2008 Honda Element Interior
This interior review was written when the 2008 Honda Element was new.
Reviewers widely observe the interior of the Element to be extremely spacious for its class, with comfortable front seating, and extremely functional cargo capabilities. Still, some reviews complain that the rear seats are not particularly comfortable because the cushion lacks depth and leg and thigh support is poor.
With seating for only four made of waterproof fabric, wipe-clean urethane floors and more storage compartments than most cars (13 to be exact!), the Element can handle most cargo easily. "When the rear seats are flipped up on their sides, there's a cargo area large enough to place two upright-standing mountain bikes," notes Kelley Blue Book. Some reviewers have complained that the rear seats are not particularly comfortable, that the cushion lacks depth, and that leg and thigh support is poor.
Most automotive writers find the front seats are comfortable, though About.com comments that "if you're used to a lot of lateral support from your sports car seat, you'll find the Element's seats a little disconcerting, but they're very functional and easy to slide in and out of." The seat belt mounts have been moved, eliminating a problem that annoyed reviewers about past models. Edmunds explains: "Previous Elements had door-mounted front seatbelts that made exiting the rear seat a bit of a pain; that's been fixed this year with integrated front seatbelts." A plus is the Element's height, which allows room for even the tallest of passengers. "The ceiling on the 5.1-foot-tall Element is so much above passengers that my 6-foot-tall husband could ride inside the test vehicle with his 'Indiana Jones' hat on," says MSN.
The 2008 Honda Element's rear seats are a unique design, which can fold flat to the floor, fold up and to the sides, or be removed to allow for maximum possible cargo space. Many reviewers found them uncomfortable, though comparable to what most small SUVs have to offer. They "have flimsy, low cushions and little thigh support, but the legroom is impressive. I much prefer it over the tiny backseat in Toyota's FJ Cruiser, an SUV with similar access doors," writes Cars.com. The rear seats are mounted "theater style," higher than the seats in front of them, allowing for greater visibility for rear-seat passengers.
An important note for those looking to haul friends or family often is that the Element is rated to carry as little as 789 pounds, in the All-Wheel-Drive EX model. Four large adults could easily exceed that weight, even without any added cargo.
The 2008 Element is available in three trim levels: the basic LX, the more upscale EX or the special "street custom" SC.
The front seats of LX models, and all seats of EX and SC models, are covered in Honda's Waterproof FXC (Fabric for Extreme Conditions), which Kelley Blue Book calls "a durable, washable fabric that breathes nicely, a benefit on hot days." LX interiors also include power windows and locks, a urethane floor for easy cleaning, a driver-seat height adjuster and a standard four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system. EX interiors add an upgraded stereo, additional storage compartments, map lights, armrests and steering-wheel mounted audio controls. SC models have carpeted floors in the passenger cabin (the cargo area is still covered in wipe-clear urethane) and a different set of interior colors and styling details. The SC's "tattoo upholstery pattern looks good: a black-gray woven fabric with a raised tribal pattern, almost like embroidery," comments New Car Test Drive. SC gauges are backlit in copper instead of the blue found on other trims, which several reviewers find hard to read.
Honda's popular Satellite-Linked Navigation System is available with the Element's EX trim. If you're looking for a portable option, check out our GPS reviews to help you make a decision.
Stereo and Entertainment
The basic LX includes a four-speaker AM/FM/CD player that neither impresses nor disappoints reviewers. EX and SC models upgrade to a 270-watt, seven-speaker AM/FM/CD with XM satellite radio, MP3/WMA capability, an auxiliary input jack and a subwoofer mounted underneath the dashboard.
The 2008 Element is advertised as an extremely flexible and capable hauler of stuff, and test drivers widely agree that it does not disappoint. Edmunds describes cargo room as "exceptional." With rear seats that can be folded down, folded up and to the sides or removed entirely, the rear cargo area can be configured to create 77.1 cubic feet of space -- cargo volume normally found only in much larger vehicles. The floor of this space is especially easy to clean. "On LX and EX trims, the floor is covered in rubber-like urethane, not carpet, so it can be cleaned up easily. The SC model features carpeting in the passenger cabin, but not in the cargo bay," notes Kelley Blue Book.
The rear doors pivot backward to open, and there is no B-pillar separating the front and rear doors. Edmunds comments that "without a B-pillar to intrude, opening both side doors creates an extra-large portal through which to easily load passengers or bulky cargo." The passenger cabin includes a great deal of storage space. In the EX model, "from a massive covered bin between the front seats to a three-tiered shelf above the glove box, I counted 13 compartments -- more than double what's in a typical car," reports Cars.com.