From Honda press: The 2003 Honda Element accommodates a new generation of vehicle buyer who seeks room for bulky items like big sports gear but doesn't want a pickup truck or a large, expensive SUV. Wrapped in a compact and durable exterior, Element devours cargo like a champ while offering Honda's legendary levels of refinement, value, economy and performance. Element's packaging makes it road trip capable, campground friendly and adaptable to people on the move - whether it's from apartment to ocean, mountain to dorm, or somewhere in-between.
Models are available in 2WD and 4WD versions with either automatic or manual transmissions, and in either bone stock or fully loaded configurations. The Element is anticipated to meet the highest collision safety standards achievable (five stars) for front and side impacts. It uses the latest engine technology to achieve low emissions and good fuel economy. Unlike anything else on the market, the 2003 Honda Element defines its own spot in the entry-level corner of the light truck segment
The dual-overhead cam i-VTEC engine delivers 160-horsepower and 161-lb.-ft. of torque. The i-VTEC system (the "i" stands for "intelligent") combines Honda's patented VTEC system (Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control) with Honda's cam position-adjusting VTC system (Variable Timing Control) to enhance low rpm torque while extending high rpm horsepower. This potent system gives the engine a broad torque curve that starts early at low RPMs, similar to a larger displacement engine with more cylinders, while still delivering high revving horsepower.
Most modern engine designs produce either high horsepower and low torque or low horsepower and high torque, or a bland variation of the two. Honda's i-VTEC-equipped engines solve this dilemma, delivering both high horsepower and high torque. The combination of conventional VTEC technology with VTC provides the engine with strong low- and mid-range punch as well as a robust high end by adjusting the opening and closing of cylinder head valves while the engine is operating. To accomplish this, the i-VTEC "intelligent" valve timing system adjusts and optimizes camshaft duration (VTEC) and timing (VTC) as the engine transitions from low-speed to high-speed operation. Controlled via a computer and hydraulically activated, i-VTEC constantly evaluates engine load, rpm, throttle position and other factors to adjust the phase and duration of the camshaft. Element's i-VTEC systems operate with a two-rocker configuration on the intake camshaft. The exhaust camshaft is not i-VTEC-controlled.
Another benefit of VTC is the internal exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) effect created by the valve overlap. Internal EGR reduces pumping losses and eliminates the need for a separate EGR valve. The i-VTEC cylinder head is made of pressure cast aluminum alloy. Its four-valve per cylinder design has double overhead camshafts activated by a silent chain drive to ensure extremely precise control of the cam phasing. The VTEC system is comprised of the following primary components: VTEC rocker arm, VTEC spool valve and computer controlled VTEC hydraulic actuator. Similarly, the VTC system is comprised of the following primary components: computer-controlled VTC hydraulic actuator, VTC spool valve and cam sensor. Depending on conditions, VTC can vary the phasing of the intake cam (change its position relative to the crankshaft) by +/- 25 degrees in infinite increments. VTC activation is accomplished hydraulically via a spool valve that sends high-pressure oil to passages in an actuator located in the cam's drive sprocket.