The extremely versatile Honda Element SUV undergoes a transformation for 2007 with freshened styling, 10 more horsepower, new 5-speed automatic transmission (available) and extensive new standard safety equipment that includes side curtain airbags and Vehicle Stability Assist(TM) (VSA(R)). An all-new sporty variation, the Element SC, also debuts with a sport-tuned suspension, "Street Custom" styling and premium features.
The addition of standard front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), side curtain airbags and VSA to the Element mark a significant milestone for Honda's dedication to vehicle safety by fulfilling the goals of its "Safety for Everyone" initiative introduced in 2003.
In addition to new safety equipment, more than a dozen enhancements have been made to the Element LX and EX, highlighted by new headlight and grille styling, a more powerful 166-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, Drive-by-Wire(TM) throttle system, new interior color schemes with black urethane flooring, integrated front seat belts, Maintenance Minder(TM) system, new gauge designs, tire pressure monitoring system and more.
"The 2007 Honda Element provides an extensive list of advanced safety equipment along with a new level of sophistication and refinement," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The Element SC adds a new dimension of performance and style while retaining its core versatility."
The newly-introduced Element SC trim level provides more than 10 additional exclusive features that include a sport-tuned suspension with lowered ride height; 18-inch wheels (a Honda Division first as a standard feature); exclusive exterior styling with an "aero" grille, projector beam headlights, and unique painted bumpers; and an exclusive interior with a carpeted floor (first and second rows), center console with storage, stylish piano black trim, and exclusive interior fabrics with corresponding interior trim.
Versatile Interior with Premium Features
The Element offers a highly functional interior with versatile, spacious seating for four people and a cargo area that quickly adapts to large items. The removable flip-up rear seats fold flat, fold up and to the side, or can be removed altogether (64+ seating arrangements). A black urethane-coated utility floor on Element LX and EX trim levels quickly wipes down and the seat fabric resists moisture. Air conditioning with micron air filtration is standard on all models.
Designed with a sleeker style, the Element SC adds a carpeted floor (black urethane utility floor is retained in the cargo area), a center console with storage, piano black trim pieces and exclusive fabric patterns. The center console provides an additional hidden storage area in the vehicle and integrates the auxiliary audio input jack and two beverage holders. Meter styling on all Element SC models is copper-hue, replacing the blue backlit illumination on the other models. On Root Beer Metallic and Nighthawk Black Pearl Element SC's, exclusive copper-color trim pieces are used on meters and dials. "Tattoo" print fabric is used on all Element SC seats and door liners.
The Element LX has a 4-speaker AM/FM audio system with a CD player. The 270-watt high-output audio system in the EX and SC trim levels features an AM/FM tuner, CD player with MP3/WMA capability, auxiliary audio input for MP3 or digital devices, steering wheel mounted audio controls, seven speakers including a Dynamic Linear Phase (DLP) 6.5-inch subwoofer located in the bottom center of the instrument panel. XM(R) Satellite Radio is standard on the Element EX and SC.
New for 2007, all Elements feature an Integrated Seat Belt System on the front seats that replace the previous B-pillar/door-mounted shoulder strap system. The shoulder strap on the new Seat Integrated Safety Belt System originates from the top of the front seats and helps to enhance vehicle ingress/egress convenience for rear passengers.
Numerous storage bins and beverage holders provide places for cell phones, CDs and super-size drinks. Storage areas include: five beverage holders; low-profile floor console tray (LX and EX) between the front seats; a large three-bin tray above the glove box (perfect for cell phones and PDAs); an overhead storage bin (EX, SC); seat back storage (EX,SC); six hooks for strapping down bikes or other bulky gear; and door storage pockets on all four doors.
The SC adds a center console with two beverage holders, an additional storage bin and an auxiliary audio input. The space occupied by the instrument panel-mounted subwoofer on EX and SC models is utilized as a storage bin on LX models.
Functional Body with Distinctive Styling
New for 2007, the Element LX and EX don a new grille and headlights with black inner surfaces. The Element body incorporates composite body panels on the fenders that are more dent resistant than steel panels. The composite body panels are black on the Element LX and body-colored on the Element EX and SC. The side cargo doors provide a large opening for ease-of-loading. The rear tailgate drops down pickup style, creating a low load-in height as the rear window opens up to create a large canopy for protection from sun and rain. Element LX and EX models equipped with Real Time(TM) 4WD feature a large 20-by 30-inch rear skylight that tilts up and can be removed.
The Element SC's exterior styling exhibits a sophisticated performance attitude with exclusive features that include projector beam halogen headlights, custom front and rear painted bumpers, large alloy wheels, custom grill, and a lowered stance. The lowered stance is achieved by lowering the ride height and by using uniquely shaped painted side sills and slimmer roof moldings.
Independent Suspension with Comprehensive Safety Technology
Fully-independent, the Element uses a control link MacPherson strut front suspension and a compact double wishbone rear suspension for responsive handling and a comfortable ride. A 101.4-inch wheelbase contributes to a small footprint, while an ultra-tight turning diameter of 34.9-feet (36.2-feet, Element SC) provides incredible low speed maneuverability in tight places. Vehicle Stability Assist and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist are all standard equipment.
VSA helps sense oversteer and understeer, and can adjust brake pressure at each wheel and/or reduce engine power to help restore the driver's intended course. EBD helps to balance braking forces depending on dynamic loading and Brake Assist helps apply full braking force in some emergency braking situations.
Element LX and EX models have 16-inch wheels (alloy on EX) with all-season P215/70R16 tires. Additional LX and EX standard features include power rack-and-pinion steering and front and rear stabilizer bars (30.0x4.5 mm tube, front/ 21.0 mm solid, rear). New for 2007, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alerts the driver when tire pressure reaches a critically low level.
The Element SC adds 18-inch alloy wheels (+2 inches), P225/55R18 tires, exclusive spring and damper tuning (30 percent firmer), a lowered ride height (approximately 0.7 inches) and increased rear stabilizer bar size (25.0 mm, solid). Compared to Element LX/EX, the solid front stabilizer bar is 25 percent more stiff and the rear stabilizer bar 30 percent more stiff. The steering rack also provides a 6 percent faster ratio (2.94:1 compared to 3.26:1).
Advanced Powertrain Technology
Honda's 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine delivers generous performance and the available Real Time 4WD (Element LX and EX) provides enhanced all-weather traction. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard equipment and a new 5-speed automatic transmission (previously 4-speed automatic) is available on all models.
For 2007, the DOHC 4-cylinder engine with an aluminum block and head benefits from a 10 horsepower increase, bringing the total output to 166 horsepower at 5800 rpm and 161 lb-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm (SAE net revised 8/04). The horsepower increase is achieved primarily through the addition of high-flow intake and exhaust systems and high-lift camshafts. Additional enhancements include a Drive-by-Wire throttle system.
The Element's i-VTEC system combines Honda's patented VTEC system (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) with Honda's cam position-adjusting VTC system (Variable Timing Control) to enhance low rpm torque while extending high rpm horsepower. This result is a broad torque curve that starts early at low RPMs while still delivering high-revving horsepower.
The five-speed manual transmission features a lightweight and rigid aluminum die-cast housing. Multi-cone synchronizers used on first through fourth gears contribute to a smooth, fluid shift feel while reducing throw distances. Inside, the instrument panel- mounted shift lever facilitates quick, direct gear changes.
The five-speed automatic transmission (available) delivers exceptional smoothness, economy and intuitive shift points. Honda's Grade Logic Control System minimizes gear hunting on hilly roads.
Available on LX and EX trim levels, Element's Real Time 4WD system delivers added traction in snow, rain and sand. Real Time 4WD sends power to the rear wheels when the front wheels experience traction loss. The rear differential contains two internal hydraulic pumps - one driven by the propeller shaft and one driven by the rear wheels - that circulate fluid through an internal multi-plate clutch system. When wheel slippage occurs, the flow rate is greater from the propeller shaft pump and forces the clutches to progressively engage, sending up to 70 percent of the torque to the rear wheels in slick conditions and 30 percent in dry conditions. The system operates automatically and only when needed, requiring no intervention on behalf of the driver to activate.
The vehicle maintenance schedule is calculated by the Maintenance Minder system. The Maintenance Minder system automatically indicates when to have standard service performed based on actual driving conditions (tracked by the ECU) and minimizes the guesswork in determining standard or severe use conditions for maintenance interval purposes. The display indicates when to change the oil, air filter, transmission fluid, spark plugs or coolant, as well as when to rotate the tires. As calculated by the Maintenance Minder system, the Element has an engine tune-up interval of 100,000 miles or more.
Safety for Everyone
The "Safety for Everyone" initiative introduced by American Honda in 2003 encompasses a comprehensive and evolving approach to vehicle to vehicle safety that seeks to provide a high level of occupant and pedestrian protection in Honda's cars and trucks, regardless of size or price, as well as increased crash compatibility with other vehicles.
Standard safety equipment for the Element and virtually every 2007 Honda vehicle (with the exception of one low volume specialty vehicle, the S2000) includes side curtain airbags, front side airbags with passenger-side OPDS, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), a pedestrian safety design, plus VSA for all light trucks.
"Honda is committed to leading the automotive industry by providing advanced safety technologies like side curtain airbags, ABS and much more as standard equipment on every vehicle regardless of size or price," said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda. "The Element demonstrates that Honda achieved the goals of the Safety for Everyone initiative on time and as promised."
The Element is equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags for the driver and front passenger. These airbags are designed to minimize the potential for airbag injury while providing head and chest protection for the occupants in the event of a frontal collision. This front airbag system features front passenger seat weight sensors and a driver seat position sensor designed to further enhance occupant protection.
Seat-mounted front side airbags help safeguard the driver and front passenger from side-impact injury. An innovative Occupant Position Detection System is used to assure that the passenger's side airbag has a clear path for deployment. In the event a child (or a small-statured adult) leans into the deployment path of the side airbag, a seven-segment "antenna" system built within the seat back signals this condition to an electronic control unit (ECU) and the passenger's side airbag is switched off.
Both rows of occupants are protected by Honda's Side Curtain Airbag with rollover sensor system. The side curtain airbags deploy from modules in the roof in the event of a sufficient side impact, providing a significant level of head protection in the window area. In the unlikely event of a rollover, a roll rate sensor and multiple G sensors determine the rate of roll and deploy the side curtain airbags accordingly.
Both front seat belts have pre-tensioners and load limiters that work together to help protect the driver and front passenger in a collision. A LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system is available for the two rear seat positions, allowing two outboard child seats to be installed. For pedestrian safety, the design features in the front of the vehicle can help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian to help minimize injury.
The Element is assembled at the Honda of America Mfg., Inc., East Liberty Auto Plant (Ohio) using domestic and globally sourced parts.