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Element Era Ends: Ode To The Box

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On: Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 10:13AM | By: Chris Salamone

Element Era Ends: Ode To The Box

For years we heard rumors that the much-adored Honda Element would be axed due to slumping sales numbers. But, year after year, the Element reappeared in Honda’s lineup with some fresh new makeup meant to reignite a formerly strong market contender. Fans remained content – few could question the Element’s versatility, CUV efficiency, or boxy good looks. Nevertheless, as of last December, Honda announced plans to officially end the Element’s production after the 2011 model year.

The Element will be forever missed, but is survived by the all-new CR-V and Crosstour – for better or worse. Honda’s Element execution marks a significant loss in the percentage of completely box-shaped vehicles remaining in the market, and an even larger loss when the Element’s class-leading cabin space, 4WD, and fun-factor are taken into account. In light of these facts, we thought an ending to the Element era deserved a special tribute, an ode to the box.

Beginning in 2003, the Honda Element was received as a turn of the century sensation. Buyers flocked to experience a funky, affordable CUV which could handle anything from the upbeat city streets to your Wyoming-based relative’s Llama farm. Although models have become slightly better equipped and more expensive over the years, the vehicle remains largely unchanged since its original production – a testament to the Element’s originality.

The 2011 Honda Element is offered in four different model types, ranging from the 2WD LX at $20,825 to the chart topping 4WD EX at $24,185. After nine years, buyers still receive a neoprene-like fabric on the front and rear seats and have their pick from all sorts of sporting options, recently including dog-friendly accessories.

“The Element proved that ultimate functionality can often come from thinking inside the box,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “It made boxy vehicle designs cool, and Element owners continue to enjoy its unique styling and unmatched versatility.”

As of December 2010, more than 325,000 Elements had been sold in the United States since the vehicle’s market debut. And still, after a nine-year run no competing vehicles can claim to carry the same bold looks, water-resistant seating, a removable cooler, or the ability to store fully-upright mountain bikes with ease.

Next month the Honda Element will take its final bow. With the vehicle’s departure, an unexplainable vacuum will likely open in the CUV market. Small businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, and pet owners will need to broaden their horizons beyond Gil the Crab-endorsed vehicles. Maybe dancing hamsters will do the trick or maybe box fans will patiently await VW's anticipated Bulli. Either way, car buyers will have one less esoteric, ultimately practical resource in the Honda lineup. Goodbye Element, you will be missed.

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Stephy21 | 9:16AM (Thu, Dec 1, 2011)

Its sad to hear that the Element is not going to be produced any more but maybe they will come out with something a little better.


dwalter | 4:14PM (Thu, Dec 1, 2011)

sad news

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