We purchased this car in 2010 with 55k miles. We were shopping for a lower-end EX or even an LX, but the wife didn't like the colors of the other Pilots on the lot that were EX/LX. We ended up with the [more expensive] EX-L because of the color.
The car was initially operated in RI, and we used it in VT. It was involved in an accident that showed up on CarFax prior to our ownership (which was disclosed by the dealer), but was repaired to a high level, so I was OK with the purchase.
We expected a growing family, so we wanted a larger vehicle, with high safety ratings, and large cargo capacity. We also wanted to tow a pop-up camper with it in the future. AWD was a must because of the snow that was expected annually in Vermont.
We quickly noticed that the Pilot was a great long-distance cruiser, and very comfortable to boot. The engine was a little overwhelmed at times due to the large bulk of the Pilot, but overall was up to the task. Fuel economy was around 18-19 mpg all the time - maybe 20 on the highway if you were really gentle. AWD was great in the snow, especially with a set of snow tires (a prerequisite for VT winter driving). Towing, however, was another matter. Hills were to be feared, and the engine was over-taxed, all the time. Acceleration with a 1,700 lb trailer was unacceptable. The brakes always seemed to be soft and not incredibly powerful, pedal pressure seemed not in line with braking power. This, of course, was amplified while towing.
Also worth noting - when adding a tow hitch - be certain to clean the threads on the RH side before attempting to install the bolts - if the bolts get bound up, then you have a high likelyhood of breaking the welded capture nut loose on the inside of the frame rail. To correct this issue requires removal of the entire 2nd and 3rd row of the interior, and making a 3" hole in the cargo area floor to access the loose nut.
Maintenance was relatively simple, and the minder on the dash made it easy to keep track of. I performed all of the maintenance on the car, and my only complaint was that when the oil filter was removed, the oil would drain on the front subframe, making a mess. All other maintenance (including the timing belt/water pump at 105k) was straightforward and uncomplicated. I did NOT like needing to replace the rear VTM-4 differential fluid every 15k miles, though... that seemed really excessive - especially since it requires a GALLON of Honda fluid at $40 a gallon.
Now, on to the problems:
1.) While every car in Vermont will develop rust from the salt eventually, the Pilot did a relatively decent job at resisting it. When we finally traded it in, the underbody was pretty clean for a VT car. However, the door moldings retained dirt, sand, and filth really badly, and I don't want to know what the steel doors looked like underneath.
2.) June, 2014 - At about 120k, the lower portion of the right rear knuckle on the car fractured, leaving the lower mount of the shock dangling in place. Had I not noticed it immediately, it would have cut the tire. Honda did not have a single replacement part anywhere in the country, and I was forced to replace it with a used component. The replacement of that component required removal of all of the suspension and brakes in that corner of the car and a $900 repair bill. Keep in mind that this is a cast-iron part, and should be good for the life of any vehicle.
3.) November, 2014 - At 130k, the power steering rack began to leak badly, despite two proper fluid maintenance services having been performed since 2010. Replacement of this component is also excessively labor intensive - requiring 15 hours of labor to remove. I was not happy about this. This was a $1700 repair.
4.) January, 2015 - The final nail in the coffin for the Pilot was that the rear differential began to howl at any speed above 35-40 mph. This was despite the fact that the fluid changes had been performed regularly, with the expensive Honda fluid. Research showed that this would be a $1000-$1500 repair, with a used differential. We got rid of it for a 2011 Kia Sorento SX.
Brought my 2007 Pilot brand new. Now February 2013 with only 64,000 my spark plugs are gone and coil burned.
The dealer told me it will cost $4500 to fix.
I am very disappointed and upset with Honda.
The technician told me they don't check spark plugs until 100,000 miles. So I would have no way on knowing that there is a problem.
It give no warning.
I was sitting at the traffic light when the Pilot starting shaking and making a noise as I drove off.
I had to pull into a shopping center and have it towed to the dealer because I could not drive it.
I have owned 4 Hondas but I think this will be my last.
2007 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV w/Rear Entertainment System (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
The Pilot was great to me. Super reliable, and I only ever had one problem outside of routine maintenance, a rear HVAC blower motor went out, which was replaced under Honda Care for no charge.
I selected the FWD model after getting a CPO mouse infested 4WD model from a dealer. They upgraded me to Leather and Rear Entertainment. We average under 40" of snow here, so I didn't think anything of the lack of 4WD. Until the first day I had to drive in snow. Even with Michelin Xice 2 snow tires, I couldn't make it over small bridges, crossing a single lane train track. Cars with all seasons drove right past me. I'd slide backward down the hill. Bit better w/ traction control turned off.
Reliability! Resale value was phenomenal. Cavernous space.
The engine is too far back to effectively put the required weight over the wheels to get winter traction in the FWD model. There was lots of tire spin in the rain as well. Even with top of the line Michelin all season tires.
Traction control was too intrusive. The point at which it attempted to regain traction to the cutting of throttle was too short, to the point that it was dangerous. Seemed like traction control only ran for 1-2 seconds before it just shut off throttle. Most cars fight for traction as long as you're giving it gas.
Ability to lock rear windows and still control from the driver seat. Let alone, locking the rear windows, shouldn't lock out the front passenger seat!
Having always been a Honda guy I went with the Pilot.
Pros- Seats 7, roomy, good passenger storage. The wheel wells are 4'2" apart so you can fit everything from sheetrock to golf clubs. Drives awsome in the snow and poor conditions. Overall no major mechanical problems.
Cons- For the $ you can buy a vehicle with much better creature comforts. No I-Pod jack, Seats are uncomfortable, MPGs are Average for a vehicle this size. Heat went out and was $400 to fix @ 40K.
If you dont need or want bells and whisles this may be a good vehicle for you.
Wide storage bins for driver. Drives great in snow.
More comfortable seats.
Wood trim or nicer finish
More standard options
This is an excellent midsized SUV. Other than a paint imperfection on the tailgate (on it when purchased new), I have had no problems in 3 1/2 years of driving. I have the LX 4WD, and its not super quiet, maybe the EXL is better insulated. Rides through Snowbelt winters with no problem while in 2WD. The wife wanted 4WD, but I probably don't need it. Mechanically perfect so far, Nothing but reg scheduled maintenance. I get 20 MPG during my normal day to day driving.
I like the large cargo area, good for traveling with our 100 lb German shepherd, or for hauling supplies.
Having both rear windows even slightly open creates a loud buffeting noise unless the front windows are open as well. Some of the system controls could be in more logical or easily used locations.