Honda SUVs aren’t made to climb boulders and traverse deep rivers. If you want an off-road rig, you’d be better off with a Jeep. Instead, vehicles like the mid-size Honda Pilot SUV are designed to be versatile transports in any weather. No matter if you need to haul a bunch of camping gear or the entire kids soccer team, the Pilot has you covered.
HISTORY of the Honda Pilot
First Generation (2003-2008)
Although it’s not the best off-roader, the first generation Pilot started traversing both strip mall parking lots and rutty country back roads in 2002. Built on a unibody frame, the Pilot carried up to 8 passengers. Honda offered a 3.5L 6-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed automatic as the only powertrain option. It had standard front-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive available. From the beginning, Honda designed the Pilot to be family road trip friendly. Thanks to the optional DVD entertainment system and a navigation system, you couldn’t get lost and the kids stayed entertained.
Second Generation (2009-2015)
And as great as the first generation was, model year 2009 introduced an even better second generation Pilot. The new model is larger than the outgoing model and offered a more rugged exterior. Trim levels include LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Standard equipment includes an integrated trailer hitch, power side mirrors, keyless entry, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. More standard features include full power accessories, cruise control, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats and a CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary input jack. For safety equipment, every Pilot comes with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags
Powertrain options remain unchanged; a 3.5L engine connected to a 5-speed automatic. Once again, front-wheel drive is standard with all-wheel drive available. The second generation also offered a selectable locking feature with all-wheel drive models for better traction when the going gets tough.
In 2012, the SUV received a host of changes including a revised exterior with restyled headlights, front fascia and grille. Honda also upgraded the interior with improved noise insulation, interior materials and a revised instrument panel. For 2013, Honda’s HandsFreeLink Bluetooth connection, USB connection and rear-view camera became standard equipment, along with a rearview camera. Honda also revised the center stack to include a standard 8-inch screen.
In a market crowded with SUV options, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. But the Pilot managed to do so for over a decade, thanks to dependability and excellent design.