Honda Element Goes Urban

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New York’s SC Prototype Previews New Version of 2007 Element
On sale in fall 2006 is a special Element, previewed by the SC Prototype on Honda‘s stand at the 2006 New York auto show. While the standard Element focuses on its ability to haul stuff and people to the beach and back, the SC is about looking cool in the city. The SC loses the Element’s body cladding (gaining a dramatic, metallic copper paint on all sheetmetal) and also loses three inches in ride height, resulting in a lower, more aggressive stance. This aggressive stance is complemented with a custom front bumper, projector-beam headlights, large twenty-one-inch alloy wheels, custom grille, and a slightly lowered roofline.

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VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were there for the reveal, as we were the rest of this year’s New York show. Honda successfully brought the Element from the beach to the city, and we only hope the production car actually offers twenty-one-inch wheels and tires! In particular, lowering the Element and dropping the plastic body panels bring a sharper, more stylish look to the box. The standard Element is all about practical, but the SC wants to be the center of attention.

Sign Me Up:
This urbanization of the Element is an interesting move away from Honda’s initial “Dorm Room on Wheels” concept that resonated not only with young buyers but with more mature buyers as well. The median age of Element buyers is in their upper forties – somewhat embarrassing for Honda as they were seriously targeting GenY buyers. Oh well, guess you can’t prevent an old fart from buying your vehicle if they really feel young at heart. This SC prototype has real potential young and old.


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SC Prototype Doesn’t Stop with Big Wheels and an Aero Kit
The SC Prototype’s exterior color was picked up inside with trim accents in both copper and piano black and the instrument panel LED backlighting both taking on a copper hue. As the SC is meant for a more urban life, the passenger and cargo areas have a carpeted floor instead of the active-lifestyle-oriented washable standard Element floor. The SC Prototype also gets a different center console, with storage designed for MP3 players and cell phones.
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Complementing the aggressive look is a power bump for the 2.4L DOHC 16v I4, up to 166HP instead of the standard 156HP, achieved by adding high-flow intake and exhaust systems and high-lift camshafts. Drive-by-wire throttle control was added, and when the appropriate box is checked, the standard five-speed manual transmission can be replaced by a five-speed automatic unit. The Element only offers four gears for its optional automatic. The SC Prototype is supported by twenty-one-inch wheels and tires and offers a sport-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes with larger rotors, and brake calipers painted to match the exterior.
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Changes for All 2007 Elements
Though being ushered in with the SC, all Elements for 2007 get more standard safety equipment. Element had offered side airbags as an option, but they’ve been moved to the standard equipment list and are joined by side curtain airbags and vehicle stability assist and ABS. A change to the front seatbelts will allow rear-seat passengers to get out without the front passenger having to remove the seatbelt as well.

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