My wife and I are now Piloteers. I bought my first pilot--an'03--in 2013. The guy I bought if from had sent his last kid to college and didn't need the extra car, otherwise I'm sure he would've kept it. It had 245,000 miles on it. Since we've owned it (it's been my wifes primary driver) we've rolled it up to 278,000. Other than standard maintenance, I've put no money into it. It literally still handles like it's brand new. The invinceable V-tech engine is very quiet, and the transmission doesn't slip in the least. As of a week ago, we are now piloteers for life. I gave away my perfectly good Chrysler Pacifica and bought my wife a newer pilot with half the mileage. The '03 is now mine. I will never buy another vehicle. When my oldest gets into high school (in the next two years) I will give him the '03 and buy another. Make no mistake, the honda pilot is the absolute distance you can take your dollar. It is well worth the money.
Our Pilot has been family owned since new and was dealer maint. up to 80K. We bought it from her parents with 80K miles. It's hardly even needed any maint. done. I did the timing belt/waterpump/plugs @ 107K, the first brake job was done at 125K. We drive mostly highway.
Here's the catch:
The first transmission went out at 130K miles. Honda quoted us $3,700 to replace it with a factory reman. with a 3-year/36K warranty. We had them replace it because we didn't want to ever have to worry about it again.
Now 2 years later @ 172K and the transmission needs to be replaced again. They won't cover anything because we have put 42K on it. They quoted us $4,700.
Can YOU afford one? We can't.
I've had this car for 7 years and like all Hondas, it's been super reliable. I had to replace the stereo a year ago (it broke for no reason). It was $1000 to replace, so I bought an aftermarket, but the steering wheel controls won't work with it now. The interior door handle was plastic with "metal tape" over it and it was peeling, so I had to replace it. I hate the removable headrests for the 2nd/3rd row seats (big pain), but they've redesigned them in 2009. Overall it's been a great car and I'm buying another Pilot now (2010), which is even better designed. I love Hondas!
3rd row seat, large cargo area in the back, large storage area between the front seats, lots of cupholders throughout, the storage nets behind the front seats are great.
The headrests in the 3rd row seats must be removed to fold the seat down and it's a pain to have to store them. The 3rd row seats need to be a bit wider to fit even child booster seats. The shoulder belts coming from the ceiling sit high on your neck, which is uncomfortable (especially for kids).
Having owned and driven multiple Honda Accords since a 1979 model, I was expecting a similar non-eventful and reliable experience with a 2003 Pilot that was purchased used. But the transmission has just failed at 140k miles. Sadly, this is standard for the Honda Pilot if you quickly glance around the internet. The same problem extends to other Honda models with the V6: the Accord, Odyssey, and Acura TL. These and other Honda transmission issues have been subject of numerous recalls and class action suits over the years. I am otherwise a Honda fan and enjoy the Pilot, but this one reliability issues is a serious shortcoming that anyone purchasing must be financially prepared for.
Seating for eight. Typical Honda ergonomics with plenty of storage and flexibility. 5-star crash rating. General build quality (other than the transmission).
Transmission reliability must be improved. Ride bumpiness is poor, even over speed humps. The 2009 Pilot does get better gas mileage from the 17 mpg you should expect with a 2003. Sound system quality is also poor.