The Honda Element is a crossover SUV whose design is derived from the early CR-V platforms. Although the original Element did not debut until 2001 at an auto show in Detroit, its roots as a concept vehicle known as Model X date back to a group of Honda engineers working in 1998. Their primary goal was to combine particular features of a pickup truck with those of a sports utility vehicle. This four-wheel drive combo was actually in production from 2003-2011 and utilized a 5-door body style.
The original Element that was released in 2003 featured DX and EX trim levels. These all-wheel drive models featured a considerably-large rear skylight as well. The LX was introduced in 2005, giving drivers many more standardized features that included side airbags and MP3 capabilities. The release of the LX model also signaled the end of the DX model. In 2007, the Element was given a mild power upgrade. This change resulted in a 10 horsepower increase, giving the engine a total of 166 horsepower with which to work.
The sales for the Element were good throughout its time in production. It exceeded projected sales in its first year of release by double-digit figures and ended up selling over 325,000 units by the time production ceased. It also received many accolades during its time in the spotlight. Among these awards are "Dog Car of the Year" in 2007 due to its considerable and versatile cargo space that was easily cleaned.
The Element also took home the Top Safety Pick in the "small SUV" category in 2010. The most considerable stylistic changes to the Element over its lifetime came in 2009 with the overhaul for the hood and grille. The front metal fenders replaced plastic composites, the wheel arches were squared off, and the moon roof was discontinued as well.