Is Lifting a Honda Element a Good Idea?

Do you currently own a Honda Element and want to make it an overlanding vehicle? If so, then giving it a little bit of a lift can do the trick. After all, going off-road isn’t only reserved for Jeeps and trucks. But is lifting a Honda Element really a good idea?

Lifting a Honda Element involves using spacers

Unlike many Jeep and trucks, the Honda Element doesn’t have much aftermarket support when it comes to giving it a lift. However, there are a couple of companies that do manufacture lift kits in the form of spacers that sit atop the strut assemblies, effectively lifting the chassis. And while many Jeep and truck applications used this method as well, it’s not the most ideal way to go, especially if you’re looking to do some serious off-roading.

However, the Honda Element isn’t really meant to do any serious rock crawling, so the available kits should work well for mild overlanding. The two most common manufacturers are Aerogenics and HRG Engineering, both of which have one, two, and three-inch lift kits for the 2003-2011 Honda Element. The process for installing either lift kit is rather labor-intensive and does require cutting and modifying some of the suspension components, so professional installation is recommended.

The pros of lifting a Honda Element

While lifting a Honda Element might not sound like the greatest idea, considering it’s not the most off-roadworthy vehicle, doing so does have its own set of benefits. Some of those benefits are as follows:

  • Better ground clearance
  • You be able to fit larger, wider off-road tires
  • It will be easier to work on the car
  • The Element will look like a proper overlanding rig
  • Lift kits are fairly inexpensive ($200 to $300)

As we can see, the main benefit of lifting a Honda Element is the added ground clearance, which makes fitting larger tires and driving over large obstacles much easier. However, it won’t exactly make the Element a Ford F-150 Raptor competitor by any means, so that’s something to keep in mind.  

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The cons of lifting a Honda Element

On the other side of the coin, lifting a Honda Element has its share of cons as well. The added ground clearance is nice, however, there are a few drawbacks to the newfound vertical space:

  • Depending on the larger tires you install, there is possibly a rougher ride
  • Worse fuel economy
  • More wind noise
  • Increased interior cabin noise
  • All-terrain tires can be loud
  • Lifting it makes it more susceptible to catalytic converter thieves

While the cons seem like they might outweigh the pros, bear in mind that a few of them might worth it to you if you really want to lift your Element. For example, considering the Element gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, you’re likely already used to getting real-world mileage figures in the low 20s, so lifting it and getting slightly worse mileage probably won’t phase you.

A lifted 2009 Honda Element drives through the mud
A lifted 2009 Honda Element drives through the mud | YouTube

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Is lifting a Honda Element worth the effort and cost?

Considering the available lift kits for the Honda Element only cost around $200 to $300, the low price entry makes it a worthwhile endeavor. Especially if you can find a good shop with low installation rates. However, just remember to get some beefier all-terrain tires and some matching wheels to go with the lift as the stock size and setup might look a little weird.