat area provides acres of headroom, and there's no center tunnel between the front seats to get in the way.

The rear seats are roomy as well. They're raised off the floor a couple of inches higher than the front seats, giving back-seat passengers better visibility over the front seats. However, we found rear-seat passengers complained about not being able to see signs and buildings; they have to stoop to see out the windshield. This makes the Element a poor choice for taking a group sightseeing.

One of the most notable features of the Element is its pillarless, rear-hinged back doors. A traditional vehicle would have a B-pillar right behind the front seats. With no B-pillar to get in the way, the Element offers unusually easy access to the rear seating area. For safety reasons, however, the rear side doors cannot be opened unless the front door has been opened first. Likewise, the rear doors have to be closed before the front doors can be closed. This design results in a shuffle whenever dropping off back-seat passengers because the front-seat occupants have to unbuckle their seatbelts and open their doors to let rear passengers in or out. Pull up next to a wall and your passengers will find themselves stuck in an unexpected, intimate party, as they all get trapped between the two open doors.

When it comes to moving cargo, the Element is truly is in its element. It's a great vehicle for getting groceries. The center-opening doors allow easy loading of bulky objects without having a pillar to get in the way. The rear seats fold down easily, and can be swung up to the side, leaving an uninterrupted flat floor space. The rear seats can be easily removed without tools and are relatively light, making it easy to stick them in them in the garage when cargo carrying is the mission. The front passenger seatback can be folded forward to make room for a 10-foot surfboard, which would still leave room for the driver and one passenger behind the driver: two surfers, two surfboards, in other words. All the seats, including the driver's, can be folded back to make a large double bed, though it's not the most comfortable bed we've slept in. When parked, the Element can be set up to serve as a giant locker for outdoor gear, a truly great feature. However, while the step-in height is low from the side, it's relatively high from the rear.

The floor is covered in a urethane-coated material that resists water, dirt and scratches, and is easily cleaned. The front seats are coated in a waterproof material designed for easy cleaning as well. The rear seats are covered with the same material on LX and EX models.

Storage areas abound. The backs of the front seats have large storage pockets. The seats on the driver's side of EX models also have bungee cords on the back to secure larger objects. This helps secure your gear so it isn't rolling around. Cup holders can be found on the backs of folded seats. Honda offers a cargo organizer and cargo nets as accessories.

With its flip down tailgate, the Element should be good for parking lot parties. In fact, a tailgate seatback is available as an accessory that makes the tailgate a more comfortable place to sit.

The Element is a good vehicle for moving canines. Pull up tight to a curb and dogs can step right into the large cargo area. We know several dog sitters in Los Angeles that use the Element to transport dogs, sometimes a half-dozen of them at a time. They throw down carpeted mats to give the dogs grip. D-rings and other tie-downs allow cross tethering. While the Element is a good, affordable vehicle for big dogs, it could be even better. Ventilation can be an issue. The rear passenger windows vent manually, so they don't offer much ventilation and the driver has to stop and get out of the

Driving Impressions

The Honda Element comes with the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine used in the Accord. It's as sweet as any Honda engine, which means it revs freely and has good low-end torque. Honda has revised its horsepower numbers for the 2006 Element in response to a new Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) testing standard that's affecting all manufacturers. The Element's engine is now rated at 156 horsepower, less than last year's model, but that's only a number. The performance has not changed, just the way it's measured.

The engine provides plenty of power with the manual transmission. The manual transmission features a delightful shifter mounted up in the dashboard like in some of the latest rally cars.

The automatic transmission saps power from the engine, reducing the fun factor. We found this combination offered adequate power for busy freeways in Los Angeles, but adding weight to the cabin, like a couple of 150-pound dogs, noticeably affected acceleration performance.

Element is a front-wheel-drive vehicle so there is a touch of torque steer, that tugging of the steering wheel under hard acceleration, but it isn't a concern. A bigger issue was wheelspin in the wet. Step on the gas, and it's easy to spin the front wheels on front-wheel-drive models, particularly in the rain. Honda's Real Time 4-Wheel Drive cures this, so we recommend getting one of the 4WD models. The 4WD also gives the Element good winter weather capability.

The ride quality is bouncy. From an engineering standpoint, the Honda Element is basically a re-bodied CR-V; and the CR-V is built on the same platform as the Honda Civic. The Element has a slightly wider track than the CR-V, which helps it handle curves better than we expected of such a tall vehicle. The Element is not an off-road vehicle, but its ground clearance and ride height are sufficient for primitive roads.

Summary

The Honda Element is a compelling option for drivers who want a genuine utility vehicle that behaves like a car. Its versatile interior makes the Element quite handy in certain situations, with its easy access and flat floor that's easy to clean. We find its distinctive styling appealing.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent John Rettie is based in Santa Barbara, California; Mitch McCullough contributed to this report.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$17,750
Model lineup:
Honda Element LX 2WD ($17,750); LX 4WD ($19,150); EX 2WD ($19,625); EX 4WD ($21,025)
Engines:
156-hp 2.4-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4
Transmissions:
5-speed manual; 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual front airbags
Safety equipment (Optional):
ABS, front side-impact airbags
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
East Liberty, Ohio
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Honda Element EX 2WD ($19,625)
Standard equipment:
air conditioning with micron filter; ABS; side-impact airbags; waterproof seating surfaces; power windows and mirrors; remote central locking; intermittent wipers; cruise control; steering-wheel mounted audio controls; 270-watt AM/FM/CD 7-speaker stereo; MP3/WMA digital media capability; XM Satellite Radio; removable 50/50 split fold-down rear seats; 16-inch alloy wheels
Options as tested:
none
Destination charge:
550
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$20,175
Layout:
front-wheel drive
Engine:
2.4-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
156 @ 5500
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
160 @ 4000
Transmission:
5-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
21/25 mpg.
Wheelbase:
101.4 in.
Length/width/height:
166.5/71.5/70.4 in.
Track, f/r:
62.1/62.3 in.
Turning circle:
34.9 ft.
Seating capacity:
4
Head/hip/leg room, f:
43.3/55.0/41.0 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
38.0/47.6/39.1 in.
Cargo volume:
74.6 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
1500 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, MacPherson struts, control links, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
independent, double-wishbone, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
6.9 in.
Curb weight:
3391 lbs.
Tires:
P215/70R16
Brakes, f/r:
disc/disc with ABS in.
Fuel capacity:
15.9 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Honda Element Sport Utility Crossover

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Honda Element Sport Utility Crossover

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Honda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Honda Certified Used Car Limited Warranty extends the non-powertrain coverage by 1 year/12,000 miles from the date of purchase or expiration of new car warranty date. In addition, Honda Certified Used Car Limited Warranty extends the powertrain coverage to 7 years/100,000 miles.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 year or 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance No
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Honda Element Sport Utility Crossover

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