Car Review - Honda Pilot 2005
Honda Pilot 2005: The Weekly Driver Review
by James Raia
Like its popular brethren, the CR-V, Odyssey and new Element,
the Pilot completes Honda's best-buy SUV and van line.
And like any of those offerings or anything else in Honda's
arsenal, it's hard to find serious fault with the Pilot.
Introduced in late 2003, the Pilot replaced the Passport
and it shares the same basic chassis and powertrain as
the MDX, the complementary choice from Honda's upscale
My test drive for the week was the top of the line's EX
L 4-door wagon that includes both a navigation system
and second seat DVD entertainment system. With those additions,
the Pilot further enhances its position at the forefront
of the midsize SUV ranks that include the Ford Explorer,
Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander.
The three Pilot models all offer a V6, 255-horsepower
engine paired only a 5-speed automatic transmission. The
HP total represents an increase of six percent from the
2004 model, further adding to the vehicle's status among
the quicker midsize SUVs. It has a 0-60 mph test rating
of 7.9 seconds.
Further performance areas for the Pilot are all at least
average or above. The driver sits "tall" in
the vehicle, so steering and handling are fine for the
car's type. But it should never be mistaken for anything
other than a SUV with cornering limitations.
Braking is strong and the standard all-wheel-drive system
seems well-suited for trails and in inclement weather
Like other Hondas, controls and instrumentation as well
as styling and indoor space are thoughtful and styled
simply. The automatic shift lever is located behind the
right side of the steering wheel and doesn't block access
to other controls. But it's also too easy to shift in
and out of transmission settings.
The pilot is an eight-passenger vehicle, with little compromise.
The second and third-row seats each comfortably seat three
passengers. Although unused during my test week, second
and third-seat passengers can view DVDs from a screen
that pops down from the second-seat ceiling. Headphones
are stored in a map/accessory compartment behind the driver's
All three Pilot models have a long list of standard features:
tilt steering wheel, cruise control, 60/40 split folding
second and third seats, power mirrors, windows and doors
locks, remote keyless entry and AM/FM/CD player, among
other items. The EX and EX-L models include a six-disc
changer, steering wheel radio controls, automatic-off
headlights and allow wheels. Leather upholstery, heated
front seats, power sunroof and heated power mirrors are
standard on the EX-L model only.
Despite its best-buy status, the Pilot does have two less-than-spectacular
considerations: curtain side airbags are not available
on any model, and its fuel rating of 17 in city driving
and 22 in highway use is fine for its category but hardly
an economical plus.
Nevertheless, the Pilot overall is an ideal family vehicle.
It's spaciously designed, practical and fits well in the
Honda family known not only performance and reliability,
but for a strong position in the resale market.
2005 Honda Pilot
Safety features -- Front side airbags, antilock 4-wheel
disc brakes, rear-obstacle detection system. tire pressure
monitor, rearview camera.
Fuel Mileage (estimates) -- 17 mpg (city), 22 mpg (highway).
Warranty -- Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Corrosion,
5 years/unlimited miles.
Base price range -- $34,120.
About the Author
James Raia is a Sacramento, Calif., journalist who writes
about sports, travel and lifestyle topics as well as the
automotive column, The Weekly Driver Review.
To read more car reviews, visit: The Weekly Driver Review
To subscribe to his free electronic newsletters, visit
the web site: www.ByJamesRaia.com
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