By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.9
Many SUVs have a tendency to excel in certain areas and struggle in others, but the 2013 Honda Pilot strikes the right balance between value, performance and utility. The Honda Pilot offers the 8-passenger seating capacity of a full-size SUV while retaining the fuel economy of a mid-size model. The 7-passenger rivals, such as the new Nissan Pathfinder, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, each offer a slightly different take on what the ideal mid-size SUV should be. It may not have the Ford Explorer's off-road credentials or the engaging persona of the Mazda CX-9, but the 2013 Honda Pilot succeeds in its ability to provide practical-minded buyers with dependable, comfortable and efficient transportation for their families.
If you need a fuel-efficient vehicle with room for eight passengers, but refuse to get behind the wheel of a minivan, the 2013 Honda Pilot is the right choice. It doesn't take an engineering degree to operate the interior controls and Honda's solid reputation for quality and reliability provides an extra measure of peace of mind.
Honda's decision to group popular options by model grade helps simplify the purchasing process, but this ordering structure makes it difficult to outfit the Pilot with your favorite individual options without shelling out the cash for a high-line trim level.
Three-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and an 8-inch multi-information display with a rear backup camera have been added to the Honda Pilot's list of standard equipment for the 2013 model year.
Driving Impressions Despite its size, the 2013 Honda Pilot rides and drives very much like a large sedan. The Pilot's taut suspension limits body roll, squat and dive, yet is...not so firm as to punish its passengers with every passing pothole or road distortion. On the highway the Pilot SUV tracks straight, and even strong wind gusts have little effect on its intended course. While the standard V6 delivers better fuel economy than the majority of its rivals, it is also the least powerful 6-cylinder of the group. Still, 250-horsepower is sufficient thrust for most daily driving situations. Although we didn't have a chance to test the Pilot's AWD system in the snow, we did venture up some dirt fire roads and found the VTM-4 AWD setup to be fairly capable of keeping the Pilot moving forward through dirt, loose gravel and mud. A lock mode on the Pilot's transmission mimics a low-range transfer case, keeping power permanently flowing to all four wheels at speeds under 18 mph.
STANDARD REAR-CAMERA DISPLAY
Reversing in tight quarters can be a bit unnerving at times, especially in a bulky 8-passenger SUV. To help eliminate most of the guesswork from backing out of parking spaces, every 2013 Honda Pilot features a standard rear backup camera linked to an 8-inch display.
VERSATILE 2ND-ROW SEATING
The 2013 Honda Pilot's 60/40-split second-row seats slide and recline to comfortably accommodate adult-sized passengers. In addition, each of the three seats incorporates the LATCH child safety system.
In keeping with Honda's simple but functional design philosophy, the 2013 Pilot SUV's interior is a study in efficiency. The dash and instruments are easy to operate and logically placed. There are no fancy light shows here, no radical designs that look neat but don't work well in the real world, just the basics. Still, the Honda Pilot's interior is by no means stark, and in EX-L trim it is downright plush. Legroom is more than adequate in all three rows, an unusual and welcome attribute in this class. Rear cargo space with the third-row seat in place, however, is not so abundant. Luckily, there is a large storage bin below the rear cargo floor for random items, as well as ample roof space for a carrier rack.
The 2013 Honda Pilot has a softer, less boxy and bland look than the previous generation, making it a bit more palatable to the fashion-conscious SUV driver. Still present are the Pilot's long wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs, a design that not only makes the Pilot SUV appear more solid and stable, but allows for easy maneuvering in tight spots. Honda's ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure ensures maximum strength from the unit body, permitting the front end to absorb more energy in the event of an impact and protecting the passenger compartment and its contents. Stylistically, the 17- and 18-inch wheels really bring out the best in the Pilot SUV's design, while clever features such as the flip-up glass window on the tailgate and the standard integrated tow hitch serve a more functional purpose.
The base 2013 Honda Pilot LX comes generously equipped with three-zone climate control, an 8-inch multi-information display with a backup camera and a 7-speaker audio system with Bluetooth. EX models add a 10-way power driver's seat, fog lights and automatic on/off headlights, while EX-L trims include a moonroof, leather seating with heated front seats and a power liftgate. Top-level Touring models include a 2-position memory feature for the front seats, rear sonar proximity sensors and a premium sound system. Occupant protection consists of six airbags, the usual sprinkling of electronic stability controls and active front head restraints to lessen the severity of whiplash-related injuries in the event of a rear-end impact.
Since most feature content is tied to trim level, the Honda Pilot's short list of optional equipment includes variable torque management four-wheel drive, a ceiling-mounted rear seat DVD entertainment system and voice-activated navigation with integrated FM traffic data.
The 2013 Honda Pilot's 3.5-liter V6 engine employs Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, which provides improvements in horsepower and torque as well as fuel economy. This VCM technology, similar to the system used in the current Honda Accord, allows the vehicle to run seamlessly on three, four or six cylinders, depending on driving conditions and requirements.
250 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
253 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 17/24 mpg (4-wheel drive)
By Des on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfy to drive & ride in. Lots of cup holders etc."
Cons: "Of course, I wish it cost less ;)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I also like all of the storage areas everywhere & cup holders. It is comfortable for long drives as well. I also like how you can open the top back window, instead of the whole back...helpful when taking & putting groceries (& things) in & out. We have never had any issues with our vehicle. We have just had the regular maintenance things to take care on it (oil changes, etc...). With an active family with 3 boys, it is a great vehicle. Even when the kids move out of the house when they are older, I will still want it. :)"
7 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Vron on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Prob most comfy SUV out there."
Cons: "GAS!!!! It's like driving a V-8 towing 10,000lbs!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Perfect SUV! I've wanted for years and I leased the 2014 EX-L 2WD. Buuuut, the gas mileage is by far the worst out of the 13+ cars I've owned. At one time, in my young adult before kids life, owned a Ford F-150 Harley Davidson which has a supercharger in it averaging 11 mpg. I'm averaging 12mpg 50/50 city/hwy. Not impressed! Honda has some work to do with their SUV's regarding gas mileage."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By redtentgal on Sunday, August 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great features for price - excellent value for SUV"
Cons: "gas mileage not as good as expected"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Pilot balances need to haul people/stuff with decent features. We selected the vehicle primarily for safety and ability to transport lots of people. Very satisfied in these areas. There is actually less space than the minivan we owned previously, however. A bit of a surprise. The fold down capability of the seats helps. Our Pilot has been extremely reliable with very little cost to repair or maintain. The quality of the interior is very nice. Leather has held up well to three teenagers and pets. The appearance of the Pilot is a little boxy and the interior is sparse. We feel this will probably affect its resale vs. other sumptuously appointed and rounded SUVs."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By lucy on Monday, August 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "over all great everything"
Cons: "gas mileage not the best"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have loved this car. Comfortable,beefy, drives great.Bought it because I was commuting far& we can have nasty road conditions in winter. Handled very well in bad weather. Retiring & don't need this type car now. Will miss it"
8 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By FlowerPower1234 on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to drive; lots of room; good gas mileage"
Cons: "Having to CLIMB in; loud noise windows partly down"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"There are a few things I certainly would change on the interior, and the $30,000 price is steep, however, the 2014 Honda Pilot is almost like home on wheels without the trailer like look or the lousy gas mileage! I hope to have it for many many years like I did my Honda Accord for 12 years that I bought new, and my most recent 15-year-old CR-V that I bought new."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Govind on Monday, July 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Space, Fuel economy, storage"
Cons: "Bit of wind noise."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Spacious interior. Good storage bins. Nice seating arrangement. Good thigh support for second row. Great fuel economy. I drive carefully and I have been averaging 25mpg. around 30 percent city and 70 percenthighway. 65mph speed. Smooth acceleration and deceleration and coasting when you can is key to good mpg."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful