Honda Element Overland SUV Build With Custom Graphics

10 Amazing Honda Element Overland Conversions

Key takeaways

Considering a Honda Element Overland Conversion?

With their reliability, AWD option, and ease of conversion, Honda Elements are a great option.

But what about the interior space and lack of new options? And what kind of conversion can you build with a Honda Element?

In this post, we’ll find out.

10 Amazing Honda Element Overland Builds

With a tall interior, wide-opening doors, and removable seats, the Element provides a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 10 of the coolest Honda Element builds ever:

#10: Modular Camper Kit for the Honda Element

  • Highlights: The full kit from Fifth Element comes with a convertible bench to bed across from a desk area, and a kitchen unit that can be used inside the car. It also includes a console to add an extra work station in the driver’s seat. Add-ons include a bike rack and custom bed cushions.
  • Van: Honda Element
  • Owner: @fifthelement (more at fifthelementcamping.com)

 

#9: Overlanding Honda Element with Rooftop Tent

  • Highlights: This Element is prepped for Overland adventure with its all-terrain tires. The interior sports some drawer storage pull-outs with a fridge and freezer. The roof holds an awning and a pop-up tent.
  • Van: Honda Element
  • Owner: @jet9rdo

 

#8: Converted Element with Huge Awning and Fuel Storage

  • Highlights: This AWD Element is ready for any adventure. It’s fitted with a roof rack that carries large storage boxes, extra fuel, and a huge awning for outdoor hangouts. The bed sits on a platform inside that can be easily removed.
  • Van: 2007 Honda Element EX 4wd MT
  • Owner: @camping.element

 

#7: Element Conversion with Versatile Bed Setup and Roof Rack Kayak

  • Highlights: Inside, this Element has a unique bed system that shifts from a large bed to a couch across from a pull-down desk. Battery storage is hidden under the bed and connects to the solar panels on top. The heavy-duty roof rack carries a Kayak.
  • Van: Honda Element
  • Owner: @blackbox_e

 

#6: Off-Grid-Ready Element Build with Gas Tanks and Simple Rear Bed

  • Highlights: This Honda Element is ready to get to any campsite with its AWD, tough tires, and extra gas in tanks on the roof rack. The interior has a simple bed on a platform above storage for kitchen items and a water tank.
  • Van: Honda Element
  • Owner: @silver.line.e

 

#5: Honda Element with DIY Convertible Sectional Couch

  • Highlights: This creative Element conversion has a bed with modular cushions. The cushions can be rearranged to form a sectional couch during the day. The platform for the couch has some storage underneath.
  • Van: 2004 Honda Element
  • Owner: @thetahoetoaster

 

#4: Off-Grid-Ready Honda Element with Pop Top

  • Highlights: This AWD Element has all-terrain tires and an antenna for internet connection. The sleeping space is located in the stealthy pop-top. The car is fitted with solar panels on the roof rack and a portable battery inside to charge everything.
  • Van: 2006 Honda Element
  • Owner: @hondaecamper

 

#3: Unique Element with Rooftop Tent and Rear Storage Rack

  • Highlights: This one-of-a-kind Element conversion has an interior that serves as a living area and workspace, and the sleeping area is located in the rooftop tent. Both the passenger and driver’s seats swivel around for lots of seating in the living area.
  • Van: Honda Element
  • Owner: @hiros_hotroads

 

#2: Element Conversion with Custom Roof Rack and Storage Options

  • Highlights: This DIY Element conversion made the list because of it’s one-off roof rack and storage options. The owner, RobDeezy, specializes in vehicle customizations and he spared no expense when designing storage and protection for his Honda Element.
  • Van: 2004 Honda Element
  • Owner: @pnw.deezy

 

#1: Honda Element with Pop-Top Roof and Solar Panel on the Hood

  • Highlights: This awesome Element has a pop-top that holds the sleeping area. Since the pop-top takes up the roof, the solar panels are actually located on the hood of the vehicle. The rear holds extra fuel storage and an antenna for internet connection.
  • Van: Honda Element
  • Owner: @in_our_element

 

10 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like Converting Honda Elements

The Honda Element is versatile, reliable, & compact – but is it the best option for vanlife?

Here are 10 reasons why vanlifers like the Element:

  1. Versatile: The size of the Element makes it a perfect vehicle for a weekday driver and a weekend camper all in one.
  2. Reliable: Elements come with Honda’s 2.4 L 4-cylinder engine, known for being robust and long-lasting.
  3. AWD: The Element comes in AWD, a huge bonus for navigating inclement weather or getting to hard-to-reach campsites.
  4. Rear Doors Open Towards Each Other: The side doors on the Element open towards each other, so when both are open, the whole side of the van is accessible. This makes it an excellent spot for an outdoor kitchen.
  5. Can Fit in Any Parking Space: The Element is a compact SUV, and you won’t have trouble fitting it in parking spots like you would with a long-wheelbase Sprinter.
  6. Tall Interior: Unlike most other SUVs used for camping, the Element has enough headroom to sit on a platform bed comfortably.
    Square shape for easy builds: The square interior of the Element makes planning and building a camper easier.
  7. Easy to Remove Rear Seats: The rear seats are easy to remove, which you will need to do if you want to convert your Element to a camper.
  8. Clamshell Trunk: When open, the bottom part of the trunk can function as an extra table, prep space, or workspace at your campsite.
  9. Can Tow if Needed: The Honda Element has a towing capacity of 1,500 lbs. So, you can pull a small trailer or pop-up camper.
  10. Online Community: The Honda Element has gained a cult following over the years. There is a large online community of Element owners (like the Honda Element Owners Club that can answer questions and give tips.

8 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike Honda Element Campers

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to the Honda Element.

Here are 8 reasons why vanlifers dislike the Element:

  1. Small Interior: The interior of a Honda Element is much smaller than a Sprinter or Transit van, which means you’ll have less room for amenities, and the interior will generally feel more cramped.
  2. Low Clearance: The Honda Element is not a high-clearance vehicle, so even with AWD, it’s not excellent for off-roading.
  3. Will Likely Have High Mileage: Honda stopped making the Element in 2011, so odds are, any used one you find will have high mileage.
  4. Hard to Find: As Elements gain notoriety as a great car camper, they’re becoming harder to get your hands on.
  5. Mechanical Issues: Because every Element on the market is at least 10+ years old, you will likely be purchasing a car with some moderate problems that may need servicing.
  6. Poor Fuel Economy for Its size: The shape of the Honda Element is not aerodynamic, which means it gets relatively poor fuel economy for its small size.
  7. Hard to Find Parts: It’ll be more challenging to find parts for the Element than for cars still manufactured today.
  8. Dorky Looking: The Element is an unconventionally-shaped car, and some people think it’s pretty dorky-looking.

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about the Honda Element, let’s see how it compares to other vehicles.

 

Honda Element Cost

Model New Used Price
Honda Element N/A $11,249 Check Price
Toyota Highlander $36,420 $23,900 Check Price
Subaru Forester $26,395 $13,890 Check Price
Toyota RAV4 $27,975 $18,300 Check Price
Toyota 4Runner $39,555 $28,440 Check Price

 

Honda Element Dimensions

Model Interior Height Interior Length (cargo) Interior Width Ext Length
Honda Element 43 inches 72 inches* 55 inches 170 inches
Toyota Highlander 40 inches 84 inches 60 inches 195 inches
Subaru Forester 40 inches 70 inches 58 inches 183 inches
Toyota RAV4 38 inches 70 inches 58 inches 181 inches
Toyota 4Runner 39 inches 73 inches 58 inches 192 inches

 

Honda Element Fuel Economy

Model City Highway Combined
Honda Element 20 MPG 25 MPG 22 MPG
Toyota Highlander 21 MPG 29 MPG 25 MPG
Subaru Forester 26 MPG 33 MPG 29.5 MPG
Toyota RAV4 25 MPG 32 MPG 28.5 MPG
Toyota 4Runner 16 MPG 19 MPG 17.5 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is the Honda Element Right for you?

There are many reasons to like Honda Elements: They’re compact, reliable, & their boxy shape allows for efficient use of the interior space – but they may not be for you.

Biggest Factors:

  • Reliable
  • Easy builds
  • No new options
  • Not ideal for full-time van life

In conclusion, the Element offers several appealing advantages for van life and overland travel. It’s compact size and boxy shape provide great interior space which make the build process straightforward, while its compact 4-cylinder engine provides ultra-reliable power. In the end, we’d recommend the Element for van life and overlanders who want a minimal setup and like its style and reliability.

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