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Dog Friendly Honda Element Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda doesn't have any big reveal planned for the New York Auto Show this year, but it does have a vehicle on display that should make one section of the population sit up and take notice. Front and center in the Honda display here is an Element that's outfitted with Dog Friendly components, many of which should be available as accessories for the vehicle this fall. Fido will find himself very comfortable in the back of this Element where a cushioned pet bed is placed on an elevated platform. There are also pet restraint systems fitted to the second row and rear cargo area. An extendable ramp can be used to aid your pooch's ingress, while a 12V DC fan in the rear keeps him cool. A spill resistant water bowl, rubber floor mats covered in a toy bone pattern and second row seat covers with a dog-themed pattern round out Honda's cadre of canine friendly accessories. Check out the high-res gallery below to see them all and read Honda's official press release after the jump.

Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc


New dog-friendly transportation concepts designed for the Honda Element add canine-specific enhancements to one of the most dog-friendly vehicles available, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today at the New York International Auto Show.

Developed specifically for the Element, the Dog Friendly™ components demonstrate the potential for a dedicated pet restraint system designed to meet the needs of dog owners. A finalized version of the Dog Friendly Element is scheduled to debut this fall. Major components will likely include:
  • a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform;
  • second row and cargo area pet restraint systems;
  • an extendable cargo area load-in ramp;
  • a 12V DC rear ventilation fan;
  • second-row seat covers with a dog pattern design (matches the bed fabric);
  • all-season rubber floor mats with a toy bone pattern;
  • a spill-resistant water bowl; and
  • Dog Friendly exterior emblems.
"In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "Factory integration of a cushioned pet bed, restraint systems and other components are intended to transform the Element into the ultimate dog car."

The Dog Friendly equipment, engineered specifically for the Element, is designed to accommodate the transportation of dogs in the second-row passenger seats or in the cargo area. The restraint system concepts were designed and fabricated by Takata Corporation, one of the world's leading automotive safety systems suppliers, exclusively for display on the Dog Friendly Honda Element concept vehicle. The restraint concepts are intended to complement the potential of the vehicle's existing restraint systems by helping to protect the dog and helping to prevent injuries to other vehicle occupants due to an unrestrained dog impacting them in a collision. For convenience, a ramp is included to help dogs access the rear cargo area. The ramp stores underneath the bed platform and can be conveniently accessed when the rear tailgate is down.

"In-vehicle pet restraints should be part of every dog owner's safe travel practices," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "The expanded availability of manufacturer-based restraints and features can help elevate pet comfort and convenience for owners. Good ventilation and access to water on longer trips should also be primary concerns."

The Element has long been recognized for its dog-friendly interior with an easy-to-clean urethane floor and expansive, flat cargo area (up to 74.6 cu-ft. with rear seats removed), wide-opening side cargo doors, low lift-in height, and accommodating dimensions for tall items. The consumer pet travel advice Web site, Dogcars.com, honored the 2007 Honda Element with its first-ever "Dog Car of the Year" award.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc., 39 percent of all households own at least one dog with an estimated total U.S. dog population of 74.8 million. All pet purchases and related products and services comprise an estimated total market value of more than $43 billion (2008 est.).

Substantially restyled for the 2009 model year and available with new features, the Honda Element builds on its spacious and versatile SUV character with a more chiseled exterior appearance and a refreshed interior design. Three unique Element styles are available that range from the rugged and simple Element LX, to the more refined Element EX, to the sporty Element SC.

Powered by a 2.4-liter i-VTEC® 4-cylinder engine, the Element is available with either a 5-speed manual transmission (standard) or an available 5-speed automatic transmission. Available Real Time 4WD™ can enhance all-weather traction. The interior provides seating for up to four people along with a cargo area that adapts to large items with its flip-up rear seats that fold flat, fold up and to the side, or can be removed altogether (64-plus seating arrangements). The Element EX has a water resistant urethane-coated utility floor that wipes down for ease-of-cleaning and seat fabric that resists moisture.

For 2009, all Elements incorporate significant exterior styling changes that include new front grille and bumper designs, restyled front fenders (now metal, previously composite material), a new hood design, squared wheel arches, and new headlight and taillight configurations. Interior enhancements include revised dashboard color combinations with titanium-look side linings, new fabric patterns, and enhanced switchgear designs and instrument panel meter graphics. The Element EX exclusively adds a new convertible center console with a removable cooler/storage box.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      A valid concern but it looks like it wouldn't be an issue after you fold the tailgate up. Also, the back mesh flap of the soft dog crate zips up, so if your dog is zipped in it definitely wouldn't be a problem.

      After the awesomely hiliarious Honda Dog site ( http://www.honda.co.jp/dog/ ) I was expecting a little more here, but there are a couple of good ideas. The ramp looks super for older dogs -- a lot of breeds tend to develop arthritis in the legs and hips but are otherwise healthy and live for years. I know my friend with an oldish retriever would have loved it -- a very heavy dog for her to pick up, and the dog didn't love it, either. Also, even for young dogs, vets will tell you it isn't good for your dog to jump *out* of a car (fine to jump up and in), because their front legs aren't built to absorb 3-foot drops on their own (think about falling three feet onto your hands/arms) -- sure, they can do it, but it risks both impact injury and stress injury over time.

      Also like the accessory fan ... cars get super-hot inside in minutes, and sometimes if you're on a road trip or running errands being able to safely leave your dog in the car for a few minutes would be great. Personally, I wouldn't mind if car makers would do power management better, so that we *humans* could sit in a stopped car and use the accessory electrics (AC and radio) without fear of running down the (only) battery. It's 2010 and wiring in 2 smaller batteries instead of 1 isn't rocket science!
      • 6 Years Ago
      So, they give you a bloody ramp and some extra wal-mart pet accessories and its the pooch edition? Seriously Honda built a F*%king sports car you batches.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whatever these honda guys were smoking, I want 5Kg. This is the stupidiest auto thing I've ever seen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hey Honda....dogs like to stick their head out the window. How about making the back door windows roll down for Fido to stick his head out. People in the back seat might appreciate it too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      if the dog is in the back like that it wont be able to stick its head out the window:(
      • 6 Years Ago
      The dog seems to be thinking "your kidding me right, with this effin ramp".
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda is doing the right thing with this actually. Look at the Honda Element Owners Club and you will see many owners who LOVE there dogs and pet friendly Element. With this Honda will have Element owners coming back for another.

      One more thing, I have a dog that can not jump up into a vehicle very well at all. He is a Basset Hound and they are not built for jumping, more like lounging!
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you're dog can't jump into it, buy a vehicle with a lower cargo floor.
        • 6 Years Ago
        oh man, spelling fail
      • 6 Years Ago
      Brands skiping Auto Shows and Honda wastes them with this kind of..."not that interesting thing"
      • 6 Years Ago
      If your dog can't jump into the back of an Element, you need to put it to sleep.
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Element design style has finally gone to the dogs. It's about 3 years overdue for a redesign. I'm seriously starting to lose my respect for Honda as they are driving their body styles and technology into the ground. In the 80's and 90's, they did total redesigns every 4 years. And no more 3 door Civic hatchback or 3 door Accord hatchback, so what's the point?

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