2008 Honda Pilot SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Honda Pilot SUV

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Honda Pilot Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 244 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Honda Pilot

  • Although the aging 2008 Honda Pilot faces many newer rivals, it remains a strong choice for a midsize crossover SUV thanks to its versatility, strong reputation for quality and high safety ratings.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Eight-passenger capacity, generous storage and cargo-hauling abilities, comfortable ride, smooth power delivery, excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Rivals offer roomier third-row seats and more agile handling, can't order entertainment and navigation systems together, starting to look its age.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Honda Pilot sees two new trim levels as the Value Package replaces the LX and a new Special Edition debuts. The former boasts a few more features than the outgoing LX, while the latter is essentially a cloth-upholstered EX with a sunroof and DVD player.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (11 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Good deal

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

The reason I bought this car for reliability and it has not failed. I used it to haul my tent trailer up down the mountain ranges in British Columbia Canada and it did the job well. Hauling the trailer I got about 20 miles to a imperial gallon at about 70 miles/hr. Handling is reasonable braking is fair, fabricate interior stains easy. Not a lot of negatives other than the cost to purchase it new back in 2008.

Great family car--great value

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

After owning this great SUV for the last 3 years I just traded it in because we are downsizing. I actually made some equity in tis car which is unheard of with other cars!! Awesome car for a large family, but the mileage per gallon is very low and this SUV gets very thirsty very quickly. Gets very slippery during the rain--even with new tires.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Ok but not up to

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I sold a 4-runner when getting this, and despite it being a Honda, it has been far more problematic than it should be. I'll start with the pros though... Pros: Comfortable seats, roomy, third row, good view out, good power. Cons: Handling is boatlike around corners, road noise is more than I would have wanted, the interior has so many squeaks and rattles that I've given up having it at the dealership to fix them, various delivery defect: tire belt problem, warped rear brake rotor, multiple key FOB problems. I am hoping that the long term reliability outweighs the various downsides.

Love this truck!

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We traded in my 2001 Honda Civic for the Pilot. Like other reviewers, we looked at the MDX, Highlander etc. This was my favorite by far. I love the look of this truck vs a cross over. I feel like I have a presence on the road and I love looking at the car. The interior could be a little more fashionable It is pretty simple but it has plenty of storage space and room for all passengers. We recently had 6 adults in the car for an hour and everyone was comfortable. Comfortable, fun to drive, great leather and XM. Who wouldn't love this vehicle? I see a lot of complaining about the gas mileage. I am getting about 17- 18 mpg in city and 20 mpg if I am on the freeway. Pretty good!

Love this purchase!

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Anyone looking for a GREAT deal on an 8 passenger SUV needs to take a look at the 08 Pilot. Honda is GIVING these things away to make room for the new 09 Pilot's that hit the lots over the next week or so. I was able to get my EX-L for under the TMV price and the dealer had added pin stripes, wheel locks, mud flaps and a cargo tray. I love this vehicle. I'm in sales and have already driven 5k miles in 2 months and it's a breeze to get in and out of. Huge storage space with the 3rd row folded down. It is noisy on the highway and the body lean in corners takes a little getting used to but the overall ride is nice. I looked at the VeraCruz, Journey, Pacifica and CX-9 and the Pilot is best

Needs improvement

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Picked up my new EX-L on Saturday, by Monday the following negative traits were observed in the first fifty miles: Shudders at idle. The transmission and/or engine surges at cruising speed. Road noise is absolutely horrid at highway speeds. My eight-year-old F250 CC 4x4 is quieter. Ditto for handling. The body lean on curves and corners makes this vehicle feel like it is tipping. Even at low speeds. The aforementioned F250, with much greater height, weight, and ground clearance handles better. Suspension allows the front end to "dive" under just moderate braking. Positives: Brakes are excellent. Interior fit and finish are above average. Audio, though outdated no MP3 disc or USB.

Full 2008 Honda Pilot Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Honda Pilot sees two new trim levels as the Value Package replaces the LX and a new Special Edition debuts. The former boasts a few more features than the outgoing LX, while the latter is essentially a cloth-upholstered EX with a sunroof and DVD player.


Sensible folks who place function over form will agree that a minivan remains the most efficient mode of family transport. Quite simply, a big, front-wheel-drive box offers more passenger and cargo capacity compared to a like-sized SUV. But most image-conscious Americans find minivans seriously lacking in the cool factor -- something that SUVs, with their muscular bodies and big tires, have in spades. Those looking for a combination of minivan utility with SUV image should consider a midsize crossover SUV, such as the 2008 Honda Pilot.

At its debut back in 2003, the Pilot was one of the first midsize crossover SUVs, meaning it was (and is) car-based rather than truck-based. As such, it provides more cabin room than a truck-based ute, as well as a fully independent suspension. The latter typically provides better handling and a smoother ride than a solid rear axle setup can. Other charms of the Pilot include seating for up to eight, a strong yet fuel-efficient V6, the option of all-wheel drive and impressive crash test scores.

Now in its sixth model year, this generation of the Pilot is due for replacement (likely in 2009) and faces stiff competition in the form of newer rivals such as the spacious triplets from GM (Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook), the Toyota Highlander, the Mazda CX-9 and a pair of Hyundais -- the Santa Fe and upscale Veracruz. Of course we'd advise back-to-back test-drives of them all, but one shouldn't count the Honda out just yet. Far from being an old dog no longer in the hunt, the 2008 Honda Pilot still counts solid engineering and an enviable reputation for overall quality and resale value among its strengths. As such, it remains a sensible choice for buyers needing a jack-of-all-trades crossover SUV.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Honda Pilot is a midsize crossover SUV. Four trims are offered: Value Package, EX, EX-L and Special Edition. The Value package replaces the former LX trim and includes 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, air-conditioning (with a separate unit to cool the rear seats), cruise control, full power accessories, keyless entry, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a seven-speaker stereo with satellite radio and an in-dash CD changer.

Stepping up to the EX adds an eight-way power driver seat, extra interior storage, automatic climate control and HomeLink. Satellite radio is not available on the EX. One may also choose an EX with leather seating (EX-L), which also comes with a sunroof, satellite radio and heated front seats. A navigation system with rearview camera or a DVD entertainment system are available on the EX-L -- but you can't get both.

The Special Edition slots between the EX and EX-L in terms of pricing and equipment. It has a cloth interior, but compared to the standard EX, adds a sunroof, satellite radio, a rear DVD entertainment system and a 115-volt power outlet.

Powertrains and Performance

All Pilots are equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 244 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission is a five-speed automatic and buyers may choose between front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, which "shuts off" three of the engine's six cylinders during cruising and deceleration to improve fuel economy, comes on the FWD versions.

Fuel-economy ratings for the FWD model stand at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway for 2008. It is one of the few SUVs classified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV). Towing capacity for the Pilot is 4,500 pounds -- about 1,000 pounds greater than many crossover rivals, but well below the ratings for traditional truck-based SUVs like the Ford Explorer or Dodge Durango.


Antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard. In government crash tests, the Pilot earned perfect five-star ratings across the board for front- and side-impact protection. In frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Pilot received the highest rating of "Good."

Interior Design and Special Features

With its three-passenger third-row seat, the 2008 Honda Pilot seats eight. But that last row is best left to small kids, as legroom is tight. Cargo capacity with the second- and third-row seats lowered is respectable at 88 cubic feet. With the second-row seats in use, cargo capacity is 48 cubic feet. With all seats occupied, there's still enough room for grocery bags, baby equipment or a set of golf clubs. The cabin features good ergonomics, straightforward controls and high-quality materials, but the design is getting long in the tooth and looks dated compared to newer crossovers.

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 escaping the Pilot's bulk, and compared to more modern competitors, it can feel a bit clumsy around corners. In terms of off-road ability, the AWD Pilot can take on common hazards such as boat ramps, washed-out gullies and rough roads, but not much more.

Talk About The 2008 Pilot

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs