Best and Worst Years for Honda Element

Honda Element is a familiar name to everyone for its compact build, which received a lot of positive attention in the market. Over the years, the SUV has received a cult-like following, with some of the best sales. Its transmission performance and boxy build make it comfortable and safe for almost all terrains.

However, not all variants are good enough, which is why it is essential to consider the best and worst years for the Honda Element before coming to any conclusion. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision.

Best Years for Honda Element

Best Years for Honda Element

Honda Element has been a successful venture for the most part. Following are some of the best years of the vehicle, evaluated on the basis of consumer reports and NHTSA reviews.


The year 2007 came with significant updates like a 10 HP engine speed, automatic transmission, and a five-speed powertrain (instead of the four-speed used in the previous model). Most drivers reported that it was the safest model from the first generation, with standard stability control, side airbags, and improved seatbelts.


Just like 2007, the 2008 Honda Element was one of the best years when comparing consumer feedback with previous models. However, there were no noticeable upgrades in its safety standards, spacious interior, and side curtain airbags. According to consumer reports, this vehicle was excellent for off-roading on almost all terrains.


2009 Honda Element was another best-seller accredited to the boxy build and the seamless power delivery mechanism. It comes with two variants, EX and SC models, both being the first models with a pilot-style grille, which eventually improved its fuel economy and transmission. Moreover, the voice-activated navigation and backup camera also added to its value.


The 2010 Honda Element became a huge success for its boxy build, spacious cargo, and affordable price tag. The reason why it attracted a lot of drivers was its off-roading capabilities, proved by its solid performance in the crash tests. Apart from this, the interior details, like a 12-V rear cooling fan, spill-resistant bowls, and extensive cargo, further increased its annual sales.


Last but not least, the 2011 Honda Element model was yet another good year for the vehicle, thanks to the updated drivetrain and transmission mechanism. Honda introduced two variants for this year, LX and EX, with a four-wheel drivetrain and a refined navigation system. As per the consumer reports, its safety standard and advanced transmission made it the best-selling alternative.

You Might Also Like To Read: Best and Worst Years for Honda Accord

Worst Years for Honda Element

Worst Years for Honda Element

Now that we have covered some good years for the Honda Element, it is time to check out the models that received the most negative ratings from owners.


2003 is by far the worst model in the Honda Element line, with problematic engine components and low exterior quality. Most complaints reported to NHTSA included issues like cracked windshields, faulty door locks, ignition problems, and rear differential leaks. Moreover, some drivers also complained about loud and banging noises coming from the torque controller and transmission regulator.


When it comes to the 2004 Honda Element model, it became a huge miss in the market for mechanical and exterior failure. According to the consumer reports, the common problems with the 2004 model were cracked windshield, paint peeling, transmission failure, and faulty air compression mechanism. Some drivers also reported that their engines made unusually loud noises in wet conditions.


Just like the previous year, the 2005 Honda Element was yet another bad year and received numerous concerns regarding the low-quality construction of engine components. Several drivers suggested that the vehicle has a faulty airbag indicator, loud noises coming from the torque controller, and premature braking failure. Apart from this, the low-quality paint resulted in peeling and rusting.


2006 is still considered a bad year for the Honda Element, primarily for safety concerns. As per the consumer reports, the common problems vehicles had included problematic airbags, defective cylinder lockup, low-quality paint, and premature power losses. It also received a number of NHTSA complaints, especially for its low efficiency in wet conditions.


What years of Honda Element have the most complaints?

According to the NHTSA complaints and statistics, the 2003 model was the most problematic and received numerous complaints regarding the mechanical and electric components of the vehicle. As per the consumer’s reports, these issues were transmission failure, air compression faults, and cracked windshields.

What are the problems of the Honda Element?

Most years have received mechanical and exterior problems regarding the Honda Element. These complaints include cracked windshield, ignition issues, transmission failure, and rear differential leakage.

What are the best years for the Honda Element?

There were many best-seller models from Honda Element across the board. These included variants from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 years. According to the consumer reports received by NHTSA, the positive ratings were mostly regarding the comfort and safety of the ride on multiple terrains.

Are Honda Element reliable cars?

Yes, of course; Honda Element managed to receive around 4.3 scores out of 5 on NHTSA consumer reports following its release in 2023. The car was marketed as a compact SUV with a sophisticated engine and safe driving experience, which became its forte over the years.

Read Our Experts Guide About: Best and Worst Years for Honda Pilot 

Final Thoughts

Honda Element is a popular compact SUV and managed to attract a lot of loyal audience and sales despite its short production span. In no time, everyone in the market was familiar with the truck.

Even most people already bought it for day-to-day use, all thanks to its affordable price tag and amazing set of features. Finally, I hope this guide has been helpful in figuring out which Honda Element model is suitable for your needs.

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