New York Auto Show: Honda rocks the box with Element SC prototype

Finally answering the cult of Element enthusiasts (hey, we know a few), Honda is set to rock its Box with a production version of SC prototype unveiled here in New York.

Lowered three-inches on a sport suspension and seen here on 21" wheels and tires (245/35R21), the 2007 Element SC prototype sports a full body kit, painted exterior paneling and trim, and most obviously, a reworked nose with blacked-out grille and projector-beam headlamps.

The Element SC's interior has received a light revamp as well, netting a reworked center console, full interior carpeting (in place of the current Element's washable flooring), 'copper hue instrument panel' with LED backlighting and piano black trim.

Also indicative of the direction Honda is taking with its Element, the concept's 2.4-liter i-VTEC engine gets a ten pony bump to 166 horsepower, courtesy less-restrictive intake and exhaust systems, as well as high-lift cams. The throttle will henceforth be drive-by-wire, and the automatic sprouts a fifth gear.

In the safety arena, the Element gets a new seat belt design that eases entry and exit to the rear seat-- a common complaint among H-Box afficianados. This, along with a side curtain airbags, stability control, and anti-lock supervision.

A production version of the urbanized Element is set for this fall.

(full press release and tons of photos after the jump!)

[Source: Honda]

New York 04/13/2006 --

An all-new urban-oriented counterpart to the Honda Element will debut this fall with an exclusive sport suspension, larger wheels and tires, unique styling and special features like a carpeted interior and a center console, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., announced today at the 2006 New York International Auto Show.

With performance more than skin deep, the Element SC prototype rides 3-inches lower than stock with a sport suspension that delivers sports car-like handling. A front-to-rear aerodynamic body kit further lowers the vehicle's stance, supplementing the new vehicle's performance direction with a ground-hugging presence. High on sophistication, the Element SC smoothly stands out with exclusive features such as fully-painted exterior panels and trim pieces, projector-beam headlights and an aero-enhanced black grille. The interior further complements the city performance demeanor with a driver-oriented center console, copper hue instrument panel lighting backlit with LEDs, piano black trim and a carpeted floor.

"The Element SC prototype is the city-dwelling, style-conscious brother of the original Element," said Dick Colliver, executive vice president of American Honda. "Instead of features that accommodate outdoor sports and similar activities, the Element SC injects a new dimension of sophistication into the lineup that can best be characterized as 'night performer.'"

The exterior styling expresses a sophisticated, performance-oriented attitude with SC-exclusive features that include projector beam headlights, custom front bumper, lowered suspension, large alloy wheels, custom grille and a slightly lowered roofline (trim effect).

To match the outside, the exclusive interior takes on an entirely new personality with a center console that has enclosed storage areas ideal for mobile phones and MP3 players. Additional exclusive features include trim accents that correspond to the copper-colored illumination.

The 2007 Element SC prototype has a 2.4-liter, DOHC, i-VTEC engine that benefits from a 10 horsepower increase over the 2006 Element, bringing the total to 166 horsepower (SAE net revised 8/04). The increase is achieved primarily through the addition of high-flow intake and exhaust systems and high-lift camshafts. Additional enhancements include drive-by-wire throttle control. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, and the available automatic transmission has five forward gears instead of four.

Fulfilling the goals of Honda's "Safety for Everyone" initiative introduced in 2003, all 2007 Elements will provide a core suite of standard safety equipment that goes beyond existing regulations and includes side curtain airbags, driver's side impact airbag, front passenger's side impact airbag, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and ABS.

The 2007 Honda Element also introduces an Integrated Seat Belt System on the front seats that allows rear seat occupants to exit the vehicle without the need for a front occupant to disconnect his or her seatbelt. In place of the existing B-pillar, door-mounted shoulder strap, the new Integrated Seat Belt System shoulder strap originates from the top of the seat and helps to enhance vehicle ingress/egress convenience for rear passengers.

The Element SC prototype features custom 21-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels, 245/35R21 high-performance custom tires, and 4-wheel disc brakes with large brake rotors and custom copper-appearance brake calipers. The combination of the sport-tuned suspension and aggressive wheel and tire package results in an urban utility vehicle that handles like a sports car. A production vehicle based on the Element SC prototype will go on sale this fall.

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