2006 Honda Pilot SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Honda Pilot SUV


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Honda Pilot Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 244 hp @ 5750 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2006 Honda Pilot

  • One of the best crossover SUVs available, the 2006 Honda Pilot is an excellent choice for large, active families in need of versatility.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy interior with eight-passenger seating, versatile storage and cargo-hauling abilities, many standard features, comfortable ride, smooth power delivery.

  • Cons

    Mediocre towing capacity, feels big behind the wheel, can't combine rear DVD player with navigation system.

  • What's New for 2006

    Changes to the 2006 Honda Pilot SUV include standard side curtain airbags for all three rows and freshened headlight, taillight and wheel…

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (281 total reviews)

I love my honda pilot

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Vehicle: 2006 Honda Pilot EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Purchased a used 2006 Honda Pilot EX, 3.5L, V6, 5-spd, 54,000 miles in 2012. My first Honda EVER after owning GM/Ford products. I researched this model in depth & found great ratings & high resale values. I also queried strangers driving Honda Pilots. None had ANY negative comments & ALL said they'd purchase a Honda again; that convinced me! It's been 2 years & my odometer reads 66,000 miles - runs like the day I bought it. Unlike my prior GMs/Fords, my Honda has never seen the inside of a repair shop - EVER. I maintain my vehicles regularly. My Honda has more than proven it's quality, value, & reliability. It's Honda for me from now till eternity!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

7-year owner - still pleased

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Vehicle: 2006 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Purchased brand new in December 2005. Currently have about 53,000 miles. Replaced all brake pads and rotors at 40,000. Replaced tires at about 49,000. The unexpected maintenance has been the front suspension links at about 3 years (they are now starting to rattle again...looks like they last for 3-4 years). Cheap fix though. The condenser went bad at 6.5 years. We use the A/C quite a bit in the summer, and in the winter (defrost). Not much of a "windows down" family. Have followed the Maintenance Minder program. Replaced transmission fluid at 30,000 (did not wait for Maintenance Minder recommendation). Has plenty of zip when you really step on the gas. Get about 16/22 mpg.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

An excellent vehicle

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Vehicle: 2006 Honda Pilot LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I brought my pilot used with 45,000 miles on it back in May of 2009. Its been a very good suv and very proud of my pilot. I wrote an review about my pilot before and wanted to write another review. Its has almost 103,000 miles on it with no issue at all. The check engine light has came on two times before and found out that there was some water in the fuel from the gas station but did not cause any harm to engine but made the engine misfire and did not feel the misfire. I always change the oil every 5000 miles using the best oil. I change the transmission fluids every 10 to 15,000 miles and other services needed and its pretty cheap services needed. Good gas mileages for the size of suv.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2006 honda pilot lx 4wd

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Vehicle: 2006 Honda Pilot LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I purchase my suv brand new...After putting 76k miles the car still drives really good. Just the regular maintenance and haven't have any problems. I notice a few a bad reviews about the SUV. Would it be possible that previous owner did a bad job on maintenance. I always follow the maintenance minder which saves me a lot of money. Sometimes dealership want you offer all this extra maintenance which does not require you to do it. I used to drive a X5 but the maintenance and gas killed me. I have no kids but i always enjoy driving SUV. A friend of mine drives a 2006 LEXUS GX470. I still like the ride on my awesome PILOT.

Disappointing reliability (annoying)

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Vehicle: 2006 Honda Pilot LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I got it with 50k miles for $19k in 2009. It was in mint condition with all of the service records included. I thought, "Honda?, how could I go wrong?" Well, I've learned since then that Honda SUV's aren't all they're cracked up to be. Within a year, the front headlights and parking lights inexplicably went out all at once. No warning light, no sign of a short circuit. I replaced all of them, and no issues since then. Next, the idiot light for the gas cap intermittently came on. The gas cap seems to be like new, but I guess it's just temperamental? I don't know... It's a Honda, I shouldn't be dealing with these annoying issues. Next, the rear driver's side power window doesn't work

Should be the "standard" for

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Vehicle: 2006 Honda Pilot EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

105,000 miles and I've had one repair - the radiator. Otherwise, just routine maintenance. Goes through anything once you replace the lousy OEM tires. No rattles after 5 years - nothing. Just incredibly solid. Have had 8 adults in it, with no complaints. Can haul stuff and people. Family of 5 to the beach? No problem. Big visit to Lowe's? No problem. Handle a Buffalo winter? No problem. Great highway vehicle. Superb comfort for long drives. You feel very safe in it. Traction control and Stability control work great. Great mileage for its size and hauling capability. 18 around town. 22 on the highway.

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2006 Honda Pilot Review

What's New for 2006

Changes to the 2006 Honda Pilot SUV include standard side curtain airbags for all three rows and freshened headlight, taillight and wheel designs. A maintenance minder system has also been added to all Pilots. The optional navigation system now has a 7-inch screen and a reverse-parking assist camera. The EX trim level now has standard foglights this year, and EXs with leather seating get standard XM Satellite Radio. Also new this year is a front-wheel-drive Pilot with Honda's fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) feature for its V6 engine. Finally, stated power output for the Pilot's V6 engine has dropped slightly due to Honda's adoption of a new SAE horsepower-rating procedure.


The Pilot is Honda's long-awaited reply to America's massive appetite for midsize SUVs. In creating the Pilot, Honda's goal was to build the ultimate American family adventure vehicle. To meet the challenge, the Pilot SUV is equipped with seating for eight, a powerful V6 engine, a versatile interior, capable road handling and a reasonable level of off-road ability. It's also tempered with Honda's traditional strengths in dependability, quality and safety.

Third-row seating is all the rage with midsize crossovers and SUVs, and the Pilot isn't one to shirk from peer pressure. The third row is virtually the same size as the MDX's, but in this case it has three sets of adjustable headrests and three-point seatbelts. Legroom is tight at 30.2 inches, so it's best to limit the third row to children. Lowering the second- and third-row seats reveals an impressively large 90.3-cubic-inch cargo hold. Because of the Pilot's wide stance, there's sufficient clearance between the wheel wells to place wide items flat on the floor. If the second-row seats are in use, cargo capacity is 48.7 cubic feet. With the third row up, there's still enough room for grocery bags, baby paraphernalia or a set of golf clubs.

At more than 4,400 pounds, the 2006 Honda Pilot isn't a lightweight vehicle. And in terms of dimensions, it's wider than, and just as long as, an Explorer. Acceleration is more than adequate, however, thanks to the 255-hp V6. It's equipped with Honda's VTEC system, which gives the engine a wide power band and better-than-average fuel economy. And starting this year, you can reap additional fuel savings by selecting a front-wheel-drive (2WD) Pilot with the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system. An electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system is available, and it turn this Honda SUV into an excellent snow vehicle.

If you are shopping for a midsize SUV, this is one you won't want to skip over. Besides offering solid engineering and construction inside and out, the Honda Pilot is more intelligently packaged than many of its competitors: One large, comfortable cabin with seating for eight and one long list of standard features with a minimum of confusing options. Just choose your trim level and you're ready to go. Although high demand early on made it difficult to find a Pilot and negotiate a reasonable price for one, an influx of new competitors should make it considerably easier to bring home a 2006 Honda Pilot.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door, eight-passenger 2006 Honda Pilot comes in two trim levels: LX and EX. As is typical of Honda offerings, nearly everything comes standard. This includes air conditioning; cruise control; power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; a rear window defroster; and a CD player. Going with the EX adds alloy wheels, auto-off headlamps, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar, extra interior storage, automatic climate control, HomeLink and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. On EX models with leather (EX-L), a sunroof, XM Satellite Radio and heated seats come standard, with a DVD-based navigation system and a DVD entertainment system available as options. Unfortunately, buyers must choose between the nav and entertainment systems -- you can't get both. The entertainment system includes a 9-inch flip-down LCD screen.

Powertrains and Performance

All-wheel-drive Pilots come equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 244 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Two-wheel-drive models use the same engine but are upgraded with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which increases fuel-efficiency by "shutting off" three of the engine's six cylinders during cruising and deceleration. When more performance is needed, the engine switches back to using all six cylinders. The engine's power is routed through a five-speed automatic transmission. Tow ratings are modest (a max 4,400 pounds on AWD versions), but the Pilot's fuel economy is better than that of many V8-powered SUVs.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) come standard, along with side airbags for front occupants and head-protecting side curtain airbags for all three rows. In government crash tests, the Honda Pilot earned a perfect five-star rating across the board for front- and side-impact protection. In frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Pilot received the highest rating of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

The Honda Pilot seats eight passengers. The second- and third-row seats are positioned theater-style, meaning that they are elevated to give occupants a better outside view. Legroom for second-row passengers is quite good, but the tight third row is best suited for children. Both the second and third rows are split 60/40 and can be folded flat to expand the Pilot's cargo capacity. Maximum cargo capacity is 90 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

As the Pilot features a stiff unibody structure and a fully independent suspension, it is quite smooth and comfortable on normal roads. However, with a curb weight of more than 2 tons, there is no denying the Pilot's bulk, and some drivers might find it a bit clumsy around corners. In terms of off-road ability, the 2006 Honda Pilot can take on common hazards such as boat ramps, washed-out gullies and rough roads, but not much more.

Talk About The 2006 Pilot