2010 Honda Element EX Review – Honda goes to the dogs with its Pet Friendly package

Expert Reviews Honda

Performance and Handling

Our test model was the mid-level EX model and came with the Real-Time 4WD system.  The Element’s Real Time 4WD system delivers added traction in snow, rain, mud and sand – especially on steep slopes and rutted dirt roads. It works by sending power to the rear wheels when the car experiences slippage. The system was able to distribute torque to wheels to varying degrees depending on the conditions – i.e. slick vs. dry. For the majority of driving conditions, the Element will run in a more fuel efficient 2WD mode. Rest assured that when a freak snow-storm blows into your neighborhood, the Element’s Real-Time 4WD system will automatically kick into 4WD mode giving the driver peace-of-mind when driving in such adverse weather conditions.

2010 Honda Element side doors open 90 degrees

Most drivers won’t notice the suspension system which really helps the Element’s handling ability while on the street. The independent front and rear suspension systems give the Element its agility and spryness that I like. The steering is precise and has a good on-center feel especially when at high speed. And even in the tighter more abrupt turns, it never felt like it was going to tip over.

Fuel Economy

For all the things going for the Element, it’s still as thirsty as ever! Fuel economy was a rather low 19 city and 24 highway mpg which was on the low side in comparison to many of its competitors.  Other crossovers in this class benefit from either a 6-speed automatic or a smaller footprint for better fuel economy.

Pooch Ergonomics

New for 2010 is the Dog Friendly Package for the Element – ideally suited for pet travel. Dogs can have their personal space too! The Honda engineers took an already spacious passenger car and found an ingenious way to convert it to a pet-friendly environment. While still being able to seat humans, the interior of this Element was designed with Bowzer as its top priority.

There are little pooch accents throughout the vehicle. First up, there’s the rear seating area which are draped in spongy seat covers. If you look very carefully at the seat covers, you’ll notice the hair-resistant, five-layer fabric has a little dog-motif pattern. And they can be removed for easy-cleaning.

Abbie tries the pet ramp on the ElementHarley demos the seat covers

* Abbie and Harley were available to model the dog friendly features of the Element courtesy of my friends at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley

Second, if you look at the floor mats, you’ll notice they are made of a thicker rubber so that they are more rugged and will last longer against the increased abuse (and the mats have a dog bone pattern to keep up with the Element’s K-9 theme).

The car also comes with a little dog accessory bag including leash, dog-collar, and stoop-and-scoop bags. And finally, the show-stopper – the enclosed kennel in the rear cargo space. The dog kennel was made of robust nylon that was supported with aluminum poles. The soft kennel is fully enclosed to keep your pet safe while the car is in motion. The crate also includes a large cushion for dog comfort and spill-free water bowl to keep your pet hydrated. And the Honda engineers wouldn’t want your pet to get overheated, so they even included a fan in the rear to keep your dog cool.

To get your pet into the crate, Honda includes a retractable & stow-able ramp with a rough lining. The Element was likely the first vehicle ever to design with pets in mind. With pets being a large part of the North American market, the Honda engineers definitely have a good thing going.

2010 Honda Element Dog Friendly Package stowable pet ramp and soft kennel2010 Honda Element Dog Friendly Package2010 Honda Element Dog Friendly package


2010 Honda Element EX 4WD
2010 Chevrolet Equinox LT 4WD
2011 Scion xB 2010 Subaru Forester 4WD Auto X
2010 Toyota RAV4 Limited 4WD
Engine 166 hp 2.4L I4 iVTEC
182 hp 2.4L I4 Ecotec
158 hp 2.4L I4
170 hp 2.5L I4
179 hp 2.5L I4
Rear Cargo Space
74.6 ft3
63.7 ft3
69.9 ft3
60.3 ft3
73.0 ft3
Height/Length 72.1″/169.9″ 71.9″/187.8″ 69.9″/167.3″ 72.6″/179.5″ 71.5″/181.9″
Basic Warranty 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months 36k miles / 36 months
Powertrain Warranty 60k miles / 60 months 100k miles / 60 months 60k miles / 60 months 60k miles / 60 months 60k miles / 60 months
Fuel Economy (mpg) 19/24 20/29 22/28 20/26 21/27

If you can get around its looks, the convenience of this car absolutely sells itself. The cool thing about the element was that was does not try to be cool. The target market for Element drivers are just normal people; people with no need for crazy spoilers, giant wheels, or a massive SUV. It’s a simple, practical and functional vehicle.

With its great utility and flexibility, packed with good standard features, and pooch-friendliness, take the Element out for a test drive and see if it’s a good match. Have a dog-er-iffic good time!

RATING 4.0 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 3.5 3.8/B-

2010 Honda Element

2008 Honda Element 2008 Honda Element Review – More Bounce to the Ounce
Rating: 4.0 stars
By Gary Chan

“Overall, the Element SC is a pleasure to drive … acceleration is brisk for a 166-hp vehicle that weighs 3,500 lbs. “

2010 Honda Photo Gallery

2010 Honda Element

2010 Honda Element Specs

Hyundai MotorsHonda Motor Company of America: Cars, Sedans, CUVs, Trucks – http://automobiles.honda.com/

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  • Jenny says:

    The sales were never too high because they priced the vehical to high. For this economy, people just can’t afford $26,000 for a car anymore. Let alone an SUV. More people are going for a Kia Serento or the like because the fuel economy is better.

  • derek says:

    Sadly, Element sales are not strong enough to keep it going. Even though the Element has some useful features, it never was a strong seller for Honda.

  • Honda Civic says:

    This is most useful to all of us.

  • al says:

    What a shame Honda management has decided to discontinue the Element after the 2011 model run. The Element is the only Honda SUV rated as “best pick” by IIHS. Its versatility is unmatched by competitors as is its timeless style and durability (built like a little tank). The Element has become a Honda Icon and hopefully it will return.

  • derek says:

    A big thank-you to Lisa at HSSV for arranging a couple of temporary residents to try out the pet friendly features of the Honda Element. Harley and Abbie were perfect models and happily jumped in to lend a friendly paw.

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