Cars Like the Honda Element – 8 Similar Cars to Consider!

Updated: | Author: Steve Freling | Affiliate links may be present.

The Honda Element was a compact vehicle that was designed as a crossover between an SUV and also a pick up truck. The party trick was the bi folding opening doors that allowed easy access for passengers.

The rear seats could also be folded up, allowing a large amount of cargo storage that defied the compact styling of the Element. It also came equipped with the legendary K24 i-VTEC engine which had plenty of power while almost never breaking down.

Add in the cute boxy styling along with the optional 4WD, it was easy to see why it was so popular.

Here are 8 similar cars that you should have on your shopping list.

Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue has soared in popularity and has become one of the best selling SUVs in the world. It offers AWD, a modern design and features such as Apple Carplay as standard.

There are also several premium trim options to consider, which can add features such as adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery & wireless charging.

While the Rogue leaves an impression of an off roader, in reality this car is well suited to suburban shopping runs.

The new punchy 3 cylinder turbo provides plenty of torque while retaining a fuel economy to match the old 2.5L motor. Having driven both this model and the old one, the power increase was certainly needed and adds an element of fun to the car.

Compared to the Element, the only feature that you would be missing is the bi folding doors which allows more convenient loading from the side. However if you’re after a modern family SUV at a very competitive price, the Rogue should be on your shopping list.

Honda HR-V

While the boxing styling of the Element was in fashion back in the noughties, the compact SUV styling is now dominating the new car market. With good reason as well, this size offers plenty of space for the family while not being restricted in terms of storage like a sedan.

The HR-V might have the best sizing of any compact SUV I’ve been in, the cabin is easy to climb in and the seating position allows you to gain a wide vantage of the road.

In previous years, the HR-V was a little slow to include the safety features we’ve come to expect such as blind spot monitoring & lane departure assist. However with the launch of the new HR-V for the 2023 model year, these features now come as standard.

I also enjoyed the new 7 inch digital display, this includes displaying navigation information which was handy when you can’t afford to take your eyes off the road. It doesn’t quite look as funky as the Element does but it certainly offers a lot more features.

Toyota CH-R

The CH-R immediately caught my eye when it launched with its unique styling, the bright daytime running lights give the car a modern presence. The boot lid is raised compared to a conventional SUV which allows for more storage space.

The CH-R is set to be discontinued in the United States in 2023 which is a bit of a shame as the hybrid model available overseas offers amazing efficiency compared to the rivals.

While other brands have started adopting the styling of the CH-R, now would be a great opportunity to pick one up at a discount. The Corolla Cross is slated as the replacement model, which is a rather conventional design.

Toyota Sienna

Perhaps these new modern crossover SUVs aren’t quite what you’re looking for. The Element had that distinctive boxy styling with the unique styling point being the folding doors. The Sienna is larger than the Element but has sliding doors akin to a minivan.

One of the great things about the Sienna, other than the usual reliability of a Toyota, is that the pricing starts at $36,000 but there are 7 different configurations, with the ability to go all the way up to the ‘Platinum’ edition – which includes a heated steering wheel & seats!

Who would have thought so much luxury would be possible in a Toyota.

Toyota Voxy

If you live outside of the United States, you will have access to some very funky RHD vehicles that share many similarities to the Honda Element.

The Voxy is a peculiar car in that it borrows much of its styling from its larger & more popular sibling – the Vellfire. However it manages to squeeze 7 seats and fold away seats into a rather short but tall vehicle.

With many engine configurations available, the 1.8L hybrid motor is the one to choose. Sharing the same drivetrain as the Prius, parts are easy to obtain if you need to maintain the car. However, given the reliability of the Prius, this isn’t something you’ll be doing often!

Hyundai Venue

A lesser known option but possibly the closest to a Honda Element that you could buy new today.

Branded a ‘subcompact’ SUV, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback allows you to store whatever you need to. The boxy styling is a welcome departure from what the majority of Japanese brands are following.

At the top trim level, you can even have heated seats & a sunroof. Not bad at all for the MSRP of around $23,000. This is less than the base trim for nearly all the cars in this list!

What you will be sacrificing is power as the Venue only comes equipped with a 121 1.6L engine. However after driving this car around town, the Venue has more than enough pep for short highway runs. A fantastic, long-lasting option if you don’t want to break the bank.

Ford Bronco Sport SUV

Easily topping the list in terms of style points, the Bronco is designed for outdoor use and camping enthusiasts. Differing slightly from the other cars in this list, every Bronco is equipped with a 4WD system which will help get you out of slippery scenarios.

My favorite feature of the Bronco is the unique ‘Flip Up Rear Glass’ which gives you easy access to your cargo, so you can grab items in a pinch without having to lift the whole boot.

There is also an accessory which allows you to add a makeshift canopy to this glass, they’ve really thought of everything!

Adding to the outdoor theme, you can also option an interior bike rack or a cargo diving shelf. These options are relatively cheap as well, starting from $150.

KIA Soul

The KIA Soul looks quite similar to the Honda Element except with a modern twist, thanks to the sweeping tail light design.

The GT Trim is the one to go for as this upgrades the touch screen to a whooping 10.25 inch, one of the largest in this segment. I was immediately impressed with the tactile feel of all the materials, a leather wrapped steering wheel is a nice addition as well.

It’s interesting that it seems like the Korean manufacturers are now adopting the boxy style that was so popular amongst Japanese car brands in the noughties.

While the Kia Soul is the smallest car in their SUV lineup, cars have grown dramatically in the last decade and you’ll find the Soul to be of similar proportions to the Honda Element.

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About Steve Freling

Steve has worked for more than 20 years as an automotive mechanic, and later run his own repair shop for both cars and motorcycles. He's a maintenance freak, and generally pretty good at troubleshooting!

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