Be Smart, Check in Advance. CARFAX — Your Vehicle History.
CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert
Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.
CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.
Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.
Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles
Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.
Second Hand — Not Second Best
Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.
But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't 100% safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.
CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories
CARFAX was founded in the US in 1984 and expanded into Europe in 2007. Around 100 team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.
Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.
We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.
Honda mid-size SUV
This article is about the Honda SUV model. For the Honda ATV model, see Honda Pilot (ATV).
Not to be confused with Ford Pilot or MG Pilot.
The Honda Pilot is a mid-size crossover SUV manufactured by Honda and introduced in 2002.
Primarily aimed at the North American market, the Pilot is the largest SUV from Honda and features three-row seating. Pilots are currently manufactured in Lincoln, Alabama, and the Pilot was produced in Alliston, Ontario until April 2007. The first generation Pilot was released in April 2002 as a 2003 model.
The Pilot shares its platform with the Acura MDX, as well as the North American market Odysseyminivan. The Pilot's unibody construction and independent suspension are designed to provide handling similar to that of a car, and it has integrated perimeter frame rails to allow towing and light off-road use.
Prior to the introduction of the Pilot, Honda marketed the compact crossover CR-V and the Honda Passport (a rebadgedIsuzu Rodeo). The Honda Passport that was sold between 1993 and 2002 was a truck-based design. The Pilot is Honda's largest SUV, although the 2010 Crosstour surpassed the Pilot in length.
The Pilot is sold in North America and the Middle East, while the Honda MDX (first generation Acura MDX) was marketed in Japan and Australia for several years. The second-generation Pilot is also sold in Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, Latin America, and the Philippines.
First generation (YF1/2; 2003)
|First generation (YF1/2)|
2003-2005 Honda Pilot
|Also called||Honda MR-V (Middle East)|
|Designer||Ricky Hsu (1999)|
|Engine||3.5 L J35A4V6|
|Wheelbase||106.3 in (2,700 mm)|
|Length||188.0 in (4,775 mm)|
The 2003-2004 Pilots featured the J35A4 engine, an all-aluminum 3.5L V6 SOHC with VTEC, producing 240 hp (179 kW) and 242 lb⋅ft (328 N⋅m) of torque.
The 2005 Pilot received a new engine, the J35A6, which added drive-by-wire throttle and produced 255 hp (190 kW) and 250 lb⋅ft (339 N⋅m) of torque. Other changes included the transmission with revised 4th and 5th gear ratios providing a smoother transition between gears, along with a new fuel tank design, increasing the Pilot's driving range by over 40 mi (64 km). All Pilots from 2003-2005 feature VTM-4, Honda's four-wheel drive system.
The Pilot received more updates starting with the 2006 model year, engines were either the J35Z1 (FWD) or the J35A9 (4WD). Both engines were rated at 244 hp (182 kW) and 240 lb⋅ft (325 N⋅m) of torque; the power reduction is because Honda used the updated SAE net power standard. This was the first time 4WD was not standard on the Pilot.
The new FWD models featured Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which can deactivate up to three cylinders under light load to increase fuel economy, to help control noise from the system Honda added Active Control Engine Mount System (ACM) and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). Further, this version of the J35 featured updated iVTEC and the automatic transmission a shorter 1st gear ratio. With powertrain updates and the lack of VTM-4 the FWD version had improved fuel economy of 18-city/24-highway, an increase of +1/+2 mpg versus the 4WD.
All Pilots from this generation feature a 5-speed automatic transmission. The Pilot has front struts with a coil-spring, multilink rear suspension for a flat rear load floor. The front track is 66.3 in (1,684 mm) and 66.5 in (1,689 mm) at the rear. The Pilot has a 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) boat/3,500 lb (1,588 kg) trailer towing capability with the optional dealer-installed towing package.
Pilots with Honda's Variable Torque Management 4WD system (VTM-4) sent most power to the front wheels under normal driving conditions. Under acceleration or if wheel slippage is detected at the front wheels, up to 50% of power can be sent to the rear wheels. The system also features a VTM-4 lock button on the dashboard which locks the rear differential and sends 25% of the power to each rear wheel. However, the VTM-4 lock function only operates in first gear, second gear and reverse, and automatically disengages above 18 mph (29 km/h), then re-engages when the speed drops below 18 mph (29 km/h).
Design of the Pilot was by Honda's Ricky Hsu through 1999, when styling was approved. The Pilot can accommodate up to eight passengers in three rows configured as stadium seating. The third row can seat three, but the limited legroom makes it suitable only for small children or adults on short trips. Similar to the Honda Odyssey, the rear seats can be folded into flat surfaces for larger cargo. Options include powered moonroof, DVD entertainment system, and a navigation system.
Other features include ABS-equipped four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel independent suspension, and 282° of outward visibility.
For the 2004 model year, Honda increased adjustability on second-row seats and added heated front seats and side mirrors to models equipped with leather seats. 
For the 2005 model year, Honda added tire pressure monitoring, electronic stability control, revised steering, and upgraded the air bags.
Honda revised the Pilot for the 2006 model year in October 2005. Changes to the exterior included a new fascia with a different grille insert and halogen projector headlights, and taillights with clear lenses. The EX trim level received redesigned wheels, and the original EX wheels were now found on the LX trim. On the inside, side airbags were provided in the C pillar, the gauge cluster was updated and the center console featured chrome trim and redesigned storage compartments and cup holders. For the 2006 model year, Honda added Variable Cylinder Management to the two-wheel-drive models. This VCM tech proved to be problematic in some cases, which led to a class action lawsuit for Honda Motor Co. 
For the 2007 model year, Honda added Nimbus Gray Metallic, Dark Cherry Pearl, Aberdeen Green Metallic and Formal Black as four new colors to all models.
For the last model year of the generation Honda added two new trims. The VP (Value Package) replaces the LX as base trim and SE (special edition) goes in between the EX and EX-L trim.
Second generation (YF3/4; 2009)
The larger second generation Pilot was unveiled as a prototype in January 2008 at the North American International Auto Show. Assembled at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln, Alabama, it was offered in five trims; LX, EX, EX-L, Touring and SE (2015 only). All second generation Pilots used a new J35Z4 3.5-liter V6 i-VTEC engine producing 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS) SAE net at 5700 rpm and 253 lb⋅ft (343 N⋅m) of torque at 4800 rpm. EPA fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city /23 mpg highway with front-wheel-drive and 16 mpg city / 22 mpg highway for all-wheel-drive.
Both drivetrains were equipped with five-speed automatics. The second generation's wheelbase is 109.2 in, with a length of 190.9 in, a width of 78.5 in, a height of 71.0 in and interior space of 153.7 cu-ft. The redesigned headlights lost the previous generation's halogen projectors and return to standard halogen reflectors. Features included new two-position memory settings for the driver's seat, a new power tailgate, and the gear shift was relocated from the steering column to the center console between the front seats. The Touring trim included a 120-volt power outlet and a satellite-linked Honda navigation system.
The 2011 model year had minimal changes. The voice-activated navigation system which was previously exclusive to the Touring trim became available on the EX-L trim and rear entertainment system became standard equipment on the Touring trim.
The 2012 model year introduced a redesigned front fascia, new alloy wheels, and updates to the interior along with changes to the bumper.
The 2013 model year included a standard rearview backup camera, i-MID central dashboard 8-inch LCD screen, USB connector, Bluetooth hands-free calling and wireless audio streaming, and tri-zone climate control.
The SE (special edition) trim was added which came standard with a power moonroof, satellite radio, and rear seat entertainment system. 
The Pilot uses Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering front bracket. For the 2013 model year a rear-view backup camera was made standard. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found the Honda Pilot's driver death rate of 2 deaths per million registered among the ten lowest released in their report
|Moderate overlap frontal offset||Good|
|Small overlap frontal offset||Poor*|
|Roof strength||Marginal (2009-11 models)|
|Roof strength||Good (2012 models)|
*vehicle structure also rated "Poor"
- †Because of more stringent tests, 2011 and newer model ratings are not comparable to pre–2011 ratings.
Third generation (YF5/6; 2016)
|Third generation (YF5/6)|
|Assembly||United States: Lincoln, Alabama (HMA)|
|Designer||Benjamin R. Davidson and William R. Yex|
|Engine||3.5 L J35Y6V6|
|Wheelbase||111.0 in (2,819 mm)|
|Length||194.5 in (4,940 mm)|
|Width||78.6 in (1,996 mm)|
|Height||69.8 in (1,773 mm)|
The third-generation 2016 Pilot debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2015, and production began in May. It was made available for sale in June.
The exterior is sleeker in appearance compared to its boxier predecessor with a 10 percent reduction in drag area. Added to the exterior are standard LED brake and tail lights, LED daytime running lights (DRLs) on EX trims and above, and LED headlamps with automatic high-low beam switching the on new Elite model. The Elite trim level also gained features that were new to the Pilot, including ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a panoramic roof. Alloy wheels became standard.
Newly available safety features include Honda's LaneWatch passenger-side mirror camera or Blind Spot Information (BSI) and rear Cross Traffic Monitor. Additional options, including Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) with Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) are available as part of the Honda Sensing suite. A tri-angle backup camera is standard with dynamic guidelines optional.
The revised 3.5-liter V6 engine has direct-injection and a start-stop system (on the Touring and Elite trims) with improved power at 280 hp (209 kW; 284 PS), a 6-speed automatic is standard on the LX, EX, and EX-L trims while a ZF 9-speed automatic is standard on the Touring and Elite trims. With all-wheel drive models the amount of engine torque sent to each rear wheel is variable. EPA-estimated fuel economy is improved with front-wheel drive (FWD) 6-speed models registering 19/27/22 mpg, and all-wheel drive (AWD) models registering 18/26/21 mpg (city/highway/combined). 9-speed models see fuel economy of 20/27/23 mpg in FWD configuration and 19/26/22 mpg in AWD.
Overall dimensions are larger, while weight is down approximately 300 pounds with noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) reduced. Structurally 21.3% of the Pilot's body is composed of 980, 1300 and 1,500 MPa ultra-high-strength steels, 5% is from aluminum or magnesium, an additional 34.5% is 270 MPa mild strength steel used in areas to minimize repair costs.
For the 2017 model year, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were added to all trims except for the base LX trim.
2019 Honda Pilot EX-L (facelift)
For the 2019 model year, Honda has refreshed the Pilot inside and out. The powertrain for the Pilot has remained unchanged, but Honda did revise the nine-speed transmission and start-stop system that are only found on the Touring and Elite trims. The exterior now featured new bumpers, grille, wheels, standard LED headlights, and revised taillights. A hands-free tailgate is now available. In the interior, the gauge cluster is replaced with a new one, similar to the one found on the Odyssey. The infotainment system is updated with the latest HondaLink software and it also features the CabinControl app (also found in the Odyssey). 4G LTE hotspot, CabinTalk, and a new rear entertainment system are now available. The volume slider has also been replaced with a volume knob. Honda has replaced the steering wheel with a new design, also from the Odyssey. Honda Sensing is now standard on all trim levels for the Pilot.
For the 2020 model year a new Black Edition trim was added to the lineup.
The 9-speed transmission is now standard on all trim levels, and a Special Edition is slotted between EX-L and Touring trims.
|Moderate overlap frontal offset||Good|
|Small overlap frontal offset||Good1|
|Headlights (LX, EX, EX-L, Touring)||Poor|
- 1vehicle structure also rated "Good".
- 2strength-to-weight ratio: 5.22
|Calendar year||US sales|
- ^"2009 Honda Pilot vs. Ford Flex and Four Other Crossovers - Comparison Tests". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"2004 Car Cutaways"(PDF). Automotive News. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^Giametta, Chuck (2010-03-21). "2010 Car Comparison: Chevrolet Traverse v Honda Pilot v Toyota Highlander". iGuida. Archived from the original on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
- ^"2005 Pilot Updates".
- ^"Patent USD460022 - Vehicle body". google.com. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"All-New Honda Pilot Sport-Utility Vehicle Set to Debut Next Year Pre-Production Model to be Shown at NAIAS". honda.com (Press release). 2001-12-13. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"2004 Honda Pilot New Car Test Drive". Autoblog. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
- ^"2009 Honda Pilot - Specifications - Official Honda Site". Automobiles.honda.com. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
- ^"2011 Honda Pilot Information". Autoblog. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
- ^"2012 Honda Pilot - Overview". JB car pages. Retrieved 2021-02-14.
- ^"2015 Honda Pilot Reviews - Research Pilot Prices & Specs". MotorTrend. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
- ^"Death rates fall as vehicles improve". iihs.org. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"Driver death rates". iihs.org. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"Honda Pilot Crash Test Ratings". IIHS. Archived from the original on 2013-01-15. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
- ^"Honda Pilot 2003 - 2016". Honda Merchandise. Retrieved 2016-01-07.[permanent dead link]
- ^"2011 Honda Pilot SUV FWD". NHTSA. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"2011 Honda Pilot SUV AWD". NHTSA. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^, "Vehicle and/or vehicle replica", issued 2014-11-19
- ^Gorzelany, Jim. "Will Honda's Ridgeline Spur More 'Crossover' Pickups, Or Become Another Asterisk In Auto History?". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- ^"2016 Honda Pilot - Safety and Driver Assistance - Honda.com". news.honda.com. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
- ^"Honda Pilot Fuel Economy". FuelEconomy.gov. Archived from the original on July 8, 2015.
- ^"2016 Honda Pilot only 34.5% mild steel, has very specific repair dos and don'ts". Repairer Driven News. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"Shop Current & Upcoming Vehicles | Honda". Honda Automobiles. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
- ^"Autotrader - page unavailable". www.autotrader.com. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
- ^2019 Honda Pilot leans on family-friendly tech from Odyssey - Roadshow
- ^"Honda Pilot Prices, Reviews, and Pictures | Edmunds". Edmunds.com. July 2, 2020.
- ^"Honda Pilot Crash Test ratings". IIHS. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"2018 Honda Pilot". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- ^"2016 Honda Pilot SUV FWD". NHTSA. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^"2016 Honda Pilot SUV AWD". NHTSA. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
- ^Honda Digital Factbook
Clean Retail Price
The MT clean retail price reflects a reasonable asking price by a dealership for a fully reconditioned vehicle (clean title history, no defects, minimal wear) with average mileage.
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- Spacious interior
- Handles surprisingly well
- Strong acceleration
- Touch-sensitive infotainment controls are finicky to use
- Nine-speed automatic only available on the Touring and Elite models
- Full suite of active safety features is only available on the Elite trim
Honda Pilot Expert Review
The redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot is new and features an extensive host of improvements including a new V-6 engine, two automatic transmissions, new exterior design, a roomier interior, updated multimedia technologies, and new active safety and driver assistance features.
Slotting above the two-row CR-V, the 2016 Honda Pilot is a three row crossover with seating for up to eight passengers and is available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.
Powering all 2016 Pilots is a new 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. LX, EX, and EX-L models are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission while the Touring and Elite are mated to a nine-speed unit. Fuel economy has improved over the previous generation, with front-drive Touring models achieving the best gas mileage at 20/27 mpg city/highway. Front-drive LX, EX and EX-L trims are rated at 19/27 mpg while opting for all-wheel drive drops those numbers down to 18/26 mpg. All-wheel-drive Touring and Elite variants are rated at 19/26 mpg.
The 2016 Pilot offers seating for up to eight passengers depending on the trim level. LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring models offer seating for up to eight while the range-topping Elite replaces the second-row bench with two captain's chairs. Cargo space is generous, with 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row, 46.8 cubic feet behind the second row and 83.9 cubic feet when both second and third rows are folded. Elite models have slightly less cargo space at 16 cubic feet, 46 cubic feet and 82.1 cubic feet respectively.
In addition to the standard two-stage front airbags, front-side airbags and three-row side curtain airbags, the 2016 Pilot is also available with a host of active safety and driver aids from the EX trim and higher. This includes Honda's LaneWatch system, lane keeping assist, automatic forward emergency braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Exclusive to the Elite trim are automatic high-beam headlights, blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Standard equipment on the base LX trim include a rearview camera, split-folding second and third rows, Bluetooth connectivity, a seven-speaker 200-watt sound system, a five-inch LCD screen, keyless entry and start, a USB port in the center console, and a 4.2-inch LCD screen in the multi-information display. Stepping up to the EX trim level adds LED daytime running lights, Honda's LaneWatch system, power moonroof, fog lights, tri-zone climate control, HondaLink Next Generation smartphone apps functionality, an eight-inch touchscreen, and Pandora capability. The EX-L trim adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and one-touch second row seats. Navigation and a rear seat entertainment system are available as extra cost options but can't be had together in the EX-L trim. The Touring trim adds roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, blue ambient LED lighting, navigation, illuminate front row beverage holders, additional USB ports in the second row, and a 540-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers. Range topping Elite models adds HD radio, corner and backup sensor indicator, automatic high beam, perforated front seats with heating and ventilation, perforated and heated second-row captain's chairs, panoramic sunroof, and LED headlights.
The 2016 Honda Pilot represents a big step forward thanks to its improved driving dynamics, interior fit and finish, and packaging. In a First Drive review, we said that the Pilot's utility is much improved due to its clever interior packaging, maximizing the available space so that even with the third row in place there's plenty of room for gear. Like the previous generation Pilot, the new model retains is generous passenger space and is able to accommodate seven or eight passengers depending on the trim level. Build quality is also much improved, with plenty of high-grade material used throughout the entire cabin while storage cubbies are plentiful and functional, with the center console able to swallow nearly anything. The touch-sensitive infotainment controls, however, are a little finicky, making it slightly difficult to do simple tasks such as changing the volume.
On the road, the 2016 Pilot drives well thanks to its 300-pound weight loss and a platform shared with the Acura MDX. Body control and handling are impressive for a large three-row crossover, with sharp turn-ins, smooth weight transfers, great steering feel and sedan-like grip. Power from the new direct-injected V-6 is more than adequate and enables the crossover to pass and accelerate with ease. Both automatic transmissions available on the Pilot are well-tuned and shifts with ease; however, the nine-speed is much more aggressive when accelerating and is much more seamless than the six-speed.
A Blu-ray player is standard on the Touring and Elite trims.
- Toyota Highlander
- Nissan Pathfinder
- Ford Explorer
- Kia Sorento
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Dodge Durango
From the March 2017 issue of Car and Driver.
When practicality is paramount, all other considerations sit even further back than usual, particularly style. Take three-row crossovers, a genre with space for all manner of considerations. Once you package three rows of seats, plump out the silhouette to maximize interior volume, and pull the beltline low for the sake of visibility, you’re left with a fairly bland template onto which to project your brand’s aesthetics. Not that buyers in the big-crossover class seem discouraged by their vehicles’ sameness—sales success in mainstream segments often requires automakers to color inside the lines. That said, the crossover’s role as a minivan surrogate means that plenty of its passengers will color all over the interior.
When Honda redesigned the Pilot for 2016, it lengthened and lowered the triple-row SUV, shucking the previous generation’s blocky exterior for a softer form that bears more than a passing resemblance to that other paragon of blandness, a minivan. And specifically, Honda’s own activity book, the Odyssey. But both have long been among our favored means of moving large numbers of people and great volumes of junk, and so we lined up a Pilot for a long-haul test. We opted for the ultimate Pilot, the Elite. It came loaded with all-wheel drive, leather, navigation, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row captain’s chairs, two sunroofs, a Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system with HDMI and RCA inputs, and Honda’s full complement of driver-assist features: forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high-beams. To this hefty load of equipment we added a trailer hitch ($360), roof-rail crossbars ($225), and a rear-bumper appliqué ($70), bringing the total MSRP to $47,955.
With an abundance of space, comfort, and luxury, the Pilot completed its 40,000-mile assignment in just 11 months. It passed through some 20 states and four Canadian provinces in our hands, once piling up more than 7000 miles in a single month.
Those highway miles helped keep our fuel consumption at an average of 22 mpg, outstanding for a 4351-pound bus. Honda redesigned the Pilot’s 3.5-liter V-6, now turning out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, for this generation. Cheaper Pilots back that with a six-speed auto, while the uplevel Touring and Elite trims get a nine-speed.
When new, our Pilot turned in straight-line performance that would beat a Dodge Challenger V-6, with a 6.0-second zero-to-60-mph sprint and 14.6 seconds in the quarter-mile at 95 mph. After 40,000 miles, it slipped a couple of tenths in the quarter, handing the lead back to the muscle coupe. Its braking performance—172 feet to stop from 70 mph new, 178 at the end of the test—places it among the best family haulers, and its 0.81-g skidpad performance improved to 0.84 g on worn tires, giving it an edge over many competitors in shopping-cart-avoidance maneuvers.
Its interior is certainly an attractive place to pass the miles. It’s inventive, appealing, and loaded with storage bins, cubbies, depressions, and the like. It literally has storage on top of storage. There’s the usual map pocket along the bottom of the front doors, with a second tier of receptacles above that, and then the door pull on top, which doubles as a shallow storage cubby. And the console between the front seats could swallow a full-grown Lhasa apso with room for a chew toy or two. Visibility all around is excellent. Riding in back and then switching to the driver’s seat made us jealous of the enormous sunroof enjoyed by back-seat passengers, though the entertainment screen that flips down from the ceiling is so small that it might be contributing to the myopia outbreak in today’s children.
The second-row captain’s chairs fold and slide forward at the touch of a button, offering wide passage to the distant rear seats. Unlike some systems that power the seat forward slowly, the Pilot’s have an electronic actuator, and they slide forward with a satisfying, spring-loaded mechanical quickness. One staffer called them “a game changer.” In back, we found so much space that even our lankiest lunks had sufficient headroom. The trade-off is that if all seven seats are occupied, there’s barely space for each passenger to pack a lunchbox between the third-row seatbacks and the power rear hatch. Now that the Pilot looks even more like the Odyssey, the storage sting feels especially sharp. The Odyssey allots an extra 20 cubic feet each to people and stuff.
Our Pilot did its part to continue Honda’s reputation for trouble-free ownership. It required zero unscheduled service visits, and the total for four visits at 10,000-mile intervals squeezed in at less than $600. However, we also did our part to continue our reputation by twice backing the big Honda into things. The first time, a pipe in a parking garage skewered the left-rear quarter panel. The subsequent metalwork and some new plastic trim pulled $986 out of our indiscretionary spending account. Not even three months later, a post ambushed the same corner, but this time the damage was less. A new plastic trim piece cost only $23.
As satisfying as the Pilot is when stationary, the logbook was filled with numerous, er, off-color comments. Honda found a startling array of fussy ways to make the Pilot call negative attention to itself. The annoyances begin before you even start driving, with a nonsensical push-button shifter in which park and neutral are the same size buttons in different planes, drive is a different size and shape (and nested at an angle in a chrome trim ring), and reverse is a pull switch. That these buttons and switches take up precisely as much space on the console as a regular shifter won them no friends.
And yet, while the Pilot is naturally predisposed to road trips, every staffer who’s driven Honda’s Ridgeline—with which the Pilot shares its underpinnings—has climbed out of the pickup and wondered aloud why Honda doesn’t offer its firmer suspension in the Pilot. The looser Pilot occasionally feels as if it’s manufacturing its own crosswinds. There’s plenty of fore and aft bobbing, too, thanks to the adaptive cruise control’s abrupt braking. The system also hunts endlessly through the gears and often accelerates well beyond its set speed, meaning that few drivers left the active function engaged.
Around town, the throttle and transmission calibrations are so jumpy that several of us took to driving the Pilot in economy mode for the more tolerable, relaxed programming. Similarly, the engine stop-start system’s logic lags its peers, on several occasions shutting the engine off in the middle of parallel-parking maneuvers. These are commodity systems now—they should be simple and intuitive. That good examples are found in economy cars but not in a nearly $50,000 Honda is supremely disappointing.
Nearly every mainstream car brand in the U.S. today sells a three-row crossover, giving the Pilot about a dozen direct competitors. If you stretch a few grand beyond the extremes of the Pilot’s pricing spectrum, it has about that many indirect competitors, too. Few are as attractively finished as the Pilot, and fewer still are likely to offer such an affordable ownership experience. But most share its core competencies, and few are as annoying in full trim. The Pilot is a good crossover; the Pilot Elite is a good crossover overwhelmed by the very thing an activity book is supposed to alleviate: fussiness.
Rants and Raves
Is the cruise-control system messed up, or does it just suck? —Rusty Blackwell
How did this throttle calibration ever leave the proving ground? Low-speed and standing-start responses are as bad as I’ve driven. —Josh Jacquot
The one-touch sliding second-row seats are a game changer for parents of small children. —Dave VanderWerp
The primary controls were clearly secondary concerns. The brake pedal is too soft, and the throttle is too touchy at tip-in. —Eric Tingwall
Almost like a pickup in that the ride quality improves when it’s loaded down. —Joseph Capparella
If only there were knobs and physical buttons for the infotainment system. —Jennifer Harrington
There are way too many annoyances here for me to recommend this vehicle to anyone. —John Phillips
WHAT WE LIKE: Seats this comfortable encourage long-distance drives, especially when they’re heated and ventilated, and the Pilot’s 280-hp V-6 makes merging into any traffic just a squirt of gas away. After nearly a year, the styling is starting to grow on some of us. Well, as long as we hold a hand over one eye so we don’t have to look at the minivan-esque nose. But we’ve been noticing some previous-generation versions around. Remember how bizarre they looked?
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The variety of ways Honda has found to make the fundamentally inoffensive notion of a three-row crossover illogical and weird. The stop/start system continues to win detractors, its unpredictable behavior meaning that it spends most of its time disabled. Ditto the adaptive cruise-control system, which we tend to turn off so that we have regular old cruise control—which still allows a startling discrepancy between set speed and actual speed. And the throttle mapping, which is so abrupt that we’ve been toggling the system to Econ mode to soften powertrain response. It always sounded exciting to crawl into a race car and have to flip a bunch of switches—for the fuel pump, fan, water pump, et cetera—before pressing the start button. When that sequence is reversed and, after starting, you have to hunt around for buttons to disable a bunch of unsatisfactory systems, it’s a lot less cool.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Hey, nobody ran the Pilot into anything in the past few months! We did carefully drive it to the dealer for a routine 30,000-mile service (oil change, tire rotation, filters for the engine and cabin), which cost $154. More notably, the Pilot was recruited to rescue creative director Darin Johnson when the Land Rover he bought for our off-road beater challenge started making ominous noises 200 miles from home. However, when he arrived at the U-Haul lot to rent a trailer, he realized that although the Pilot has a trailer hitch, it does not have a wiring harness for a trailer. Which is good, because our Pilot also lacks the transmission cooler that would raise the tow rating anywhere near what one needs to accommodate a Land Rover on a U-Haul car trailer. Ever notice how sturdy those things are? Seriously overbuilt. Our Pilot’s hitch, on the other hand, must be intended for 3500 pounds of bicycle racks.
WHERE WE WENT: We haven’t gone anywhere. If we’re being honest, we’ve felt stagnant for a while, like it’s the same grind with different beans, day in and day out. Oh, you mean the Pilot? It’s now out in Montana, spending its last few thousand miles on wild adventures with John Phillips, exploring the deepest reaches of the Bitterroot Mountains and parking-lot corners nearest the tavern’s front door. By the time the Honda makes its way home to Ann Arbor, its 40,000 miles should just about be at their end.
Months in Fleet: 11 months Current Mileage: 36,367 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 22 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.5 gal Fuel Range: 425 miles
Service: $442 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $986
WHAT WE LIKE: Our observed fuel economy is inching upward through summer road-trip season, hitting an average of 22 mpg. When those trips have included more than four people, we’ve come to appreciate the second-row seats, which allow third-row access by folding their seatbacks and sliding the assembly forward at the push of a button located on either the seatback (for third-row passengers) or the side cushion (for those outside the vehicle). And we’ve found that once the Pilot is loaded, its ride quality improves, settling somewhat from its unladen floatiness.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: Using the third row for people means there’s precious little space available for those people’s things. It’s a complaint common to nearly all three-row crossovers—and probably the Pilot’s greatest drawback compared with its Odyssey minivan sibling. With the third row raised, there’s just 16 cubic feet of luggage space; the Odyssey can carry 38 cubic feet of luggage.
Jumpy throttle and transmission calibrations are exacerbated by a lousy adaptive cruise control that seems incapable of smooth speed adjustments—and occasionally rushes well above the set speed. But at least you can turn that off and just have regular, non-adaptive cruise control. The auto stop/start system, too, has come under fire for incomprehensible logic, sometimes turning off the engine only after sitting for a long period and at least once shutting it down in the midst of a parking maneuver.
WHAT WENT WRONG: Barely a month after we fixed the damage done to our left-rear quarter-panel in a parking garage, someone backed the same corner into a post on a narrow, winding driveway. Again the bumper cover was scuffed, and again the plastic wheel-well trim was rumpled. We haven’t fixed it yet—and may not, as evidence suggests we can’t be trusted with nice things. But if anyone damages that corner again, we might start looking for a way to blame Honda. We’ve had only one more regular service visit, an oil change, air-filter swap, and inspection that cost $154.
WHERE WE WENT: Its road-trip aptitude means the Pilot has been in high demand for the summer Michigan ritual of weekly trips north, hitting destinations in Gaylord and Muskegon, as well as more-southerly spots like Dollywood and Canada. After passing through Windsor, Ontario—which is indeed south of Detroit—technical director Eric Tingwall ended up in Quebec, where he noted that “even the French-speaking locals make more sense than Honda’s infotainment system.” But other staffers are warming to the touchscreen system, with associate online editor Joseph Capparella going so far as to wonder why more automakers don’t outsource their navigation software (Honda’s comes from Garmin).
Months in Fleet: 8 months Current Mileage: 25,962 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 22 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.5 gal Fuel Range: 425 miles
Service: $288 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $986
WHAT WE LIKE: The space inside the Honda Pilot makes it ideal for hauling all manner of people and stuff. The numerous cubbies are proving especially popular. After driving it to Breaks, Virginia, for a 24-hour adventure race—which sounds to the rest of the staff like a great way to spoil an otherwise lovely weekend in Virginia—tech director Eric Tingwall wrote an ode to the Pilot’s center console: “It’s big enough to stash tens of thousands of calories of snack foods, but not so deep that they disappear into a dark hole never to be recovered. And when it’s time to feast, you close that tambour door and use it as a serving tray, never worrying that something will slide off, because the door is slightly recessed below the edges of the console.” Beyond the Pilot’s usefulness as a mobile snack center, the Honda’s 21 mpg in our hands is pretty good for a seven-seater.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE: The push-button shifter is maddening and silly. Given how much space is allotted to those buttons, why isn’t it just a regular shifter? Instead, there are buttons of different sizes and shapes situated in different planes for different functions. Push a button for park, drive, or neutral, but to engage reverse, you tug on a switch. And, since the Pilot so strongly resembles a minivan now, the packaging compromises relative to the Odyssey are that much more frustrating. But maybe, as designers try to pack more space into crossovers built on car and minivan platforms, crossovers will slowly start to morph back into their original shapes, and we’ll see a slow migration of buyers toward the uncompromised practicality of the hatchback and the minivan. Or perhaps not.
WHAT WENT WRONG: In the sort of Washington, D.C., parking garage where you might expect to find a Law & Order villain lurking in the shadows, one of our contributors encountered a far more real menace: a pipe obscured by a support column. The pipe scraped along the left-rear fender, with the damage fortunately confined largely to the plastic trim piece around the wheel well, although it did dig into the quarter-panel and the bumper cover. Had more metal been damaged, the bill undoubtedly would have been higher than the $986 the mishap cost us. Our 10,000-mile service, an oil change and inspection, came to just $46; our second service, at 20,000 miles, added a tire rotation and a change of the rear differential’s fluid and set us back $242.
WHERE WE WENT: It was a busy May and June for the Pilot. Copy chief Carolyn Pavia-Rauchman and her family used it to cross the Kentucky Derby off their bucket list. It was home for just a few days before heading down to Washington, D.C. From there, it proceeded to the northern reaches of Michigan and then went straight into a return trip to Virginia, shuttling people and gear to C/D’s Lightning Lap X (coming in the October issue!). On the return trip, it detoured through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, for reasons we’re not quite sure about. By the time it returned from this trip, it had accumulated more than 7000 miles in just one month. We don’t expect the remaining 20,000 to pass quite as quickly, but the Pilot is reserved for road trips most weekends between now and the end of August.
Months in Fleet: 6 months Current Mileage: 16,672 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 21 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.5 gal Fuel Range: 405 miles
Service: $288 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $986
Honda’s Pilot has been among our favorite ways to move lots of people and gear ever since it first appeared shortly after the dawn of the century. And we’ve also always liked the Odyssey minivan, so when the new Pilot debuted for 2016 looking an awful lot like the Odyssey, we immediately put in our order for a long-termer. (Okay, we probably would have wanted one no matter what it looked like.)
There are Odyssey bones beneath that Odyssey-aping skin, but there’s also a new, 280-hp V-6 paired with the first nine-speed automatic ever to pass through our long-term fleet. The nine-speed is standard on the Touring and the top-of-the-line Elite trim levels.
We chose that latter because it comes with a two-place second row that limits occupancy to seven persons—and then only if the three of them in the rearmost seat typically state their ages by holding up fingers. We have concluded that this is the maximum occupancy threshold for maintaining driver sanity.
At a base price of $31,045, an entry-level front-wheel-drive Pilot LX includes a rearview camera, push-button start, a tilting and telescoping steering column, and a stereo that includes Bluetooth and USB connectivity. By the time you’ve ascended to the penultimate $42,070 Touring, you’ve added remote starting, second-row seats that fold at the touch of a button, three-zone automatic climate control, LED ambient lighting, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, four additional USB ports (for a total of three in the front and two in the second row), leather upholstery, navigation, and a Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system. The last step up to Elite adds all-wheel drive, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, an extra-large sunroof, and the most feature-heavy version of the Honda Sensing package. Highlights of the latter package are forward-collision warning with automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist. The total price came to $47,955 after accessories such as a trailer-hitch receiver and roof-rail crossbars were tacked on.
Elite, but Unlucky
We wanted to divert attention from our Pilot’s dad-mobile profile and toward its top-tier status with a vanity plate, “L337,” (see Urban Dictionary if you’re confused) but our loan agreements with auto manufacturers don’t allow it. Too bad, since that might have avoided the awkwardness that followed when we got a parking ticket in the Pilot, went to pay it, and learned just how many people have received and not paid Ann Arbor parking tickets on Honda press vehicles wearing California manufacturer plates beginning in 3421. (For the record, we’re not the only publication in the neighborhood.)
Aside from that ticket, we’ve incurred no expenses in the Pilot beyond the cost of fuel, which it currently consumes at a rate of one gallon every 21 or so miles. For a luxury-packed seven-seater weighing 4351 pounds, that’s not so bad. On its initial test outing, it hit 60 mph in 6.0 seconds and blitzed the quarter-mile in 14.6 at 95 mph, which will best a V-6 Dodge Challenger. Skidpad grip of 0.81 g is reasonable for the class, and its 172-foot stopping distance from 70 mph places the Honda among the best family haulers.
Subjective aspects that are so far earning praise include seat comfort in the first two rows (nobody old enough to speak complete sentences has yet been convinced to spend sufficient time in the way-back to comment) and a serene highway ride. Negative logbook comments have focused on the infuriating touchscreen infotainment system and a short-sighted adaptive-cruise-control system that brakes abruptly and allows speed to fluctuate more than most systems, including going well beyond the set speed when accelerating. As summer road-trip season gets into full swing here in the next few months, we’ll find plenty more to love and loathe.
Months in Fleet: 4 months Current Mileage: 7740 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 21 mpg Fuel Tank Size: 19.5 gal Fuel Range: 410 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
2016 Honda Pilot
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED: $47,955 (base price: $47,300)
ENGINE TYPE: SOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 212 cu in, 3471 cc
Power: 280 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 111.0 in
Length: 194.5 in
Width: 78.6 in Height: 70.4 in
Passenger volume: 153 cu ft
Cargo volume: 16 cu ft
Curb weight: 4351 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 6.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 16.7 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.2 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.5 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 4.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.6 sec @ 95 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 113 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 172 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.81 g*
PERFORMANCE: 40,000 MILES
Zero to 60 mph: 6.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 16.9 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 21.7 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 6.3 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 3.5 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 4.7 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.8 sec @ 95 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 113 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.84 g*
EPA combined/city/hwy: 22/19/26 mpg
C/D observed: 22 mpg
Unscheduled oil additions: 0 qt
3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper;
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain;
5 years/unlimited miles corrosion protection;
3 years/36,000 miles roadside assistance
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Pilot 2016 honda
Oooh. Girl, what do you feel. Oooh. I bloom from within. Lilies and cornflowers are blooming in me.*SOLD* 2016 Honda Pilot Touring Walkaround, Start up, Tour and Overview
Everyone was very tired and after a shower we quickly fell asleep all together on the same bed. This story happened to me last year. My life is the same as that of. Many people in this world: in the morning - to work, in the evening - from work, at night - sex with a girlfriend wife. But this day was special.
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