2009 Honda Pilot Review – Honda's 8-passenger SUV

Expert Reviews Honda

By Holly Roberts


  • LOVE the white dials/background on the instrument panel
  • Really decent acceleration
  • Comfortable front seats and the lumbar support is really NICE
  • XM® Satellite Radio
  • Built-in Bluetooth®


  • Square shape is great for making more inside storage, but bad for aerodynamics
  • Gas mileage is not stellar (made worse with the square-er shape)
  • Voice recognition system that requires a lot of patience
  • 3rd row seats are only usable by children or very short people (at 5’6″, I wouldn’t be comfortable for any length of time sitting back there)

Fuel Economy:
Advertised: 16 in the city, and 22 highway (or 18 combined for the AWD Touring Edition).
Actual: 18.7 with my un-aggressive driving style. Sightly better than the combined estimate, but still worse than other 7-8 passenger SUVs on the market.

Bigger Than A Bread Box:
Wow, the Pilot is ginormous! Okay, I know that’s not really a word, but holy cow! There is a whole lotta vehicle with the re-designed Pilot. It seems that the Honda Element has the more rounded shape, while the 2009 Pilot got the more square shape – they completely traded places! The new Pilot appears to be significantly larger than it’s older counterparts, and the frontal view is now markedly bolder-looking with its unique grill (bad to the bone). The day-time running lights prevent having to figure out how to turn on the headlights as daylight begins to disappear. I think this really adds to the safety factor, even in broad daylight.

Driving Impressions:
The Pilot accelerated really well. I didn’t try to blast through any corners, as I was having some issues with the aerodynamics of the car. It felt a bit top-heavy, and definitely took a bit of road to get it stopped. Other than that, it was pretty fun to drive. I had a bit of trouble parking, as it’s pretty large! Add to that, one of the other reviewers had put their trailer-hitch mounted bike-rack on the back, so not only was I fighting a larger vehicle than I’m used to, but I had about 3 extra feet behind me to deal with! I reverted to a 16-year old, trying to parallel park for the first time. But it was one of those things that you could get used to, if you spent more than 3 days in a car. Due to the size of the car, I could easily see well up the road. The Pilot weighs a good deal, so that, coupled with being able to see so far ahead (well, and Honda’s safety reputation), I felt pretty darned safe. A definite bonus in my book.

2009 Honda Pilot

The Pilot felt super solid. You could take it off-road and not be concerned at all about how it would take the conditions. The doors were solid without being heavy. The interior felt solid enough that you could bang stuff around without damaging the vehicle. We had a couple of stationary trainers in the back, behind the 3rd row seats, that were banging around a few times during an hour drive to a bike race. There wasn’t a mark one on the tailgate area, and nothing fell out when we opened the hatchback. The seats fold forward and back into place without struggle and seem like they would last a very long time. The hidden compartments in the passenger cabin are all well-built and you’d not have to worry about them breaking easily.

(Continued on page 2 – Interior Comfort and Ergonomics | Performance | Handling )
(Continued on page 3 – Styling | Value | Conclusion )

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  • Gammachiis says:

    I would like to Know the price of this car

  • Tracy McCarthy says:

    2011 Honda Pilot boosts of a satellite navigation system.The looks are truck-like, but this car is a great performer,efficiency is increased by the powerful V6 engines. This car has good road manners and moves almost without a sound. It drives very well and has awesome towing capacity of 4500 pounds. Also Honda has got the cylinder deactivation system, which makes it more power delivering. The ride is always firm and the tires don’t lose grip, be it on snow-clad streets, wet roads or muddy tracks or deserts! The Honda Pilot almost defies the laws of Inertia! This SUV will wade past the most difficult terrains with astuteness and dexterity seen never before in any other mid-sized affordable car!

  • hollyrrr says:

    Hi, I’m the author of this review. I have updated the review to reflect the shapes of the Element (no year specified) vs the 2009 Pilot. I’m really sorry about mis-representing the Element in this review. I’d used some specs and info from the Honda web-site (the site appears to have changed since then), and they’d shown the “2009″ models on the top banner. I assumed (although now it seems prophetic – see below) that the Element was also re-designed for 2009, without doing the actual research (since I was researching the Pilot). Anyway, mea culpa. It won’t happen again.

    I just did a Google search for “2009 Honda Element” and had a bunch of hits, with all kinds of links to the 2009 Element.

    Again, apologies for the confusion.


  • Jack Sprint says:

    Please tell us we all want an answer.

  • Thomas Green says:

    I would also like to know the future of the E.

  • Plant worker says:

    Hi scanrps.

    I work at the plant ..this is the latest, Honda was all set to issue a new model year with only a color change however due to the disappointing sales they have decided against it. I’m sure it is also due to the sluggish economy and the shift to more efficient vehicles.
    Word is we will be closing the plant to retool it for a completely different vehicle. If you’re in the market for an element I would hold off because Honda will be having a big sales promotion in November to get rid of the remaining stock…word is up to 4 grand off!

  • Calgary Chris says:

    the Honda AK over at the EOC are all dying to find out about their new garbage box…don’t tell the the truth they will all start to cry..

    It has been canceled!

  • scanrps says:

    To the author, you mention that the 2009 Element is getting
    more rounded. Have you seen a 09 Element? Cause nothing has
    been posted anywhere about any major changes.

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