The Element's boxy, offbeat styling generates a lot of attention, but the vehicle is fraught with compromises. It has a cavernous interior, but it's only a four-seater with a skimpy 675-pound payload capacity. So it can be easily overloaded. The vehicle handles nimbly and has a smooth, refined powertrain, but it has a choppy ride, noisy cabin, an awkward driving position, and obstructed outward visibility.
Alerts
There are 12 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"exceptional handling in the city"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element)

"Good gas mileage, cargo space, seat four people comfortably"

Sutton R., CA (2003 Honda Element)

"Handles more like a truck"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element)

"sloppy handling, lots and lots of lean on turns, not very precise in its movements"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Honda Element)

"Sluggish acceleration. Handling is still tight and responsive after 13 years."

CHRIS-STEPHANIE M., ME (2003 Honda Element)

"The Element won't get out of it's own way, and the torque steering will send you into the next lane if you're not paying attention. For me, however, the acceleration is just spirited enough, and the turning radius tight enough to park anywhere and maneuver through any situation. And it does ride like a freight train, but so what? It's a little truck!"

DONALD D., CA (2003 Honda Element)

"Handles great, fun to drive, roomy to carry things in as ample room in rear. Just a great car, have been very pleased. Its peppy also."

P T., TN (2003 Honda Element)

"It is a peppy car even as a 4 cyl."

Anonymous, CO (2003 Honda Element)

"fun to drive good road feel"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Honda Element)

"Acceleration and handling are satisfactory for a car like this. I installed a tow package and the car pulls light trailer loads with ease."

Peter B., NC (2003 Honda Element)

"The prices for simple things breaking is extremely high. Had a plastic window hanger break it was $385 to replace a plastic pulley really?"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Honda Element)

"This has always been my favorite car of all time to drive. Functional as dog car, comfortable to drive. I wish Honda would bring them back!"

Brenda O., KS (2003 Honda Element)

"Completely mediocre in all respects"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Honda Element)

"Enjoy the jeep feel of the element but comfort of more modern SUV's. Feels very responsive with some get up and go."

Anonymous, AK (2003 Honda Element)

"Low end torque helps with acceleration and handling is smooth without being as spongey as some high end SUV's"

Scott H., PA (2003 Honda Element)

Comfort

Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Very good car for both passenger and household goods hauling"

Donald D., CA (2003 Honda Element)

"The main driver of this car is 6'6"" tall and this is the best cart to fit long legs."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element)

"The front seats are comfortable and I have had no complaints about the back seats."

Sutton R., CA (2003 Honda Element)

"seats are very flat, no support at all, vehicle ride is like a truck with no suspension, very harsh, unforgiving. after 100 miles it has beaten you up pretty bad."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Honda Element)

"This vehicle fits tall people very well, providing plenty of leg and head room."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Honda Element)

"Solid, comfortable ride."

Anonymous, VA (2003 Honda Element)

"The climate control is excellent...I did not give 5 star rating because the car is noisy and it is difficult on the highway to hold conversation with the radio on"

SUZANNE S., MD (2003 Honda Element)

"Our family does many road trips, major and minor. The best thing about this vehicle which does not seem to exist anywhere else is that the seats fully recline - totally flat. This means that kids or adults can actually get real sleep. I am sick of even minivans that have plenty of room which only allow for about 10 degrees of decline."

TARA N., MN (2003 Honda Element)

"Seats"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element)

"Road noise very loud, to the point where my hands free phone system is hard for others to hear when I am driving Handles like a truck but that's expected"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element)

"Rough ride sometimes feel like a truck"

Anonymous, MO (2003 Honda Element)

"Uncomfortable seats, very noisy, ride seems to be impacted by minor road issues"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Honda Element)

"Great headroom."

Anonymous, MT (2003 Honda Element)

"Our element is great for bouncing around town and hauling things. It is not designed for long trips. The seats aren't especially comfortable and the low gearing means the maximum comfortable speed is about 60 mph. Faster than that feels like the engine revs uncomfortably high."

Peter B., NC (2003 Honda Element)

"Road noise is high and the ride is rough for the back seat passengers."

Anonymous, IL (2003 Honda Element)

"seats are torturous, no support, no comfort, very buckboard like. ride is bouncy, uneven, like a farm truck over a plowed field"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Honda Element)

Value

Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"All around best utility vehicle EVER"

Kevin S., PA (2003 Honda Element)

"Bought new in 2004. Now it is 2018. Besides regular normal maintenance, have had very few repairs. Have never been stranded on the side of the road! Good gas mileage. Fun to drive. Never understood why Honda quit making the Element. I want a new one!"

Pat B., FL (2003 Honda Element)

"For the $$, great value; can carry different size loads, very flexible"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element)

"Such a bargain at around 18 thousand"

Ellen J., NM (2003 Honda Element)

"It's all about future repairs! I bought my 2003 Honda at a good price, and it has always been reliable. I have only had one repair with a starter. Other than that, just the normal stuff, oil changes, tires and brakes. I love my HONDA."

PATRICIA B., FL (2003 Honda Element)

"I have been 100% satisfied with it.If they would come out with a new model I would buy it ."

P T., TN (2003 Honda Element)

"This vehicle has been rock solid. For being 13 years old it has held up very well. We expect to get another 10 years out of it without any trouble."

DAVE O., PA (2003 Honda Element)

"This is just a really good do it all vehicle with plenty of room for 4 people where you can also take the rear seats out and make it into a cargo van. All wheel drive makes it great in the elements too! They should really bring this model back and market it to an older generation than it was originally marketed to."

DONNY S., MO (2003 Honda Element)

"We got our Accord used as a lease return and have had no issues other than a front brake shim and one recall item. The car has a very solid feel to it and it imparts a sense of durability: we'll likely be sick of the car before it wears out. We got all the nifty electronic accoutrements we could ask for and a back seat roomier than the one in our relative's Lexus."

DONALD D., CA (2003 Honda Element)

"200,000+ miles. only repairs have been after 180,000 miles. Clutch and AC"

DAN G., IA (2003 Honda Element)

"Bad part is always in 4 wheel"

RICHARD S., AZ (2003 Honda Element)

"Very versatile for many uses. Difficult to remove and reinstall rear seats by one person. Poor visibility with windshield support columns."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Honda Element)

"Amazing car for carrying bulky loads."

Jerry F., CO (2003 Honda Element)

"Great dependability, longevity. Only had normal wear and tear maintenace , 14 yrs old, 218,000 miles, still running everyday, no body rust"

Susan D., NY (2003 Honda Element)

"Excellent value for the cost, very few if no repairs and holding together well after 13 years!"

Scott H., PA (2003 Honda Element)

"Bought this car to carry around 3 dogs over 100+ lbs. worked fantastic for the purpose. Handling was very good, great turning radius. Only 4 cylinder but was very capable of keeping up with traffic on freeways and mountain roads. Sound system was great. Bose speakers. Did have some pretty good sized blind spots, but adding enhanced mirrors helped that problem. Seating was fair... but space was fantastic for the size. No navigation system... too old. Car was noisy, but I bought it for t..."

Sharon D., AZ (2003 Honda Element)

"HA! Must be too much value since Honda has discontinued production. Value, for me, is in open and spacious read section where I can easily transport my bike, garbage cans, other bulky objects. Great functionality."

Tedd L., CT (2003 Honda Element)

"It is 13 years I have the element and have not had to expend money on the upkeep except for regular service m"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Honda Element)

"This vehicle has been extremely reliable, an excellent vehicle for hauling lots of different things, and a comfortable vehicle for commuting and distance driving."

Malissa S., KY (2003 Honda Element)

Styling

How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"Boxy makes interior cavernous"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element)

"How versatile it is - moving seats out of the way or taking them out, the way the doors open, etc."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Honda Element)

"The styling is utilitarian and nothing more. It's fine for what it is, but nothing to write home about. The sides of the seats are vinyl so they are cracking but it has been a really good car."

CHRIS-STEPHANIE M., ME (2003 Honda Element)

"I love the way it looks. Unique and easy to get in & out of."

Anonymous, CO (2003 Honda Element)

"the most practical car i have owned. it gets messy with dogs, and small renovations, etc. all you have to do is wipe off the floors and good as new. it is not flashy and looks a bit like a school bus but it is a good little car/van. it is a shame they don't make it anymore."

KARIM F., ON (2003 Honda Element)

Would you buy this car again?

2003 vehicles
Ford Escape
Honda CR-V
Honda Element
Jeep Liberty
Mazda Tribute
Subaru Forester
Toyota RAV4
Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
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