Honda’s Element light duty ‘truck’ goes on sale in the US on December 19 with prices starting at $US16,100 for the entry-level DX front-wheel drive model, American Honda Motor Co. announced yesterday.

The boxy-looking Element combines features of a pickup truck, SUV and van and features include centre opening side cargo doors, a flat floor with dirt and water-resistant urethane coating, and versatile seating that can be folded flat, to the sides, or removed entirely.

Element will be sold in DX and EX trim levels with either front-wheel drive or 4WD. All models will eventually be available with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. All have a 2.4-litre, 160-horsepower four-cylinder engine with i-VTEC “intelligent” variable valve control.

Element DX models include power front windows and door locks, tilt steering wheel, dual-stage front airbags and manual height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

So-called “fully loaded” EX models start at $18,650 and add air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, 16 inch alloy wheels, cruise control, power mirrors, a 270-watt AM/FM/CD unit with 7-speakers, subwoofer and MP3/digital auxiliary jack and driver armrest.

All 4WD models will also have a tilting and removable rear skylight while a five-speed manual transmission for 4WD models will be available in spring 2003.