Where will Honda take the Element from here... [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Where will Honda take the Element from here...


Flobox
07-07-2007, 01:04 AM
At the moment, the Element is a tall wagon based on Honda's Global Small Car architecture. For all it's great attributes, it seems to be caught between two worlds:

On one hand, it is styled and marketed toward the compact SUV segment of the market. On mainly superficial terms, it resembles an SUV, with it's tall, chiseled fascia, light truck tires, large, beefy bumpers, and it's tall, slab-sided shape. Most of the dealer accessories are typical of other crossover SUVs or Minivans, such as side steps, hood-deflectors, and roof attachments.

On the other hand, it is lacking in most of the substantive attributes of a truck or SUV:

The ground clearance is extremely lacking at 6.9 inches. By comparison, a Dodge Caravan has 6.1 inches, less than an inch of difference, and stands about an inch shorter than the Element. A true SUV such as the XTerra boasts 9.5, and the FJ Cruiser betters that with 9.6. It's approach and departure angles aren't terrible, mostly due to the short overhangs, but the breakover angle (which isn't even listed in Honda's specs) is likely quote bad, with the gas tank hanging below.

The other defining characteristics of trucks seem to be missing as well: The tow rating is extremely low, especially from the other two aforementioned SUVs (3500 for the XTerra, 5000 for the FJ Cruiser). The payload, as mentioned many times on this site, is appallingly low, and well below half of the expected payload for a compact truck or SUV. The AWD system is a modernized version of the one from the Civic 5-door from the 1980s. Better systems are available at Honda, but the Element uses the RT-4WD all-wheel-drive system (the Pilot's VTM-4 has lockable half-shafts, which isn't quite to the same level as SelecTrac or CommandTrac, but it's an improvement).

So, it seems that it's styling and marketing leans one direction, while its capabilities and design philosophy are basically compact wagon.

Also note that Honda has a history of changing directions with models: The Odyssey went from a half-assed Euro style MPV to a much more conservative but competitive Minivan. The CR-V was once a truck-shaped wagon like the Element, but has since gone in a more tall-wagon direction. The CRX was dreastically changed, and the Prelude was basically allowed to burn out.

The question is (after that LONG intro), which way will Honda take the next generation of Element, if it remains in the lineup. Honda and Toyota tend to mirror one another to some extent, and the both the larger, lower-wider-longer xB and somewhat similarly styled could be seen as "the target"

EXwSCnose
07-07-2007, 01:31 AM
I like to think that Hionda will refine the E and develop the CR-V further to create distance between the two vehicles.

Flobox
07-07-2007, 01:33 AM
Eek... I neglected another important option:

"It will be a rebadged Honda Crossroad."

GoShoryuken
07-07-2007, 01:33 AM
I like to think that Hionda will refine the E and develop the CR-V further to create distance between the two vehicles.

I agree. I see the CRV as becoming more of a higher quality and pricier vehicle. I also have seen the E evolve with better features and cooler options/equipment so I think it will continue in that direction until Honda feels it necessary to change it dramatically for some reason or other.

T Mac
07-07-2007, 01:36 AM
I vote none of the above. I think they will have the Element continue to be two variations: the street/urban, slick look and then another one great for camping and the "utility" side because they now need that. The CR-V is much refined and it actually should help the Element in the long term, I think.

T Mac
07-07-2007, 01:37 AM
Eek... I neglected another important option:

"It will be a rebadged Honda Crossroad."

No. It won't.

DorchesterBoy
07-07-2007, 01:50 AM
I'm thinking Honda will drop the LX, keep the EX, and have two models of the SC (Gas and Diesel). It seems like the Element would be a good test for acceptance of the Diesel engine. If a Diesel does come out in 2009 it will probably be in limited production quantities, and the Element sells in limited numbers :)

The Diesel SC would have better towing capabilities and clean burning street cruiser. I'd buy one. :cool:

joeBoxer
07-07-2007, 02:10 AM
A couple of things are obvious: no one is too happy with sales of three thousand units a month and there are definitely those within the company that feel that the CR-V is so good now that it is taking sales away from the E.

With those two realities staring the company in the face, it will be interesting to see where everything leads. I have my fingers crossed that they do indeed add some rugged models to balance out the SC direction, for 2009.

Given these thoughts, there really is no option to pick in the poll that fits the likely outcome, UNLESS they don't come up with a solution. If that happens, the Del Sol, CRX and Prelude come to mind. ;-)

EXwSCnose
07-07-2007, 02:20 AM
I vote none of the above. I think they will have the Element continue to be two variations: the street/urban, slick look and then another one great for camping and the "utility" side because they now need that. The CR-V is much refined and it actually should help the Element in the long term, I think.

In the early years, the Element and the CR-V were somewhat conflicting models. The E a bit of an eccentric wild child and the CR-V straight laced, gawky, and docile but much the same running gear... Today Honda is more clearly focusing on target markets that will respond to the product and make lesser goofs as in overlooking the old guys for the E... The CR-V is clearly the more stately vehicle and Honda will continue to groom this image. This market segment I believe is less price / cost sensitive than the one the E is targeting...

gfen
07-07-2007, 09:13 AM
Frame on body trucks are impractical for most who buy them.
SUVs are dead.
CUVs are in.
No one who buys an SUV to go "offroading" actually does: Dirt roads, fields, and beaches aren't offroading. They're more or less "softroading."
The Element is a quirky little trucklet designed to appeal to people who think
they need to go "offroad" but in truth drive across a field to get to a good picnic spot. Its got many of the attributes of a real truck, without any of the drawbacks, and ample utility.
Its also got a polarizing design.

You will see a redesign in another year or so.
You will see a change to the drive train and powerplant 'coz green is the new black.
You will never get back the body cladding.
You may gain carpet and a console in the EX.
You may not have an option.
You will see curves.
You will not see an "offroad" version because it was never meant to be.
You might see that gas tank and its cage moved, though.

The CRV appeals to a different type of person, and that type of person probably doesn't really cross shop the Element outside of the initial pass.

Krusty
07-07-2007, 09:25 AM
I wish I knew whether any Honda honchos read this forum.:? But here's my, no doubt, optimistic $0.02 view.

Honda conceived the Element to appeal to the Youth market (Geezers like me were an unexpected bonus). Take it away and Honda is back to a basically more mature product range and they cede the youth market to Scion. The original notion was to build a wagon for MTBikers, so I guess they based their sales expectations on the size of that market in the US. I think what they really got was a sort of faux-Land Rover utilitarian box that caught on faster with Boomers than bikers, but it's hard to see how that's a failure of any sort, especially since I see more MTB interest on this forum every day.

Right now, overall Honda sales performance by model is in direct proportion to fuel economy. High mileage models are doing well, lower mpg models, not so much (Element down ~33% compared to last year, Ridgeline and Odyessy down as well).

They have an established investment in marketing, inventory, and there must be some amount of corporate backing that got the Element going in the first place.

If I'm a Honda pencil-pusher, I'd be inclined to simply improve fuel economy across the model range (i.e. with a clean diesel) and then wait to see what that does for sales, particularily among under-performing models like the E.

But then, of course, I am not a Honda pencil-pusher, so there's your problem.:neutral:

Krusty

jedi
07-12-2007, 08:05 PM
I do not think Honda got all they wanted from this in 2003 but have done decent. I think they have something cool in the Element that no one else has.

I expect an update, maybe a curved square. I'll also guess that the E sticks around as the "entry level" truck. It will probably cost less than the CRV (except maybe SC-ion version).

A little marketing and it keeps a solid niche status. CRV is the cash cow, Element is the niche market filler at about 50k vehicles a year sold. They can cover urban dudes and campers with one vehicle.

EXwSCnose
07-12-2007, 10:37 PM
I
I expect an update, maybe a curved square. ............ They can cover urban dudes and campers with one vehicle.

Look closer at your E, or better park it next to a recent Jeep product or a slab-faced Suburban. The E is not THAT square and boxy. It has more curvature across the roofline than any other SUV, the hood is likewise curved. The one straight and flat surface is the rear, not a bad attribute most would have to admit!!

Hab Mobile
07-17-2007, 11:21 AM
Let's look at the facts:

-the Element was discontinuted in Japan, and replaced by the Crossroads this year
- the redesigned Element is expected to have a more mono-chromatic body, the Crossroads does
- The Crossroads has additional seating, while maintaining a spacy cabin; this is something a lot of Element owners indicate they want.
- The Crossroads has a redesigned four-wheel drive system; off-the-beaten path members indicated they'd like to see this
The shape of the back windows, and the back of the Crossroads screams Honda Element.
- Lastly, the Crossroads was released in Japan one year before the first-generation Elements are set to be redesigned. This gives Honda more than a year to modify the Crossroads' engine to the American economy's tasts, and stick an Element sybol on the back.

Looking at the big pictures, don't be suprised if the Crossroad is the 2009 Honda Element.

My first reaction to the Crossroads was that it was the "rumored" truck to go between the Pilot and CRV, but looking at the pricing in Japan, and it's options, it actually slides beneath the CRV, leading me to think the Crossroads will be North America's Element in 2009.

spdrcr5
07-17-2007, 12:17 PM
Let's look at the facts:

-the Element was discontinuted in Japan, and replaced by the Crossroads this year
- the redesigned Element is expected to have a more mono-chromatic body, the Crossroads does
- The Crossroads has additional seating, while maintaining a spacy cabin; this is something a lot of Element owners indicate they want.
- The Crossroads has a redesigned four-wheel drive system; off-the-beaten path members indicated they'd like to see this
The shape of the back windows, and the back of the Crossroads screams Honda Element.
- Lastly, the Crossroads was released in Japan one year before the first-generation Elements are set to be redesigned. This gives Honda more than a year to modify the Crossroads' engine to the American economy's tasts, and stick an Element sybol on the back.

Looking at the big pictures, don't be suprised if the Crossroad is the 2009 Honda Element.

My first reaction to the Crossroads was that it was the "rumored" truck to go between the Pilot and CRV, but looking at the pricing in Japan, and it's options, it actually slides beneath the CRV, leading me to think the Crossroads will be North America's Element in 2009.

The Crossroad has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2009 Element. They are and will be two completely different vehicles. The Crossroad will never be imported into the US.

The 2009 Element as it sits currently is a 4 passenger vehicle, but they are looking into seeing if adding 5th passenger is possible. The seating configuration of the current Element, meaning the rear seats will fold up, recline and be removable. The suicide doors is remaining.

The 4WD system in the 2009 Element will be the same 4WD system as in the current CR-V and RDX, no differences.

The Crossroad is a Japan design, the Element has and continues to be a California design just as the Ridgeline is.

The engine will be the same engine as the current CR-V as well.

Hab Mobile
07-17-2007, 12:27 PM
Good points. FYI, there is still a lot of talk of Honda bringing the Crossroads to the USA, so that will be interesting to follow.

Hopefully Honda stays true to the "spirit" of the Element and doesn't change too much in the next generation of Es.

What are your sources for Honda keeping the campsheel doors? I haven't been able to find anything online about it...



The Crossroad has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2009 Element. They are and will be two completely different vehicles. The Crossroad will never be imported into the US.

The 2009 Element as it sits currently is a 4 passenger vehicle, but they are looking into seeing if adding 5th passenger is possible. The seating configuration of the current Element, meaning the rear seats will fold up, recline and be removable. The suicide doors is remaining.

The 4WD system in the 2009 Element will be the same 4WD system as in the current CR-V and RDX, no differences.

The Crossroad is a Japan design, the Element has and continues to be a California design just as the Ridgeline is.

The engine will be the same engine as the current CR-V as well.

spdrcr5
07-17-2007, 01:29 PM
Good points. FYI, there is still a lot of talk of Honda bringing the Crossroads to the USA, so that will be interesting to follow.

Hopefully Honda stays true to the "spirit" of the Element and doesn't change too much in the next generation of Es.

What are your sources for Honda keeping the campsheel doors? I haven't been able to find anything online about it...

I know with 100% certainty that the Crossroad is not going to be in the US market at all.

The source for the suicide doors is the Honda Element product planner who was in Las Vegas with us. I asked him several questions. That's where I got most of the Element info I posted above, doors, seating, engine, 4WD, etc.

EXwSCnose
07-23-2007, 03:22 AM
The Crossroad has nothing whatsoever to do with the 2009 Element. They are and will be two completely different vehicles. The Crossroad will never be imported into the US.

The 2009 Element as it sits currently is a 4 passenger vehicle, but they are looking into seeing if adding 5th passenger is possible. The seating configuration of the current Element, meaning the rear seats will fold up, recline and be removable. The suicide doors is remaining.

The 4WD system in the 2009 Element will be the same 4WD system as in the current CR-V and RDX, no differences.

The Crossroad is a Japan design, the Element has and continues to be a California design just as the Ridgeline is.

The engine will be the same engine as the current CR-V as well.


...aren't the 4WD systems of the Element/CR-V substantially different from that of the RDX???

rktech02
07-23-2007, 10:54 PM
...aw c'mon, they'll make what sells. The life expectancy (sp?) of a vehicle model is only as good as sales data dictate. This isn't network TV, for instance, where an audience letter-writing campaign (sp??...will someone spell for me !?) gets the job done.

mlwschultz
07-25-2007, 02:17 PM
I hope Honda doesn't ruin the next Element the way that Scion ruined the new xB! We have one of each, a 2004 Element (EX, AWD, SOP) and a 2006 Scion xB. The 2 cars are very different, but the Scion gets most of our driving because of the gas mileage & it has plenty of room for a commuting vehicle. It's also more comfortable to ride in than the Element is. The new Scion is much larger, heavier, bigger engine, more expensive. So they have taken away all the reasons we originally bought our xB for - gas mileage, price, size (there's a lot of room in the xB for that size vehicle). We won't be buying another xB. It's just like many other vehicles on the market now & in that price range there are several other choices. If the new Element doesn't get better gas mileage (hint: diesel!) we are not likely to buy another one. If they make it bigger, heavier, etc., they will lose more market share. Americans need to start driving more fuel efficient vehicles and bigger vehicles aren't the way to go.

Phill
08-21-2009, 10:05 PM
...aw c'mon, they'll make what sells. The life expectancy (sp?) of a vehicle model is only as good as sales data dictate. This isn't network TV, for instance, where an audience letter-writing campaign (sp??...will someone spell for me !?) gets the job done.

ditto ... If they intend to keep the Element going they will have to make it more attractive and still keep it affordable for the buyer. The competition has heated up since the 03 debut. I think Honda is about cutting cost and maintaining quality. They will have to dangle some carrots to keep the buyers coming.

BigClassy500
08-22-2009, 11:51 AM
If it's not broke why fix it.

However, I could use a bit more leg room up front:D

Phill
08-22-2009, 08:39 PM
If it's not broke why fix it.

However, I could use a bit more leg room up front:D


Wrangler tires, cheap seat hardware and material that shreds, and MPG have been my biggest complaint. Other than that it has been reliable and functional. There is a lot of room for improvement if they decide to keep the model going.

usafbmw
09-13-2011, 08:39 AM
Guess we know the answer now, too bad, RIP Element.

On the bright side, our Es are now collector items!

Smokin_Guns26
03-01-2012, 07:18 PM
well if honda really listened to the people here in the USA they would bring to the plate maby something like the x model for an up to date element how cool would that be i would deff think about getting one.