Which Honda Element is the best?

Which Honda Element is the best?

The Element did not change significantly during production from 2003 through 2011.   As a result, it can be challenging to identify the differences between various trim levels, standard options and configurations. Here is a basic primer to help clarify the features and specifications.


Honda grouped features in several trim levels. Generally, across all years the trim differences were:

  • DX - Entry level vehicle, steel wheels, minimal features
  • LX - Midline vehicle, steel wheels, some features
  • EX - Highline vehicle, all available features including map lights, better stereo, alloy wheels and additional controls, power outlets and aux input to stereo.
  • SC - Highline vehicle optimized for street/handling with a lower stance and unique colors for exterior and interior


Note the moonroof used to access the sleeping area of the camper was stock only on AWD/4WD versions from 2003 to 2008


  • DX - AC & stereo optional!
  • EX - ABS, Alloys, 7 speaker stereo

First year of production. All versions have gray plastic cladding on both the roof line and fenders.


2004: No major changes to vehicle, added LX trim level

  • DX - No changes
  • LX - AC, basic stereo
  • EX - Add shock cords on seats

DX versions fairly rare.


2005: No major changes

  • LX - Add power mirrors, cruise control and new hubcaps
  • EX - Add XM Satellite radio

Black or Blue plastic cladding available on some versions, standard side airbags added. DX version no longer available.


2006: No major changes.

  • LX - Add ABS
  • EX - Add EXP version with painted fenders matched to vehicle, audio controls on steering wheel

Cladding for roof and fenders available in black, gray or painted.


2007: First major refresh.

  • LX - Basic version with black plastic fenders, steel wheels
  • EX - Body colored fenders/bumpers, alloy wheels
  • SC - New lowered street version, body colored fenders/bumpers

All versions feature redesigned dash board with much easier to read gauges, seat belts mounted in the front seats and increased safety systems such as additional air bags, and stability assist. Engine output increased 10 hp with a new 5 speed automatic transmission. Interior changes to black flooring/accents.


2008: No major changes.

  • LX - Black plastic fenders, steel wheels
  • EX - Body colored fenders/bumpers, alloy wheels
  • SC - No significant changes


2009: Second major refresh, trim levels include

  • LX - no significant changes
  • EX - Optional navigation system, rearview camera,
  • SC - No significant changes

All versions feature redesigned fenders, front and rear fascia. Lights, grill and paint schemes have all painted fenders/bumpers on all trim levels. Navigation system offered on some EX versions. Front fenders now steel. Moonroof no longer available in any trim.


2010: No major changes.

  • LX - no significant change
  • EX - Optional Dog version, small cooler between seats
  • SC - no significant change

Manual transmission discontinued after a very limited production run, remainder built as automatic. ABS standard on all models.


2011: Simplified options.

  • LX - no significant change
  • EX - Navigation no longer offered
  • SC - discontinued

Automatic transmissions only, production discontinued early in 2011. 

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