$6,656 - $9,183

2009 Honda Element Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2009 Honda Element was new.


Interior: 7.8

The 2009 Element is extremely spacious, with useful and innovative cargo options. Not only that, but reviewers find its layout and quality are in line with other Honda cabins. But there is a snag -- some reviewers find the seat cushioning lacks depth, and note that thigh support is poor.

  • "Assembly quality is Honda-typical, but Element's cabin is decked out with lots of hard plastic with unappealing textures. It's in step with Element's utilitarian goals, but nearly all its rivals have nicer appointments." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Inside, the Honda Element is all about space, or maximizing usable space in a vehicle with a relatively small footprint. Its interior is designed to handle all combinations of people and stuff, from four full grown adults to two adults and mountain bikes or a couple of long boards." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Unlike most compact SUVs, the Honda Element only accommodates four. However, its stadium-style seating rewards rear passengers with plenty of room and high visibility. Cargo room is exceptional." -- Edmunds


Reviewers like the 2009 Honda Element's versatile seating -- rear seats can fold flat to the floor, fold up and to the sides, or be removed altogether -- but ultimately find the cushioning lacks sufficient support.

  • "Ample adult-size room, but hard padding is not conducive to long-haul comfort. The standard driver-seat height adjustment is welcome, but it has limited range and a tedious handwheel control. ... The rear bench suffers even skimpier padding than the front seats, and its undersized cushion and backrest further detract from comfort." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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." -- About.com
  • "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." -- MSN
  • "The second row is reasonably accessible through rear-hinged access doors. The seats 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." -- Cars.com

Interior Features

Honda made the Element's cabin more durable than convenient. While writers praise the SUV's easy-to-clean polyurethane floor, they have trouble reading the controls, especially with the SC trim's copper backlighting. Honda's popular Satellite-Linked Navigation System is available with the Element's EX trim. But if you're looking for a portable option, check out our GPS reviews to help you make a decision.

  • "The instruments in the new SC model have unique copper-hue back lighting, and the SC has conventional carpet in the passenger area, rather than black polyurethane sheeting. The SC also gets special fabric seat upholstery with a raised tattoo pattern." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Element has simple, convenient climate and audio controls. Hooded gauges are hard to see in some light conditions, and are partly obscured for tall drivers by the steering wheel." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The newly optional navigation system was easy and quick to program, though the controls were inconveniently small, and the overall sophistication can't match the Honda system in, say, the Pilot SUV. The navi comes with backup camera that presents a reasonably clear image on the navi screen." -- USA Today


The Honda Element is easy to load and can hold plenty. Our analysis finds the SUV's maximum 74.6 cubic feet of space is comparable to larger vehicles, and the space is highly flexible.

  • "Without a B-pillar to intrude, opening both side doors creates an extra-large portal through which to easily load passengers or bulky cargo." -- Edmunds
  • "When the rear seats are flipped up on their sides, there's a cargo area large enough to place two upright-standing mountain bikes. The front seats feature integrated safety belts and are surprisingly comfortable. They are made of durable, washable fabric that breathes nicely, a benefit on hot days. 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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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." -- Cars.com
  • "Stubby, reverse-hinged back doors, like those on extended-cab pickups a few years ago, make no sense. Honda calls them 'cargo doors' and says they allow the whole side of the vehicle to become an aperture, to fit the bulky items that, say, college students tote (couches, desks, large containers of recreational beverage, buddies who've consumed too much recreational beverage)." -- USA Today

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