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Honda Element Towing Capacity: Can It Tow a Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?

Honda Element is a compact SUV that, unlike many other Honda vehicles, can tow your trailers. In this article, we’ll discuss the official towing capacities of this car and find out what types of trailers it can tow.

There Honda Element is available with two different 2.4L i-VTEC 5MT engines (166HP and 154 HP). Both engines provide a maximum towing capacity of 1.500 pounds with one passenger, 1.200 pounds with two passengers, and 700 pounds with five passengers.

To give you a complete overview of the towing capabilities of this car, we have computed multiple tables in which we explain the towing limits over the years and compare them against the competition. We have also identified the weighing limits of several types of trailers to find if this car can tow them or not. Let’s take a look.

Maximum Towing Capacity By Year

As we have mentioned earlier, the two engines provide similar towing capacity. Remember that the car’s payload immensely affects the towing capabilities, and SUVs are no exception. In the note column, we discuss how the number of passengers decreases the towing capacity.

YearEngineTowing Capacity (lbs)Note
2011All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2010All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2009All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2008All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2007All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2006All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2005All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2004All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.
2003All1,500With 1 Passenger.
  1,200With 2 Passengers and Luggage.
  700With 5 Passengers and Luggage.

Other Relevant Weight Ratings

  • Tongue Load: The weight that the tongue of a fully-loaded trailer puts on the hitch should be approximately 10% of the total trailer weight (150lbs). To achieve a proper tongue load, start by loading 60% of the load toward the front of the trailer and 40% toward the rear, then re-adjust the
    load as needed.
    Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): The maximum allowable weight of the vehicle, all occupants, all accessories, all cargo, and the tongue load is: 4,450 lbs (2,020 kg)
    Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR): The maximum allowable weight of the vehicle axles is: 2,300 lbs (1,045 kg) on the front axle and 2,205 lbs (1,000 kg) on the rear axle

Can It Tow A Trailer, Boat, Or Jet Ski?

Not all trailers have the same weight and size. Therefore, we have done extensive research to identify the weighing limits of different types of trailers. We have then matched these weight limits against the towing capacity of the Honda Element.

All models of the Honda Element SUV can tow small-sized trailers with a maximum weight limit of 1500 pounds. This means that this car can easily tow a loaded kayak trailer, which has a low weight. It can also tow numerous trailer types in their empty form. These include jet skis, motorcycles, fishing boat trailers, and more. The Honda Element will still tow 700-1000 pounds even with the maximum payload weight.

Trailer TypeAverage Empty Weight (lbs.)Average Loaded Weight (lbs.)
Canoe / Kayak Trailer200400
Jet Ski Trailer3001,800
Motorcycle Trailer5002,400
Teardrop Trailer1,7002,400
Small Open Utility Trailer7002,500
A-Frame Camper1,7002,900
Small Enclosed Utility Trailer1,0003,200
Fishing Boat Trailer6003,300
Pop Up Camper2,3003,400
Small Travel Trailer2,8003,600
Tow Dolly6004,000
Large Enclosed Utility Trailer2,7007,100
Small Horse Trailer2,9007,200
Large Travel Trailer6,7008,300
Car Trailer1,9009,000
Large Flatbed Trailer3,00010,400
Large Boat Trailer2,20013,600
Dump Trailer4,50016,900
Toy Hauler7,60017,900
Large Livestock Trailer7,30018,700
5th Wheel Camper12,70018,700
Gooseneck Flatbed Trailer7,20023,200
  • Kayak: All  Honda Element models will be able to tow a kayak trailer. On average, an empty kayak trailer will weigh 200 pounds. A loaded kayak trailer weighs an average of 400 pounds with a maximum of 800 pounds which is well within the range of the Honda Element.
  • Jet Ski Trailer: All  Honda Element models will be able to tow an empty jet ski trailer. On average, an empty jet ski trailer will weigh 300 pounds. A loaded jet ski trailer weighs an average of 1,800 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds which is outside the range of the Honda Element.
  • Motorcycle Trailer: All  Honda Element models will be able to tow an empty motorcycle trailer. On average, an empty motorcycle trailer will weigh 500 pounds. A loaded motorcycle trailer weighs an average of 2,400 pounds with a maximum of 3,500, which is outside the range of the Honda Element.
  • Teardrop Trailer: No Honda Element model will be able to tow a teardrop trailer. On average, an empty teardrop trailer will weigh 1,700 pounds. A loaded teardrop trailer weighs an average of 2,400 pounds which is outside the range of the  Honda Element. Some teardrop trailers will weigh a maximum of 6,000 pounds, which is also outside the Honda Element’s limits.
  • Small Open Utility Trailer: All  Honda Element models will be able to tow an empty small open utility trailer. On average, an empty small open utility trailer will weigh 700 pounds. A loaded small open utility trailer weighs an average of 2,500 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds which is outside the range of the Honda Element.
  • A-Frame Camper: No Honda Element model will be able to tow an a-frame camper. On average, an empty a-frame camper weighs 1,700 pounds. A loaded a-frame camper weighs an average of 2,900 pounds with a maximum of 3,600 pounds which is outside the range of the Honda Element.
  • Small Enclosed Utility Trailer: All Honda Element models will be able to tow an empty small enclosed utility trailer. On average, an empty small enclosed utility trailer weighs 1,000 pounds. A loaded small enclosed utility trailer weighs an average of 3,200 pounds with a maximum of 7,000 pounds which is outside the range of the Honda Element.
  • Fishing Boat Trailer: All Honda Element models will be able to tow an empty fishing boat trailer. On average, an empty fishing boat trailer weighs 600 pounds. A loaded fishing boat trailer weighs an average of 3,300 pounds with a maximum of 6,000 pounds which is outside the range of the  Honda Element.
  • Pop-Up Camper: No Honda Element model will be able to tow a pop-up camper. On average, an empty pop-up camper weighs 2,300 pounds. A loaded pop-up camper weighs an average of 3,400 pounds with a maximum of 4,000 pounds which is outside the range of the Honda Element.
  • Small Travel Trailer: No Honda Element model will be able to tow a small travel trailer. On average, an empty small travel trailer weighs 2,800 pounds. A loaded small travel trailer weighs an average of 3,600 pounds with a maximum of 4,500 pounds which is outside the range of the  Honda Element.
  • Tow Dolly: All Honda Element models will be able to tow an empty tow dolly. On average, an empty tow dolly weighs 600 pounds. A loaded tow dolly will weigh an average of 4,000 pounds with a maximum of 5,000 pounds which is outside the range of the Honda Element.

Can You Install A Hitch On A Honda Element?

From the factory, Honda Elements do not come with a trailer hitch. However, you can install an aftermarket class 3 hitch on your Element. Class 3 hitches have a towing capacity between 3,500 to 8,000 lbs and a tongue weight capacity between 350 and 800 lbs.

As you may notice, this is much higher than what the Element can handle. However, you need a class 3 hitch because this is what fits on your Element. Expect to pay around $200 for a class 3 hitch.

How Well Can It Tow Compared to its Competitors?

Compact SUVs are generally not expected to provide remarkable towing capacities, so their manufacturers design them accordingly. Looking at the competition of the Honda Element, it doesn’t top the chart. The following image defines the relevant competition and highlights their towing capacities.