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2009 Honda Pilot

Overview
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2009 Honda Pilot Review

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In its first-generation, the Honda Pilot earned a reputation for reliability, comfort and practicality. With seating for eight and ample room for stuff, this crossover echoed what people liked about SUVs without the heft or poor fuel economy as trade-offs. New-for-2009, the second generation Pilot offers even more spacious seating for eight, plenty of convenience-oriented features and respectable gas mileage. However, with the growth of the midsize crossover in the last few years, the Pilot faces more competition than ever, and now must stand out from the likes of the Mazda CX-9, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander and the Ford Explorer.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a true eight-passenger vehicle that offers more on- and off-road capabilities than a minivan, the 2009 Honda Pilot belongs on your list. It can accommodate three child seats in the second row and actually fit adults in the third row.

You May Not Like This Car If...

With the Pilot's limited stand-alone option choices, you will have to opt for a higher trim if you want a premium sound system, USB port, moon roof or heated front seats. Those looking for a base model with a few choice extras that won't break the bank may be more interested in the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander or Ford Explorer.

What's New for 2009

The all-new, second-generation 2009 Honda Pilot is bigger and more powerful than its predecessor. It also gets slightly better gas mileage, thanks to updated Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, which allows its six-cylinder engine to run on four or even three cylinders. Other new available features include Hill Start Assist, tri-zone auto climate control and a rearview mirror camera display.

Driving the Pilot
Driving Impressions

The 2009 Honda Pilot antiquates the previous generation in every way. The suspension is firm, but not bouncy, making the ride stable with minimal body roll considering its SUV stature....

... The steering is precise and well-isolated when going over bumpy roads at almost any speed. In-cabin noise is also greatly reduced from the previous generation and is noticeably quieter than that of the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. Another big difference between the Pilot and it competitors is its responsive engine. Although the Highlander moves along just as quickly when it comes to getting onto a freeway or traversing rocky terrain, the Pilot seems to accelerate more quickly than its American competitors and their respective V8 offerings.

Rearview Mirror Camera Display
Available on the EX-L trim, this 2.5-inch LCD display – conveniently located in the rearview mirror – shows you what's behind the vehicle while in reverse.

Second Row Seating
A little bigger than in the previous generation, the 2009 Honda Pilot's second row offers more room for passengers and also provides LATCH systems for three child seats.

2009 Honda Pilot Details
2009 Honda Pilot photo Interior

The 2009 Honda Pilot's interior is a large step up from the previous generation. Ergonomics and simplicity are the key themes, as the radio and climate controls are easier to reach and the column shifter has been replaced with an instrument-panel mounted one. Passenger legroom was increased in all three rows, adding an inch to the second row and almost two inches to the third. Cargo space is still abundant thanks to multiple storage spaces and an under-floor storage in the trunk area. And, for the occasional wider load, the vehicle is broad enough to accommodate four-foot wide items when the seats are folded flat.

Exterior

The 2009 Honda Pilot has a rugged, boxy SUV look that gives no hint of its car-like driving dynamics. Body changes from the previous generation include a longer wheelbase, the use of Honda's high-strength Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure in the front to absorb energy and mitigate frontal impacts, a standard integrated tow hitch and a lift-up glass hatch on the tailgate. Aesthetically, the new front fascia stands out, especially the six-sided grille, and the larger 17-inch wheels fill out the wheel wells in style.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2009 Honda Pilot comes with sport cloth seats, remote entry system, automatic headlights, power windows, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, front and rear air conditioning, an integrated rear cargo net and under-floor storage, auxiliary input jack and an AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers and a subwoofer. The EX, EX-L and Touring Pilots add an eight-way power driver's seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, daytime running lights and heated side mirrors.

Optional Equipment

Most of the additional features for the 2009 Honda Pilot are tied to trim level and are not available as stand-alone extras. These options include a 512-watt AM/FM/six-disc CD premium audio system with ten speakers, leather seats, power moonroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, navigation system with voice recognition and rearview camera, 115-volt power outlet, a USB port and second-row integrated sun shades. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is available only on the EX-L and Touring trims.

Under the Hood

The 2009 Honda Pilot's engine comes equipped with updated Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, allowing for an uptick in horsepower and torque, as well as improved fuel economy. This VCM technology, similar to the system used in the current Honda Accord, allows the vehicle to seamlessly run on three, four, or six cylinders, depending on driving conditions and requirements. Previously, an earlier version of VCM had only been available on two-wheel-drive models of the Pilot.

3.5-liter V6
250 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
253 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 16/22 (4WD)

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2009 Honda Pilot Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 334 Ratings for the 2009 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Great Car

By on Monday, June 6, 2016

I owned and sold this car
Reason: 50,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, smooth ride and good on gas."

Cons: "Tank like feel on the road due toits square shape"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I really enjoyed driving the 2011 Pilot it handeled the road well, decent gas milage for the size and I traded it only to upgrade the safety features."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle!

By on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Lot's of nice features;great ergonomics inside-out"

Cons: "Gas mileage could be improved"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"We just bought our's, but it's already working wonders for us. We purchased it for a hefty number, so we hope we made a smart purchase. My husband and I have had a long positive history with Hondas and we hope that, that legacy continues. We enjoy the smoothness of the drive. How heavy the vehicle is for better traction. The all wheel drive is something new for us and the eco option that kicks in automatically. That hidden built in LCD screen for the back camera is unique! LOve it. We have a 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

3 family members have them this is my 2nd

By on Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "safe reiable roomy"

Cons: "not so good gas mi. 19-24mpg"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I owned a 03 and put 165k miles on it, no repairs other than normal; tires brakes oil change etc. Always did scheduled maintenance (No need for Extended warranties)only traded in because back at that time third row was too small for my 5 grand-kids. A a few years and disappointments from Scion and two fords Finally was able to go out and purchase a used 2011 (More room in 3rd row now)My daughter also went out and purchased 2011 pilot also (Her husband bought a 2015 also) I can't say enough on how safe and liable our pilots have been"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Decent SUV with some odd omissions

By on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Decent SUV"

Cons: "Basic features are considered "luxuries""

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The 2011 Honda Pilot is a reasonable SUV, but Honda made some strange design decisions on it. For example, on the base model only the driver's door unlocks automatically when you remove the key from the ignition. Having all the doors unlock is considered a "luxury" and requires an upgrade to a higher trim level. Also, yes, it seats eight, but if you're going on a road trip with that many people, there is no room for all their stuff. The amount of space for luggage in that case is comparable to a compact car, so you'd have to rent or buy a trailer. Also, by 2011 portable music players are very much the standard, so why should USB ports to connect players be considered a "luxury" also demanding a trim upgrade? That said, think carefully before investing in this model year Pilot based on the lack of features in the base model. That aside, mechanically it is decent, but somewhat lacking in power. Also, the gas tank is small for an SUV."

6 people out of 17 found this review helpful

love my pilot

By on Saturday, April 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,599

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "lots of room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love my Honda Pilot. I just do not need a vehicle quite as big. I want to sell it so that i can find a smaller vehicle. I have not had to do any work to my Pilot other than routine maintenance. I also just put a new set of tires on it about 3 weeks ago."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great Handling SUV

By on Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,120

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles really well for it's size and shape!"

Cons: "The brake feel is lacking but works."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Our 2014 Pilot is our 4th Honda over many years and I think it is a great vehicle. Now coming from a 2004 Dodge Ram you should expect a certain amount of updated electronics and conveniences which the pilot most certainly has. The pilot handles very well for its size and how boxy it appears, the brakes are soft and tend to feel spongy however they really do the job and the steering is spot on. This car goes where its pointed and stops just as well. I've read some of the reviews and find the interior to set up perfectly for me and there are no rattles, would recommend you test drive any car you plan on buying and if its rattling look at another car or test drive another. The Pilot is a much smoother ride than I had anticipated and was far better than the 2014 Durango that I compared it to, the Durango's interior appeared to be much nicer but I was concerned because my 2004 Ram just didn't hold up well. I agree that most new cars now compare favorably with initial quality however the longer you keep cars the more the build quality actually comes in to play. All of the Hondas I owned held up really well and I can tell the 2014 Pilot will do the same. The Pilot also has cylinder deactivation that is absolutely seamless, if it wasn't for the light coming on you would not be able to tell however it doesn't seem to translate to better gas mileage because I'm only averaging roughly 14 mpg around town and I was expecting much better mileage. If you're looking at a certified pre-owned SUV do yourself a favor and go pick up a Pilot!"

15 people out of 25 found this review helpful

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