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Honda Pilot
2006–2008 Honda Pilot EX
Manufacturer Honda
Also called Honda MR-V
Production 2002–present
Predecessor Honda Passport
Class Mid-size SUV
Body style(s) 5-door SUV
Layout Front-engine, four-wheel drive (2003–present)
Front-engine, front-wheel drive (2006–present)
Engine(s) 3.5 L V6 Honda J engine
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic

The Honda Pilot is a mid-size crossover SUV.[1] The Honda Pilot is built in Lincoln, Alabama, and was also produced in Alliston, Ontario, Canada up until April 2007. The first generation Pilot was released in the summer of 2002 as a 2003 model, and in 2006 it received new front and rear fascias, a redesigned interior, and various standard safety features. The second generation Pilot was released in late 2008 for the 2009 model year.

The Pilot was designed to fill a large American demand, particularly a larger SUV with third-row seating. Prior to the introduction of the Pilot, Honda only had the compact crossover SUV CR-V, and the Honda Passport (a rebadged Isuzu Rodeo) which is truck-based and intended as a quick-fix, as the company recognized the competition from other refined mid-sized SUVs and crossovers. The Pilot shares underpinnings and the powertrain with the Acura MDX luxury SUV, and their platforms are shared with the Honda Odyssey minivan and the Honda Accord sedan. The Pilot’s unibody construction and independent suspension is designed to provide handling similar to that of car; however, it is also fortified with integrated perimeter frame rails, which helps it withstand towing and light off-road use. The Pilot is Honda's largest SUV, although the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour surpassed the Pilot in length.[2]

The Pilot is sold in North America, while Japan and Australia, for several years, got its relative, the Honda MDX (first generation Acura MDX) instead. In the Middle East, the Pilot is sold as the Honda MR-V. The second generation Pilot is also available in Russia and Ukraine. The Pilot has been a critical and commercial success for Honda, selling over 100,000 vehicles in 2004, an increase of almost 20% over 2003. [3]

First generation (2003–2008)

First generation
[[File:2003–2005 Honda Pilot EX|frameless|upright=1.25|alt=]]
Model year(s) 2003–2008
Assembly Alliston, Ontario, Canada (2003–2007)
Lincoln, Alabama, USA
Successor Honda Pilot (second generation)
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2700 mm)
Length 188.0 in (4775 mm)
Width 2003–05: 77.3 in (1963 mm)
2003–05 LX: 76.3 in (1938 mm)
2006–08: 77.5 in (1969 mm)
Height 2003–05: 71.7 in (1821 mm)
2003–05: 70.6 in (1793 mm)
2006–08 2WD LX: 70.1 in (1781 mm)
2006–08 4WD LX: 70.4 in (1788 mm)
2006–08 2WD EX/EX-L: 71.3 in (1811 mm)
2006–08 4WD EX/EX-L: 71.7 in (1821 mm)
Fuel capacity 20.4 US gal (77 L/17 imp gal)
Related Honda Accord
Acura MDX
Honda Odyssey
Acura TL
Acura CL
Honda Ridgeline


Like the first-generation MDX, the Pilot is propelled by an aluminum alloy 3.5 L SOHC, 24-valve VTEC V6 engine with timing belt driven camshafts.[4] The engine is rated at 240 hp (179 kW) SAE @5400 rpm and 242 lb·ft (328 N·m) of torque @4500 rpm. It is mated to a five-speed automatic, which, as tested in a 2004 Pilot, results in a 0-60 mph time of 7.6 seconds and 1/4 mile sprint of 15.9 seconds. For the 2006 model, the power was 244 hp (182 kW) SAE @5600 rpm(4WD), 240 lb·ft (325 N·m) of torque @4500 rpm. Models from 2005 include a drive-by-wire throttle. The Pilot weighs in at a little over 4,400 lb (1,996 kg), with a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated gas mileage for 2007 of 16 mpg-US (15 L/100 km/19 mpg-imp) city and 22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km/26 mpg-imp) highway for the two wheel drive model, and 15 mpg-US (16 L/100 km/18 mpg-imp) city and 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km/24 mpg-imp) highway for the four wheel drive model. Also, like the MDX, the Pilot rides on struts up front with a coil-spring, multilink arrangement at the rear designed to allow a flat load floor. It also has the MDX’s wide track — 66.3 in (1684 mm) at the front and 66.5 in (1689 mm) at the rear. The Pilot has a 4,500 lb (2,041 kg) boat/3,500 lb (1,588 kg) trailer towing capability. The FWD Pilot models feature the latest generation of Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which is designed to help improve fuel economy* without sacrificing power. The system achieves this by automatically deactivating and reactivating multiple cylinders, depending on the engine’s needs.


The Pilot is capable of transporting up to eight passengers. The third row seats 3 but legroom is limited, allowing transportation of small children or adults on short trips. Similar to the Honda Odyssey, the rear seats are capable of folding into completely flat surfaces to allow larger cargo inside if necessary. Seats are configured as stadium seating. Optional amenities that can also be included are a powered moonroof, DVD entertainment system, and a navigation system.

The Pilot employs a four-wheel drive system called Variable Torque Management 4WD (VTM-4). The VTM-4 system delivers power to all four wheels under acceleration and when wheel slippage is detected. The VTM-4 system has a dashboard switch that locks both rear half-shafts to get the driver unstuck, but it operates in just first, second, and reverse gears, and unlocks at 18 mph (29 km/h). Otherwise, the system operates primarily in front-wheel drive and sends torque to the rear wheels when spin is detected up front. Two wheel drive models have been available since 2006.

The Pilot's safety mechanisms are the VTM-4 system, ABS-equipped four-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel independent suspension and 282° of outward visibility. The foundation for the Pilot is a highly rigid unibody with reinforcing structures and energy absorbing crush zones. The Pilot's structure is designed to deform progressively in front, side and rear end collisions.

2006 Facelift

Honda revised the Pilot for the 2006 model year. Changes to the exterior included a new fascia with a different grille insert and 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 protecting rear passengers (in addition to those for the front seat passengers), the gauge cluster was updated and the center console featured chrome trim and redesigned storage compartments and cup holders.

Second generation (2009–present)

Second generation
2009 Honda Pilot
Assembly Lincoln, Alabama, USA
Predecessor Honda Pilot (first generation)
Wheelbase 109.2 in (2774 mm)
Length 190.9 in (4849 mm)
Width 78.5 in (1994 mm)
Height 72.7 in (1847 mm)
Related Honda Accord
Acura MDX
Honda Odyssey
Honda Ridgeline

The new, larger Pilot is available in four trims; LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. It is assembled at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln, Alabama. It receives a new 3.5L V6 VTEC engine producing 250 horsepower (190 kW) SAE net at 5700 rpm and 253 pound-feet (343 N·m) of torque at 4800 rpm.[5] EPA fuel economy is 17 mpg-US (14 L/100 km/20 mpg-imp) city/23 mpg-US (10 L/100 km/28 mpg-imp) highway for the front wheel drive transmission and 16 mpg-US (15 L/100 km/19 mpg-imp) city/22 mpg-US (11 L/100 km/26 mpg-imp) highway for the 4 wheel drive transmission. Both transmissions are five-speed automatics. The new wheelbase is 109.2 in (2774 mm), with an outside length of 190.9 in (4849 mm), a width of 78.5 in (1994 mm), a height of 71.0 in (1803 mm). It has a new grill shape. Much of the interior has changed, receiving a tri-zone automatic climate control system, new two-position memory settings for the driver's seat, a new power tailgate, and moved the gear shift from the steering column to the center console between the front captain's chairs. The Touring trim offers a new 115-volt power outlet and a Satellite-Linked Honda Navigation System.

Many critics praised the larger and roomier design, although the redesigned "truck-like" exterior garnered some controversy. USA Today described the styling is "[n]ot swoopy and sexy like the CX-9, nor graceful like the GM's GMC/Saturn models, but easier on the eyes than the Toyota and Veracruz", but criticized the high hood line saying that the Pilot "makes it hard to see where the path goes when cresting an off-pavement hill."[6] Autoblog concluded that "the new unit is generally a much better vehicle than the 2008 model" and "the driving experience is vastly improved".[3][7]

Off-road capability

The Honda Pilot has a capable off-road system which comprises three individual systems: the Variable Torque Management four-wheel drive system with locking differential, Hill Start Assist Control system and Grade Logic Control system.

The 4WD utilizes a unique Variable Torque Management four-wheel-drive system which automatically engages when the system senses loss of traction. The system has a manually locking rear differential which can also be engaged by the driver (when vehicle is in first, second, or reverse gears) and will stay engaged up to 18 MPH, or is shifted from aforementioned gears, then unlocks and reverts back to the automatic engaging.

The Pilot also has a Hill Start Assist system which maintains brake pressure when the brake pedal is released, giving the driver time to engage the accelerator. The Pilot also uses a Grade Logic System which holds the engine in a lower gear when on steep inclines for better hill-climbing torque and increased engine braking when going down steep inclines.

The Pilot also has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which constantly monitors tire pressure and alerts the driver if there is any significant pressure loss in any tire and indicates which tire or tires has lower pressure.

The second-generation Pilot's four-wheel drive system enables it to wade through 19 inches of water.[3]


  • Car and Driver magazine's Best Large SUV for 2003 through 2008
  • Intellichoice "Best Value of the Year"
  • "Most Wanted SUV"
  • AMI Auto World "World Family Vehicle of the Year"
  • Kelley Blue Book "Top 50 Most Popular Cars"


Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Honda Pilot. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

  1. "2009 Honda Pilot vs. Ford Flex and Four Other Crossovers - Comparison Tests". Retrieved on 2010-10-03.
  2. Gorzelany, Jim. "2010 Car Comparison: Chevrolet Traverse v Honda Pilot v Toyota Highlander". iGuida. Retrieved on 2010-08-29.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "2009 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD Comparison Tests". Car and Driver. Retrieved on 2010-04-13.
  4. "Honda Pilot 2003–2008 (faclifted 2007) review". Retrieved on March 28, 2009.
  5. "2009 Honda Pilot - Specifications - Official Honda Site". Retrieved on 2010-10-03.
  6. "2009 Honda Pilot crossover is chunkier, pretty wonderful". Usatoday.Com (2008-05-12). Retrieved on 2010-04-13.
  7. Abuelsamid, Sam (2008-04-15). "First Drive: 2009 Honda Pilot — Autoblog". Retrieved on 2010-04-13.

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