Honda announced that it is adding a new 'element' to its lineup late this year with an all-new light truck named Element and based on the popular Model X concept vehicle. With its bold, straightforward exterior design and functional interior, Element aims to combine the best features of a pickup truck and a SUV and is targeted squarely at young, active buyers.
Element delivers on themes featured in the Model X concept vehicle unveiled at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It received a strong response on the auto show circuit, earning a fast track to production.
"There is a whole new generation of buyers, 71 million strong, entering the automotive market," said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. "The Element is designed for those who surf, snowboard, mountain bike and just about anything else. Right now they're trying to adapt to cars, trucks and SUVs, but there is no one vehicle that meets their needs."
Element is designed to serve as a combination dorm room/base camp for active young buyers. The flexible interior hauls four adults and their gear comfortably on road trips; or the rear seats fold away to create a large and open interior capable of hauling just about anything that can be used during the course of a weekend. The rugged interior is also designed to be easy-to-clean. Additional features include a high-power AM/FM radio with 6-disc CD player and MP3 player or video game outlets.
A key design feature of the Element is the center opening "swing-wide" doors that have no B-pillar for maximum cargo loading flexibility. Honda also has targeted a Five Star side impact safety rating for Element.
The Element is based on Honda's Global Compact Platform and will be powered by a 2.4-liter, 160-horsepower, i-VTEC, 4-cylinder engine. It will be available with either front-wheel-drive or Honda's Real Time 4WD(TM). Both 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions will be available.
The Element will be built at Honda's East Liberty (Ohio) Plant, going on sale in December 2002, with first year sales (2003) of about 50,000 vehicles expected. Pricing will range from $16,000 to $21,000.