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.
Just why does anybody buy an SUV? Practical, go anywhere, looks, roomy, fun, features, price...and a few more. Without being an offroad pretender, this unit meets it all. My favorite, I never have to take my golf clubs out to run errors or pick up the kids.
Handling, room, gas mileage (especially during the crisis of 06)