By KBB.com Editors
Upon its introduction, the Honda Pilot quickly 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. After undergoing a complete redesign in 2009, the Pilot offers even more interior space, 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.
If you're looking for a true eight-passenger vehicle that offers more on- and off-road capabilities than a minivan, the 2010 Honda Pilot belongs on your list. It can accommodate three child seats in the second row and comfortably fit two adults in the third-row seat.
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.
Having been completely redesigned last year, there are no major changes for the 2010 model.
Driving Impressions Thanks to last year's redesign, the 2010 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 first generation Pilot, the 2010 Honda Pilot's second row offers more room for passengers and also provides LATCH systems for three child seats.
The 2010 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 is 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 2010 Honda Pilot has a rugged, boxy SUV look that gives no hint of its car-like driving dynamics. Body changes from the first 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 bold front fascia stands out, especially the six-sided grille, and the large 17-inch wheels fill out the wheel wells in style.
A base 2010 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.
Most of the additional features for the 2010 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.
The 2010 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.
250 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
253 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 16/22 (4WD)
By Jay (NJ) on Friday, April 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looking reliable"
Cons: "Only 5 speed tranny, remove start? change holder?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"My review is for the technical type person; take it for what its worth. It is rather critical. I am not bashing my fellow Pilot owners if you love your Pilot and feel compelled to defend it at all costs; I am not like that. I do not have buyer remorse, but some things were lacking after I bought. All vehicles are designed and I figured the brilliant Honda engineers would have added the features I list in my cons. I will make my comparison to my old SUV which was a 2005 Suburban 1500 Z71 4x4.(yes I know I am comparing a full size 18 MPG max SUV but this is a reasonable comparison) Forgive me if I only list cons. You and I know the pros which is why we bought a Pilot CONS: 5 speed instead of 6 speed like the rest of the industry, this causes a 1000 rpm drop in the 2-3 or 3-4 shift. Honda, why not upgrade your tranny? I suspect the outdated tranny results in the dismal gas mileage. No remote start at least on the EX-L. Honda how can you skimp on a $50 electronic device. No change holder? Isn't this a no brainer? Top Heavy feel at highway speeds; ...the Pilot lets you know to be careful when making lane changes at 60 MPH. I suspect this may be due to undersized anti-sway bars but I am not sure. This is a comparison to the full size 8 passenger Suburban which is probably not a fair comparison given Suburban's wider stance and longer wheel base. Maintenance seems difficult, even an oil change. It doesn't look like the engineers thought much about the mechanic who has to work on the vehicle. Stupid method to engage 4WD = You have to shift into a low gear and then press the 4WD button? What if I need 4WD at speeds above 25 mph? I really did not pay attention to this aspect of the Pilot until later. I thought all modern 4WD vehicles allow you to drive at speeds up to 50 mph. Not the Honda Pilot. Even if you start out in 4WD, once you shift into drive at highway speeds, the smart engineers at HOnda designed your Pilot to shift out of 4WD. The Driver Information Center lacks the ability to easily change settings like when doors lock. The vehicle feels under-powered at all times. While the economy bar and eco button are nice, I find I am not rewarded for driving as efficient as possible. Yes I am complaining about my average city + combined mileage, which is 19.5 mpg. OK here is one positive in the midst of all this carnage; I drove from Atlantic City to the Poconos, all highway miles. I reset the trip odometer which also resets the mpg and I saw for the first time sustained gas mileage of 24.5 mpg at 65 to 70 miles per hour. Towing? Nobody at local Honda dealers knows anything about towing or electric brakes. The manual says you can tow, you have to dig real hard into the owners manual to find information about plugging in a wiring harness and electric brakes. Dealer, while willing to sell me a new SUV almost cautioned me to not treat the Pilot like it was a SUV. I read the owners manual and I am aware the max rated towing is 5000#. Back to the tranny: I think first gear should be geared lower for towing situations,...but alas Honda did not really envision the Pilot to tow anything more than a Jetski. Back window has 2 giant washers at the top. When you go to wash and squeegee the back glass, the big washers get in the way. I never had that problem before."
14 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Bud (FL) on Monday, April 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth, Quiet, Very Comfortable, Giant Cargo Area"
Cons: "Too many buttons for climate control"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my Pilot as a certified pre owned 2 years ago and it is a fantastic vehicle. It is a wonderful driver and great on long trips. After 45000 miles it has very few rattles and drives like a brand new vehicle. Smooth and quiet with plenty of power and all of the seats in the back fold flat for maximum cargo. The seats needed to fold flat for my job and I literally looked at all SUV's in its class and it has by far the best cargo area. Plus my dog loves it back there. My only complaint is too many buttons for the AC. It is virtually impossible to adjust the controls without looking. Best just to leave in on AUTO and let the climate control do its job. For those who have never owned a Honda, it truly is a different experience. The dealers treat you better than any non luxury brand on the market. It is no wonder that Honda can sell plain looking cars and have such loyalty from its customers."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By RGL (KY) on Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality, Value, and Room / Space"
Cons: "Just a little negative is comfort and design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Just like any Honda...the value, reliability and quality are present and accounted for! I traded-in a leased 2011 Toyota Rav4 Limited to a 2013 Honda LX to get more rear seat room for my growing son. While I was initially concerned over losing several features to keep my payment similar, it hasn't been much of a struggle because Honda does a good job...even on the base LX. There are certainly a few things I miss like Auto On lights and heated leather seats but that's not why I ever so slightly dinged the interior and comfort (i.e. an 8 out of 10 isn't bad). DESIGN - The molded plastic dash and cloth side door molding aren't quite the greatest...has a dry and brittle texture if that makes sense. Still, pretty good but could be better is all. Also, lots of buttons and knobs in the center console that take a little bit of getting used to. Not that the dash is overwhelming or not user friendly...just that it could be laid out a little bit better possibly. How I don't know. But the car I traded in had a lot more features (top of line vs. base model) and it seemed to flow more naturally I guess is the word I am looking for. Again, it's not complicated and not a huge ding. COMFORT - Honda seats are woven tightly with what seems like limited padding so the seat feels a bit firm and unforgiving. Keep in mind this is a base model so it's mostly to be expected. On the plus side is literally EVERYTHING else. The drive is very good. And the extra room (research showed this is the largest of the mid sized SUVs) is fantastic. And not just for my teenage son in the 2nd row but even for those of us upfront as there is more space left-to-right so it doesn't feel as cramped. I just don't think anyone is going to go wrong buying a Honda. Definitely not the 2013 Pilot!"
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By ME (KY) on Monday, February 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I really enjoy this car, however I have been a little annoyed with the # of recalls since owning it. Time isn't a luxury I can afford and having a one year old it's been difficult to find a time to take it in to have the recalls checked out/fixed."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By rjturn on Thursday, January 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very roomy and can hold 8 people"
Cons: "Miss having smart key with push button start."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought the Touring model and it is very roomy and with SUV loaded with family of 4 and dog got 24 MPG on trip to Dallas from Houston. I seem to get better MPG than some other reviews but have a long ride to work and back and just yesterday was able to get 28 MPG back home from work. The ride is great and road noise seems minimal to me. There is lots of room for almost any item in the SUV and the features all work great. Best SUV I have owned at this point."
9 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Rob (VA) on Saturday, November 24, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality, Fun to drive, Dependable and best deal."
Cons: "MPG, Control buttons, No HID,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Excellent driving vehicle, superb handling and the Pilot is a quality SUV for the money. They are just a bit behind in the technology department with the competition. They need to offer more safety features on the touring model (ie: blind spot indicator, HID headlights and easier controls). And I don't understand why they only put two sensors on the front bumper corners, it should have four with such a large hood. The one that annoys me the most is when going in reverse, only one of the mirrors tilt down. I am pretty picky, but could not afford the vehicles that meet all my desires, but overall the Honda Pilot is a Best Pick. My mpg is not so good, I get 18-19 mpg and I drive like a grandpa. I can't even get 20 mpg with cruise control. But, my biggest reason for getting a heavy SUV is the safety aspect for my family if involved in an accident."
26 people out of 26 found this review helpful