Here’s something you probably didn’t know: The Honda Element once offered a “Dog Friendly” option package on its unusual Element SUV aimed at people who often transport their dogs. It featured a wide array of dog-friendly features, including — this is true — a water bowl.
Here’s how it got started: At some point, the Honda Element won an award for being the most dog-friendly car on the market. This makes sense, given its wide doors, its easy-to-clean rubber interior and its low entry height. So Honda got this award, and this apparently caused someone to think, “We’re the most dog-friendly? Let’s be even MORE dog-friendly!”
So Honda rolled out an Element “Dog Friendly Concept Car” at the 2009 New York Auto Show, and then they actually started offering the Dog Friendly Concept Car’s features as an option package for the 2010 and 2011 model years, which would be the Element’s last. But for those 2 glorious years, dog owners could rejoice at all the Element’s optional dog-friendly benefits.
There was, for example, the aforementioned water bowl. There was also an available ramp that attached to the tailgate to make it easier for dogs to get in and out of the car. There was a special webbed “kennel” in the cargo area, designed to help ensure a dog wouldn’t fly around in and get injured an accident. There was also a special, soft, dog-friendly cargo floor, dog-bone-pattern floor mats and a rear electric fan to keep dogs cool. The dog-friendly Element also had exterior badging to indicate its dog-friendly nature.
Although this package was highly specialized and only available for the Element’s final 2 years, it cost just $995 — so I suspect more than a few people opted for it. If you’re a current dog owner and are looking for an Element with the package, the biggest challenge would probably be finding one that includes all the features, since most of the items (the rear kennel, the ramp, the bowl) were removable. But if you find one with all the dog items, then your dog might be lucky enough to drive in the first-ever vehicle tailored specifically to dogs. Find a Honda Element for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.