The Honda Pilot is among an elite group of sport utility vehicles that helped elevate the "crossover" segment in the last decade by introducing a combination of smooth ride comfort, accommodating interior packaging and overall efficiency that traditional SUVs lacked. The Pilot's unit body construction and fully independent suspension helped transform the SUV segment by enhancing ride quality, earning top crash safety ratings, creating more interior space and increasing fuel efficiency. The original Pilot provided a recipe for success with features eventually imitated by the competition like a standard third row seat, decision-free four-wheel drive and an easy-to-configure interior.
The second generation of the Honda Pilot seeks to improve on the popular Honda SUV formula by adding more SUV-rugged aesthetics, more on-road refinement and enhancing interior functionality. Designed around the concept of an "intelligent adventure vehicle" with the practical needs of a family in mind, the eight-passenger Pilot provides bolder SUV styling, more clever and more accommodating interior packaging and advanced technologies for safety, fuel efficiency and convenience.
2009 Honda Pilot Summary
- 8-passenger midsize crossover SUV
- Unit body platform
- 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 with 250-horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque
- Honda-estimated* EPA city/highway fuel economy of 17/23 (2WD) and 16/22 (4WD)
- ULEV-2 Emissions Rating (CARB)
- 5-speed automatic transmission (standard)
- VTM-4 four-wheel-drive (available)
- Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure
- MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension
- Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with Traction Control and ABS
- Trim lineup – LX, EX, EX-L and (new) Touring
More than 10 significant and new features exist on the 2009 Pilot. Notable items include:
- Newest generation of Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) on all models
- Flip-up tailgate glass hatch
- Standard integrated tow hitch
- Hill Start Assist
- Humidity Control System as part of standard air conditioning
- Four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), increased from two
- Driver's and front passenger's active head restraints
- Tilt and telescopic steering column
- Interface Dial with Scrolling and Multi-Line Display (Touring only)
- Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ (Touring only)
- Power Tailgate (Touring only)
The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure enhances frontal collision compatibility with vehicles of different sizes and bumper heights. A pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle is intended to help absorb energy in the event of a collision. Additional standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), also known as Electronic Stability Control; side-curtain airbags; front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); active front seat head restraints; and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution. Four Lower Anchor and Tether for Children (LATCH) positions – more than any other SUV in the segment – provide room for four child seats compared to two on the previous Pilot and most vehicles in the segment.
A redesigned crossover SUV platform allows even more refined handling and ride comfort to exist seamlessly with all-weather and medium-duty off-road capabilities. To further enhance safety, the Pilot features the Honda-exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure and the most extensive use of high-strength steel (52 percent) in any Honda product to date.
With its wide and solid stance, classic SUV proportions and clean design treatment, the Pilot is designed to maximize utility and communicate traditional SUV character traits including strength, durability and off-road confidence. Honda designers used the three-dimensionally beveled lines of an ultra-rugged laptop computer as inspiration to convey an active and intelligent vehicle design theme.
As a design that Honda helped make popular in the automotive industry, the crossover SUV platform that underpins the Pilot is engineered to provide the best of the car and truck worlds by integrating the refined traits and efficiency of a car design with the utility, capability and packaging advantages of an SUV design.
Three rows of seats provide a high degree of adaptability for people and large cargo loads. The first row provides a commanding view of the road from two supportive and comfortable bucket-style seats. A wide center stack and center console form the styling anchor for the interior with a design that emphasizes spaciousness and power, while allowing for convenient access to navigation (available), entertainment and climate-control systems.
The 60/40 split second row, now more spacious, slides further forward for increased ease of access to the third row. The 60/40 split third row, now supplies enough knee room for an above-average-sized adult male to fit comfortably, making the Pilot's third row among the most practical in the industry. Each side of the second and third row independently folds down for cargo. A flat floor is created when the second and third rows are folded down.
A 3.5-liter i-VTEC V-6 engine features the latest generation of fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) technology that operates in 6-cylinder mode for power and 4- and 3-cylinder modes for efficiency, an improvement compared to the previous Pilot's VCM system that works exclusively in 6- and 3-cylinder modes. A fully-automatic Variable Torque Management® 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4®) is designed to deliver decision-free all-weather traction and medium-duty off-road capabilities – while minimizing the weight and fuel economy drawbacks of a conventional four-wheel-drive system.
2009 Pilot vs. 2008 Pilot
* Includes 2.8 cu-ft. inside the underfloor hidden storage well (2008 model =1.5 cu-ft.). The underfloor storage well can be fully combined with the above-floor storage by securing the cargo lid to the third row seatback.
|L x W x H, in.
||190.9 x 78.5 x 71.0
||188.0 x 77.5 x 71.7
||+2.9 x +1.0 x -0.7
|Total Interior Volume*,
|Engine Size, L
|Engine Output, HP
||250 @ 5700
||244 @ 5750
||+6 @ -50 rpm
|Engine Output, lb-ft.
||253 @ 4800
||240 @ 4500
||+13 @ +300
|Fuel Economy,** mpg
||Larger by 10/5 R1
**Fuel economy values determined from manufacturer test results. Official 2009 EPA mileage estimates not available at time of printing. Mileage figures shown are for comparison purposes only. Actual mileage will vary.
Background and Accolades
The Pilot originally debuted as a 2003 model in June of 2002. Design and development of the 2003 Pilot and the 2009 Pilot have occurred at Honda R&D Americas in Raymond, Ohio, and Torrance, California. The Pilot is assembled* at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln.
Among its numerous accolades, the Honda Pilot has earned Car and Driver Magazine's prestigious "5Best Truck" award on six consecutive occasions (2002-2007). The 2008 Pilot is among an elite group of vehicles to receive both a "Top Safety Pick 2008" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-star crash safety rating for frontal and side collisions from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA*).
* Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side-impact air bags (SABs).
Pilot Evolution by Model Year: 2003 – 2009
2003: Vehicle introduced June 2002
2004: Second row sliding seat feature added, EX-L receives heated seats and mirrors
2005: Horsepower increased by 6 percent, ULEV-2 emission rating achieved, new features introduced: VSA (EX-L), moonroof (EX-L), 6-CD changer (EX, EX-L), TPMS, and keyless entry added to LX
2006: New exterior styling (bumper, headlights, side curtain airbags added, VCM applied to newly-introduced two-wheel-drive models, VSA added to all models, fog lights added to EX, EX-L, XM Satellite Radio added to EX-L
2007: No changes
2008: New trim levels: Value Package (VP) enhances LX, Special Edition (SE) enhances EX
2009: All-new model introduced