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2012 Honda Pilot

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2012 Honda Pilot Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 8.0

The 2012 Honda Pilot SUV nails the right combination of size, power, ability and value. Not as gargantuan as the Chevy Tahoe or Suburban, the Pilot can still accommodate eight people, has plenty of room for cargo and gets reasonably good gas mileage for its size. On the downside, the Pilot offers only a V6 engine, can't tackle Jeep-style off-road situations, and can only tow up to 4,500 pounds (2,000 pounds for the 2-wheel-drive model). To spur sales, the 2012 Pilot SUV receives new styling that somewhat negates previous complaints about the vehicle's lackluster looks. Of course, with fierce competition from such heavyweights as the Mazda CX-9, GMC Acadia, Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner, the Pilot isn't a shoo-in for best-in-class, even with its lofty Honda pedigree. Lacking some more modern features, such as the Explorer's adjustable AWD terrain settings and SYNC communication technology, the Pilot may not cut it with avid off-road junkies and techno types. But, for those who simply seek dependable, efficient and comfortable transportation for themselves and their family, the 2012 Honda Pilot SUV is an easy choice.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need a vehicle that provides 8-passenger capacity but are dead set against driving a minivan, the 2012 Honda Pilot makes an excellent alternative. Strong, safe and easy to drive, the Pilot SUV can tackle jobs no minivan would dare; and with 4WD, snow days for the kids are a thing of the past.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Honda has a bad habit of bundling popular options by trim alone. If you're someone who thinks you shouldn't have to move to the highest trim level just to get navigation or a power liftgate, there are better choices. Those who need to tow heavy loads or enjoy going far off-road will be better served by a V8-powered body-on-frame SUV such as the Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Honda Pilot SUV receives a major front-end makeover, with more rounded edges, a softer grille and more chrome trim. EX and EX-L trims gain updated audio systems that include a 2GB CD library, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, and streaming audio, while the EX-L gains an 8-inch color Multi-Information Display. All trims see a 1 mpg increase in fuel economy.

Driving the Pilot

Driving Impressions Despite its size, the 2012 Honda Pilot SUV rides and drives very much like a large car. The firm suspension limits body roll, squat, and dive, yet is not so...

firm as to punish its passengers with every passing pothole or road distortion. We found the Pilot's steering a bit heavily weighted, but it is very precise and offers good feedback in the turns. On the highway the Pilot SUV tracks straight, and even strong wind gusts can't deter it from its intended course. The interior seems quieter than many large SUVs we've tested, but that's not a scientific finding, only a sense we get from test driving so many of the Honda Pilot's competitors. We love the 3.5-liter V6 for its gutsy response when we demand to go fast, and for its smooth, silent operation. We also like the fuel economy, which is near the best in this class. 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 SUV 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.

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
The 2012 Honda Pilot SUV's second row offers excellent room for taller passengers and also provides LATCH systems for three child seats.

2012 Honda Pilot Details
2012 Honda Pilot photo Interior

In keeping with Honda's simple but functional design philosophy, the 2012 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. Of course, 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 cargo bin below the floor for storing items, as well as ample roof space for a carrier rack. Fold the seats flat, and the 2012 Honda Pilot SUV can be used like a small pickup truck, or a sturdy steel tent with cozy accommodation for two.

Exterior
2012 Honda Pilot photo

With its new face, the 2012 Honda Pilot SUV somewhat softens its boxy and bland image, 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 2012 Pilot SUV look more solid and stable, but that 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 keeping the passenger compartment (and its contents) from harm. Stylistically, the new 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base 2012 Honda Pilot SUV 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 8-way power driver's seat, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, daytime running lights, Bluetooth and heated side mirrors. Exclusive to the EX-L is a rearview camera with a display screen imbedded in the rearview mirror.

Optional Equipment

Most of the additional features for the 2012 Honda Pilot SUV are tied to trim level and are not available as stand-alone extras. These options include a 512-watt AM/FM/6-disc CD premium audio system with 10 speakers, leather seats, power moonroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, corner and rear backup sensors, power tailgate, side-mirror turn signals, HD 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 2012 Honda Pilot's engine comes equipped with 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.

3.5-liter V6
250 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
253 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 17/24 (AWD)

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2012 Honda Pilot Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 325 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 Vehicle!

By on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Roomy, Comfortable, reliable"

Cons: "MPG, interior carpet could be better"

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

"We are very happy with our 2011 Pilot. This is our 5th Honda and the best one yet. All have been reliable and trouble free with great resale. Reliability has been great. It is roomy, rides well and works well for our family of 4. Only complaints are we wish it got a little better MPG and the carpet in the back seems cheap. Other than the two minor gripes we love it!"

3rd Honda: Up to the Odyssey?

By on Saturday, January 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Ride, leather, room, storage."

Cons: "Paint, rotors"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Drove my Odyssey 122,000 without a repair or replacing brake pads(did it just because at 110K)but alas if I expired tomorrow,I felt too advanced to be remembered as the mini-van mom. The 2013 Pilot has good leg room in rows 1,2 compared to others. Leather seats and mats good quality. The engine has sufficient pick up to maneuver around less aware drivers. Auto open feature for the rear door and console storage a plus. Tires have good traction and great ride. CONS: The phone quality poor for the call receiver. My issues are paint, rotors, dealership. Rotors turned twice now(remember I never even did brake pads last vehicle). Everything scratches the paint! My steering column noisy when it rains:" Mam its your seat" LOL"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Purchased new-excessive dash noise and rattles

By on Sunday, January 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Stereo system"

Cons: "Rattles, squeaks, interior noises"

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

"2012 4wd Touring model purchased new and likely will be my last Honda vehicle purchase. The dash has excessive rattles, vibrations, and noise. Multiple warranty service calls resulting in the entire dash being removed. Dealer discovered numerous loose nuts and washers had not been tightened during assemble to secure the dash which were corrected. Now the dash squeaks excessively but not a metallic vibration but that of rubbing plastic. Horrible ongoing experience. Driver seat heater would turn on by itself and then unable to turn off and failed on several occasions. Finally fixed after several service calls. Rear seat belts don't fully retract and metal buckle rattles against plastic side panel. Poor engineering and poor quality control. My diesel Ford truck is dead silent in the cab compared to the Pilot."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Avoid This Car!! Too Many Issues

By on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Hate it"

Cons: "Hate it"

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

"I own a 2012 Honda Pilot with approximately 22,000 miles on it. I've had more issues with this care than my previous 9 cars combined. We have a squeaking that occurs every 30-60 seconds when the AC is on, 5 trips to the dealer and it's still not fixed. When shifting from park into drive, the transmission jolts frequently - 4 visits to the dealer, still not fixed. Now a new "special feature" when at a stop light, the car will randomly lunge into oncoming traffic. For your own safety, avoid Honda as their quality is lacking and the dealer can't seem to figure out how to keep this unit running."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Great car with one problem

By on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great car"

Cons: "Sudden accelleration"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Car had sudden acceleration with no damage or injury. Car went fron stop to full speed. Honda found nothing wrong but I didn't expect otherwise. Perhaps my last Honda because. I don't trust them anymore."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

overrated

By on Friday, December 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "rear cup holders,tow hitch,latch system"

Cons: "poor braking,really bad blind spot,mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I originally bought a factory brand new(at the time)2012 Honda Odyssey thinking it would be great for all the road trips we'll be taking. After 3 years and not so many road trips(just one), got tired of having the Mommy Van and wanted something more Colorado winter-weather friendly. So we traded it in for a brand new 2015 Pilot and thought, 'This is the one'. pros: Its bigger, sits higher. If you have kids, there is the car seat latch-system in all seats for middle and back row. DVD fold down for the kiddos during long road trips. Not so many buttons on the key remote like the Odyssey to have to double check what you're pressing. Has towing capabilities or for those of you who want to just put a hitch on it to protect your bumper from someone backing into you in a parking lot. Middle seat is pretty roomy for an adult sitting between a car seat and a booster seat-legroom-wise was like I was sitting in the front seat, comfortable. Hidden storage is nice- minus the glove box(small). Can hold a full-sized spare. The kids viewing mirror is in a better position that is closer to the rear view mirror. Several ways to open/close the rear lift gate with button on drivers door, lift gate and button on the key. The rear cargo area also has access from the glass section if you don't want to open the entire lift gate. cons: The alloy rims stick out outward rather than in, unlike most make/models. Something you take for granted until you need to get as close as you can and there's a high curb. Not enough cup holders in the front(2), so if you have a water bottle while you and your passenger have soda cups, chances are its going to end up rolling on the floor every time you turn. Front seat flooring has no separator from the seat behind(middle row). So if you have a water bottle, baby bottle, toy ball rolling around and you don't know(from kids) chances are it could possibly make it way under your brake/accelerator pedal. I've found a large bouncing ball from a vending machine tucked behind my (Husky- for snow)mat once. Bad blind spot rear passenger corner. Poor braking, takes A LOT, A LOT of getting used to, my husband hates driving the Pilot because of this. The drivers seat adjuster raises the leg portion higher than the butt part of the chair and I'm 5'5, so I cant sit as high to view the front portion of the car as I'd like to(good for really tall people I suppose).If you're not limber, getting in the third row might be a challenge if you have grand parents riding with you and car seats in the middle row. Legroom in third row is a bit cramped on the legs for adults. Lastly, the gas mileage is no joke. In the summer I can get 23 mpg, winter 20/21 mpg"

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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