Honda Pilot History
The Honda Pilot is a mid-size crossover SUV featuring three-row seating, and is the largest SUV offered by Honda. The Pilot shares its powertrain with the Acura MDX, and a platform with the Odyssey minivan and Accord sedan. The Pilot’s unibody construction is designed to make it handle like a car, but still offers light off-road and towing capability.
The Honda Pilot was first released in 2002 as a 2003 model year. Before the Pilot was introduced, Honda’s only SUVs were the compact crossover SUV CR-V and the Honda Passport, which is truck-based and a rebadged version of the Isuzu Rodeo – intended only as a quick-fix for Honda’s need for a larger SUV.
The Pilot saw a facelift for the 2006 model year, which included a new fascia with a different grille and new halogen headlights and taillights. Side airbags were added to protect rear passengers and the instrument cluster and center console were redesigned.
The second-generation Pilot was released in 2009, with a larger and roomier design. Headlights were updated and most of the interior was redesigned, to include a new tri-zone automatic climate control, two-position memory seat for the driver’s seat, and a power tailgate, and the gear shift was moved from the side of the steering wheel to the center console, between the driver and passenger.
Although the Pilot has been criticized for its boxy truck-like exterior, critics have also noted that the driving experience has been vastly improved from the first generation.
Honda Pilot Awards
- Car and Driver magazine’s Best Large SUV for 2003 through 2008
- Intellichoice “Best Value of the Year”
- Edmunds.com “Most Wanted SUV”
- AMI Auto World “World Family Vehicle of the Year”