The Prototype that wasn't and the Element that Won't. #Blogpost
So for my first official #blogpost of 2018 I thought I would talk about this little “concept” 2018/ 2019 Honda Element. I decided to write this blog after a certain comment left on one of my post brought it up as a 2018 Concept for the Honda Element, and naturally I went snooping…I really did not find much. There are a couple problems with this: No reputable sources verifying this as official, no real specs or breakdown of features, and no solid pictures of this vehicle. These issues will all be addressed individually as I breakdown my impressions of this psuedo-prototype Element. I should note that these sources are focused on its USA release.
No Reputable Sources:
As many of you should already know I am currently working on my Master’s Degree in History, and A big part of my education is research and writing papers. Naturally for a well written paper I need solid verifiable sources that can back up the claims I make. I have spent several hours over the past several day looking all over the internet about this elusive Element and I did not find any. ( I did however find out what this vehicle actually is, but more on that later.) The sources I did find were vague AF, they did not tell me anything (there was some convoluted information on the engine but nothing that made sense) and the almost hilarious bad English made it difficult to understand. One source ( one with reasonable english) stated: ( http://2017hondanews.com/2018-honda-element/ )
**"There is no relevant information on the release date of the 2018 Honda Element. However, rumors suggest that the model will be released late in 2017 or early in 2018. Finally price will probably range from $20,000 to $30,000. This is according to most undisclosed sources."**
Okay So this was from a webpage dated late 2016, but still there should have been plenty of information, photographs and specs as to what it will be all about…this is about all the information they give and honestly it is know 2018! So, where is my (expletive) Element, Honda? Honda’s Official USA Website ( http://shop.honda.com ) does not even list this supposed Element as an upcoming model this year. The only “solid” information given is its price point of $20k-$30k and we will get to more of that later. This is actually quite a lot given what we will be learning later on in this blog.
Another “source,” a US Cars 2018 website stated the following:
**"The 2019 Honda Element Offers outstanding Style and technology both inside and out. See interior & exterior photos. 2019 Honda Element New features complemented by a lower starting price and streamline packages. the mid-size 2019 Honda Element offers a complete lineup with a wide variety of finishes and features, two conventional engines"**
Hold the phone just one moment! 2019? All of a sudden its USA release is now 2019? They Go into GREAAAT detail about what Honda has planned for this Concept car. (not) This source turns up the vague factor to 11 and beats you senseless with it. Although as a hobbyist woodworker I am quite interested in what a vehicle with finish would look like. and it will come with not one but two conventional engines! how nice. I look forward to find out how they managed to do that in a vehicle whose photos make it look quite small. Honda’s future planned vehicles website ( https://automobiles.honda.com/future-cars ) again shows nothing to back this up. ( also there were no photos on that webpage of the concept Element…just the Mk1 Element…nice…
No real Specs:
This was another issue as I have already mentioned that I found extremely problematic. While researching this concept car I found very little to no information about the interior or exterior. Just the same vague: yeah..Its going to have cool things and stuff with a wide-ranged price-point that makes it sound like its official. I assessed all of this “Information” and quickly came to the conclusion: This is not an Element… or at least not anywhere in the near future. It shares very little similarities with its Mk1 or Mk2 versions. so if this is the Element then it is not the mid-sized SUV they are claiming and a simple examination of the pictures shown above proves this. ( Although one source went from referring to it as a compact Car to a SUV almost in the same breath…
1st: suspiciously small—Like, really suspiciously small and narrow. Those are two descriptors that do not match the Element at all. Now, the Element was never a large grandiose SUV behemoth, But it still was a very roomy midsized (and wide) SUV. That concept Element looks like I could drive it through my doorway. (Obvious exaggeration is Obvious) The body itself does mildly have a hint of Element to it, but as I have already mentioned, small and narrow
2nd: four lug Wheels ( and the wheels themselves): Take another look in case you missed it and have another count of how many lug nuts are on each rim. Just four. So, this is suppose to be a mid sized SUV with only four lug nuts per wheel. I can imagine at least one person in the comments might end up showing me a mid sized SUV with four lug wheels, but until then that is something I just have never heard of.
The wheels themselves are another issue. looking at the body to wheel size ratio and for an SUV…it is off. No SUV is going to skip Leg day that much and those are some tiny wheels. This just cannot be an SUV.
3rd: Interior size: Okay, So I will be completely honest… I just cannot gauge interior size based off these photos…I just can’t even. It does however have a small feel to it, but so did the OG Element and that is Roomy AF. So I will leave it at:I do not see someone fitting a fullsized washer and dryer in it and it just feels off. OHH the suspense.
other General issues: most if not all sources jump between images of the MK1, MK2, and the Concept and it is hard to follow what vehicle they are talking about…what is this vehicle going to look like!?!? Pick a model and stick with it. Also, first it was 2017, then 2018, now 2019—more like two thousand-never-going-to-happen.
Surprisingly while writing this blog and after going up and down Honda’s American webpage I got the Idea to check Japan’s Honda lineup on their webpage. I was really hesitant about this mainly because I do not speak or understand Japanese very well and would’t be able to navigate their site very well. Luck, however, was on my side and I managed to locate a list of their current lineup.
( http://www.honda.co.jp/auto-lineup/ )
and here is what I found.
So after scrolling through the WIDE variety of models available to purchase I came across a section titled: 軽乗用車 (Kei jōyōsha) or in Americanish: Light Passenger Car. Not only is this confirmed not an Element, but it isn’t even a SUV. This is the N-Box, N-Box+, or even the N-Box Slash (if you are that picky) A closer look at the license plate of the “element” concept shows that it says “N+Box Element Concept” So It is clearly just the N-box, a Kei car that is already regularly available in Japan for purchase and this is just a concept version of that car—not the Element. Now like I said I do not write, speak, or understand Japanese, so I cannot really tell you much about this car. I am currently unaware of any plans in America to start selling kei cars, so I cannot explain the commentary of any plans for USA sales and prices. I cannot even explain why the photos have it advertised as “Element Concept.” I am under the assumption that these are photos of a Japanese autoshow, and not one at a world or American stage.
Based off of the available reputable sources I can only assume that this N-Box+ is not an Element that America will be seeing anytime soon. Nor is it anything close to the SUV that is the Original Element. So it may have Element in there but it is not an Element…it is the Honda N-Box, a kei car.
Between the available information it is all too inconclusive. I am also perplexed that of all vehicles to spoof a comeback they would pick the Honda Element. It has a narrow following and sales were always kind of mediocre so there would have to be a YUUUGE surge in popularity for Honda to bring back the Element. And again that is unlikely given that they did not do much with it to start.
As a Kei Car: I personally love kei cars, and would love to own one some day. Smaller cars tend to have a better appeal to me than bloaty oversized cars. If the N-Box is for sure coming to the USA then that is great. I should note that the 20-30K price seems to be off though, as you can buy one for around $17k in Japan…For city living having a smaller vehicle is Ideal as you do not tend to worry about room as much as you would with larger cars or SUVs. From what I understood It actually as a pull down ramp for wheel chairs, which while an unusual feature is still interesting. Also something that I would like to see in actual larger vehicles. As the ramp could also be multi-purpose and help with loading heavier objects…like full sized Washers…
As an Element: Complete and utter Schite. You can relate this to what has already been done to the Mitsu. Eclipse. The Element is a mid-sized SUV, not a Kei car. making the Element what they are pseudo-proposing takes away almost all of the aspects I love about the Element. I take my Elements pretty seriously and this seems just insulting.
As Always I encourage and appreciate all constructive comments, if you need clarification on something please let me know and I can work with you on that. I do my best to try and catch everything but occasionally miss things.
So What do you think? Should USA bring in kei cars? Is the Element better off a Kei Car? or if they are planning on bringing it back, should they stick with as a SUV?