Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,200 – $31,500*

2009 Honda Pilot Front

2009 Honda Pilot Rear

2009 Honda Pilot Interior

2009 Honda Pilot Profile

  • Build quality
  • Cargo room
  • Passenger room
  • Visibility
  • Fuel economy

Though trucky on the outside, Pilot is as car-like as any vehicle in this class. That’s a strong selling point, as this Best Buy’s (2009-12) combination of performance, utility, and passenger accommodations make it a crossover you really should consider.


Redesigned for 2009, Honda’s midsize crossover sport-utility vehicle gained passenger and cargo space, along with new styling. Seating eight, the second-generation Pilot contained 60/40 split folding benches in the second and third rows. Compared to its 2003-2008 predecessor, the 2009 Pilot grew an inch in width and almost three inches in overall length and wheelbase. LX, EX, EX-L, and upscale Touring models were offered, each with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Sole powertrain was a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission. All Pilots got Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management cylinder deactivation system, which shut down two or three cylinders while cruising to save fuel. All-wheel-drive models had a switch that could lock in a 50/50 front/rear power split. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, front side airbags, and three-row curtain side airbags. Hill-start assist was standard, and wheels grew an inch (to 17 inches). EX models rolled on alloy wheels; EX-L models added leather-trimmed seating surfaces and a moonroof. A power tailgate, front and rear obstacle detection, wireless cell-phone link, and a navigation system with rearview camera were exclusive to Touring models. DVD entertainment was available in EX-L and Touring versions-actually priced as separate models. Rivals included the Hyundai Veracruz, Chevrolet Traverse, and Toyota Highlander.

Yearly Updates

2010 Pilot
Little changed for the 2010 model year. Honda introduced the 2011 Pilot early (in the spring of 2010), adding availability of the navigation system to the EX-L model as well as the Touring edition.
2011 Pilot
The 2011 Honda Pilot lineup saw few changes, though the navigation system previously offered only on the top-line Touring was newly available on the EX-L trim level.
2012 Pilot
For 2012, the Honda Pilot received freshened exterior and interior styling.
2013 Pilot
For 2013, some features previously offered only on high-end Pilot trim levels became standard across the board.
2014 Pilot
There were no significant changes to the Honda Pilot for 2014.
2015 Pilot
For 2015, the Honda Pilot gained a mid-line Special Edition (SE) trim level, but otherwise saw no significant changes.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

All Pilots used a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produced 250 horsepower mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/268
Engine HP 250
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 253
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic 16/22 18.7

Road Test

Acceleration satisfies. Any Pilot has ample power and fine throttle response in both city and highway driving. Though smooth and responsive, the transmission occasionally hunts for the ideal gear.

Fuel economy isn’t exactly a strong point, but AWD models have averaged a frugal-for-the-class 18.2 to 19.7 mpg. Pilots use regular-grade gasoline.

Pavement cracks and patches pass with little impact, though potholes register soundly. Pilots tend to float a bit and take a moment to settle after big dips at highway speed, though they never lose composure.

Generally carlike driving feel is accompanied by fine low-speed maneuverability and a city-friendly turning radius. Tall sidewalls on the tires contribute to slightly lazy steering response in quick changes of direction. Pilot’s high center of gravity means fair body lean in sharp turns, but no undue noseplow. 2WD models too easily spin their front tires in rapid acceleration from a stop, and are prone to modest torque steer. AWD models are better mannered in this regard. They also cope easily with mild off-road trails. Braking is strong and stable, though simulated panic stops have generated noticeable nosedive.

Overall, Pilot is a quiet and solid crossover. Wind noise is generally muffled, though road roar from tires intrudes at highway speeds. The V6 never rises above a muted growl, but Pilot’s body is prone to drumming over rough surfaces.

Gauges are well laid out and easy to read. The dashboard-mounted shift lever is unconventional but easy to operate, and does not block access to controls. Most controls are easy to use, but the center stack contains numerous buttons that require familiarization. Honda’s navigation system (if installed) absorbs no audio or climate functions, which is a bonus. However, its control knob and flanking button interface is more complicated to use than the touch screens employed on most of Pilot’s rivals. Comprehensive second-row climate controls with a separate LCD screen are a nice touch. Fit and finish are generally up to class standards, though Pilot’s interior is awash in cheap-looking hard-plastic trim. Cloth upholstery in LX and EX models looks nice and feels sturdy. The EX-L and Touring’s leather interior feels only slightly more upscale. One test model suffered from several interior squeaks and rattles, particularly with the third-row seat raised.

Supportive front seats provide generous room all-around. Thick rear roof pillars block the driver’s view to the rear corners, but large windows and a typically tall SUV driving stance translates to good visibility otherwise. Pilot’s truck-like ride height means a high step-in.

Second-row space is better than average, with good room and comfort for adults. Tall step-in is a demerit for second-row entry and exit. Third-row access is tricky for adults, though helped by second-row seats that slide far forward. Three-abreast seating in the third row is for kids only, though two average-sized adults will be comfortable enough on short trips.

Cargo space is a Pilot strong point. Load volume becomes ample once you begin to fold down the seatbacks. Both rear rows drop easily to form a flat deck; third-row latches are positioned rearward and are easily reached from the back of the vehicle. Opening the liftgate glass adds versatility. Space is sufficient for a couple of golf bags or a folded stroller behind the third row. The built-in rear cargo net can be affixed to side panels to form a “hammock” for smaller, lightweight items. Ample small-items storage includes a versatile front console, two-tier front-seatback pouches, and plenty of compartments and cubbies.


Model Tested: 2010 Honda Pilot AWD Touring

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 9


Value - 8

Total: 64


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
109.2 190.9 78.5 71.0 4319
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
87.0 21.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.0 39.8 41.4 38.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Fit 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5

Trouble Spots

Description: The brake rotors could warp and cause a vibration through the steering wheel. (2009-15)
Engine knock and oil leak
Description: A crack in the cylinder head could cause oil to leak overheating. Oil will mix with coolant and coolant will mix with oil. (2009-15)
Engine misfire
Description: Variable Cylinder Management rocker arms may stick and result rough running between 30 and 65 mph. May also cause excessive oil consumption. (2009-15)
Engine noise
Description: Engine knocking or ticking at idle, especially when the engine is warm, requiring replacement rocker shaft bridges. (2009)
Oil leak
Description: Oil may leak at the engine’s bearing-cap side bolts. (2010-12)
Spark plugs
Description: Faulty piston rings can lead to fouled spark plugs. (2009-13)
Description: The sunroof could draw current while the vehicle is off and drain the battery. (2009-11)
Suspension noise
Description: Front wheel bearings can droning noise and cause vibration. (2009-14)
Suspension problems
Description: Front compliance (lower control arm) bushings crack and require replacement. (2009)
Vehicle noise
Description: The rear end may make noise or shudder when turning if there is debris in the differential or if the fluid is not changed regularly. (2009-10)
Vehicle noise
Description: Driveline judder or noises from the differential are the result of clutch wear debris or water in the lubricant which must be replaced. (2009)
Description: The glove compartment may be hard to open. If adjustment does not correct it, the glove box must be replaced. (2009)
Description: The clock may display the wrong time, requiring replacement of the navigation unit on vehicles so equipped. (2009)

Recall History

2009-12 Pilot
Description: The front airbag inflator could rupture during deployment and metal fragments strike passengers.
2009-13 Pilot
Description: One or more airbag attachment rivets could be missing and reduce the airbag’s effectiveness during a crash.
2009-2011 Pilot
Description: Some seatbelt stitching may be incomplete or missing, increasing the risk that the seatbelt could detach.
2011 Pilot
Description: The bolts that attach the lower left and right front damper bracket to the front suspension and the spindle nuts on the Pilot may not have been properly tightened which may result in loss of steering.
2012 Pilot
Description: A faulty vent-shut-float valve on the fuel tank may result in leaking fuel and increase the risk of fire.
2013 Pilot
Description: Pistons could wear prematurely and cause the engine to stall.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.