Honda Element in Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

The Honda Element is a compact crossover SUV.

It’s a popular family car due to its large interior space and cargo capacity, this is mainly due to its odd boxy shape.

In this article we’ll cover just how well the Element handles the winter elements…

Here is the short answer about whether the Honda Element is good for snow and winter driving:

The Element is surprisingly good to drive in the snow. It is helped by its weight and shape which keeps the car stable. Traction control and front-wheel drive also assist this vehicle with preventing wheelspin in slippery conditions. The Element is safe and reliable for use in the winter.

Is a Honda Element Good in the Snow?

The Element has no trouble when it comes to navigating snowy conditions.

The Element has an optional four-wheel drive which can certainly be beneficial in the snow, however, even the standard front-wheel-drive version of the car can handle its own.

The front-wheel-drive engine keeps weight over the driven wheels giving it much more traction than a rear-wheel-drive car. The 4WD models will offer additional performance when driving in thick, heavy snow and extreme conditions.

The Element has a solid ground clearance of 6.9 inches, this allows the car to comfortably clear moderate to heavy snow,.

It’s worth noting however that it does have a higher center of gravity, which can increase the risk of rolling over at high speeds, this can of course be mitigated by driving carefully.

The Element offers various safety features such as traction control and an anti-lock brakes system. All of which contribute towards a safer winter driving experience.

Whilst this car is great at handling snow and slippery conditions, it is recommended to opt for the four-wheel-drive combined with snow tires version if you are likely to encounter more extreme conditions.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

The Honda Element is equipped with some additional features that can help reduce risks when driving in bleak conditions.

Despite these assists, it is still crucial to drive carefully and always pay close attention to the road and your general surroundings, there’s no substitute for vigilant driving.

Stability Control

Stability control is a system that has been engineered into the Honda Element.

This is an electronic system that is able to control how stable the car is.

This allows the car to drive smoother and safer along roads.

This system is fantastic for driving in snow as it allows the driver to be more in control of the car in slippery conditions.

This is especially important when traveling at higher speeds, in dense traffic or in conditions of low visibility

Traction Control

Traction control is a clever safety feature which helps to prevent wheelspin and helps the car with better traction.

The system limits the amount of power that is sent from the engine to the driven wheels.

This system improves the safety of driving in the snow. It allows the Element to control its driven wheels much more effectively, giving it better traction under acceleration. This is very important in slippery conditions as it makes the car much more stable and safer to drive.

Related: 9 Best & Worst Honda Element Years (With Facts & Stats)

Anti-lock Brakes System

The Honda element is equipped with an anti-lock brakes system.

The ABS system helps the car to slow down much more efficiently. This system controls the braking power and prevents the wheels from locking under hard braking.

When the wheels lock under braking they stop rotating and therefore do not produce grip anymore. This means that stopping distances are significantly longer.

ABS is essential when driving in the snow.

In slippery conditions stopping distances become much further as the tires struggle for grip.

The system will send the most braking power to the wheels that have the most grip. This means that slowing down in the snow will be much better than without ABS.

Front-wheel Drive

The Honda Element is built with a front-wheel drive system. This means that only the front axle is used to drive the car forward.

With the power being sent to the front wheels and not the rear, the car has more traction due to the weight of the engine pushing the wheels into the surface of the road.

This is a benefit when driving in the snow as the increased weight on the driven wheels will help to reduce wheelspin under acceleration. Coupled with traction control, the Element will have excellent traction in slippery conditions.

Does a Honda Element Have a Snow Mode?

The Honda Element unfortunately is not equipped with a snow mode. However due to the general stability of the car and the excellent traction available, there is little need for a specific snow mode on this vehicle.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on a Honda Element?

Additional snow gear can be installed on the Honda Element. It is recommended to always make use of some of these pieces of equipment in the winter as it improves the handling ad overall safety of the car. The additional safety gear that can be used on the Honda Element is:

  • Snow tires
  • Studded ice tires
  • Snow chains
  • Snow socks

How Much Snow Can a Honda Element Handle?

The Honda Element can handle moderate snow conditions. It has good ground clearance, standing around 6.9 inches off the surface of the road.

Therefore, it is able to comfortably clear at least 6 inches of snow. If the snow is deeper than 6 inches though, the Element may struggle with its bulk size and shape and lack of four-wheel drive (optional extra).

How Does the Honda Element Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Honda has fantastic engine quality, and they have the latest technology implemented into the hearts of their vehicles.

As such, the Element will not have any issues when driving in colder temperatures.

The fuel injection system means that the engine is quick to warm up and there is no need to wait long before the car is ready to drive.

Can a Honda Element Drive on Ice?

Although it is not recommended, the Honda Element can drive on ice.

Its bulky stature makes it difficult to maneuver under extremely slippery conditions.

SUVs, pickups, and sedans are much better to drive on ice than crossovers and vans.

Does the Honda Element Have 4WD?

The Honda Element comes with front wheel drive as standard, however there is an optional extra for four-wheel drive.

Four-wheel drive is much better in snow; however, the front-wheel drive version is still perfectly capable.

What About Older Honda Element Models and Winter Driving?

The Honda Element has had a turbulent past in terms of its production.

As such, older Element models are quite outdated.

Their safety features and technology are not up to standard. That being said, the handling model of the older Element models are still great in the snow.

Please also read our article: how long do Honda Element last

Does the Honda Element Need Snow Tires?

It is highly recommended to use snow tires with the Honda Element in the winter. Snow tires will provide the necessary extra grip and traction for safe driving. These tires will also keep the car stable in slippery conditions.

Can You Mount a Snow Plow on a Honda Element?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to mount a snowplow on the Honda Element. The Element is not designed for heavy lifting and pulling, and therefore the suspension will not be able to handle the strain.

Moreover, the Element does not have enough horsepower to push a weighty snow plow and the snow in front of it. If you need to use a snowplow it is recommended to use a large SUV or pickup.


  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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