2010 Honda Pilot SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Honda Pilot SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Honda Pilot Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 250 hp @ 5700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2010 Honda Pilot

  • The 2010 Honda Pilot's crashworthiness and adult-friendly third-row seat work in its favor, but there isn't much else about this middling crossover SUV that stands out.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Pleasant ride, perfect crash test scores, decently roomy third-row seat, smooth V6, clever interior storage features.

  • Cons

    Back-of-the-pack brakes, sluggish acceleration, unremarkable fuel economy, button-heavy center stack.

  • What's New for 2010

    After a complete redesign last year, the 2010 Honda Pilot stands pat except for standard two-stage heated seats on the EX-L model and integrated rear window sunshades on the Touring.

Full 2010 Honda Pilot Review

What's New for 2010

After a complete redesign last year, the 2010 Honda Pilot stands pat except for standard two-stage heated seats on the EX-L model and integrated rear window sunshades on the Touring.


Automotive names are often inscrutable, but the 2010 Honda Pilot's got a simple one. You can look "pilot" up in the dictionary, and here's what you get: "a leader, or one employed to command a vessel." So that's what Honda's boxy crossover SUV is supposed to be. But is the recently redesigned Pilot really a leader in this hotly contested segment?

In a word: no. Honda's sterling reputation will likely clinch plenty of Pilot sales, but we think discerning consumers who test-drive the competition will find that the Pilot is a surprisingly lackluster effort from the illustrious Japanese automaker. It's got a usable third-row seat and perfect crash-test scores, but otherwise this Honda is outclassed by more well-rounded rivals. Honda has long been a fan of the jack-of-all-trades approach to automotive design, but the Pilot is too often a pauper in a segment full of princes.

The trouble starts with the brakes -- the 2010 Honda Pilot required almost 150 feet of pavement to come to a halt in our instrumented 60-0-mph testing, which is a solid 20 feet or more behind rival crossovers. Things aren't much better under the hood: The V6 is nice and smooth under full throttle, but 250 horsepower -- 21 fewer than a V6-powered Accord -- just isn't enough oomph to move the roughly 4,400-pound Pilot around with any authority. Fuel economy, another traditional Honda strength, doesn't exactly stand out either.

Those drawn to the Pilot's distinctively boxy styling may be willing to forgive such shortcomings, but we think there are better choices. Unless your fierce Honda loyalty prevents you from trying out other makes, we'd advise you to test-drive the Ford Flex, Hyundai Veracruz, Mazda CX-9 and the GM Lambda-platform family, notably the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse before plunking down your hard-earned cash on this questionably named crossover.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Honda Pilot is a midsize crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Each is available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The LX comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, full power accessories, cruise control, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats and a seven-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio jack.

The EX adds foglights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, an in-dash six-CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, tri-zone automatic climate control and satellite radio. The EX-L upgrades to leather upholstery, heated front seats, a sunroof and a rearview mirror-mounted back-up camera. The high-end Touring model includes a power liftgate, rear-window sunshades, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system, a USB audio interface, and a navigation system with voice recognition and an integrated back-up camera.

There are no available options on LX or EX models. Optional on the EX-L is a DVD rear entertainment system that's packaged with a 10-speaker audio system. The DVD system is the only option on Touring models.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Honda Pilot is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 250 hp and 253 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only available transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all Pilot models are available with an all-wheel-drive system that automatically apportions power to the rear wheels -- up to 70 percent -- when front slippage occurs. This system also has a driver-selectable "lock" feature that routes the maximum 70 percent of torque to the rear wheels at speeds below 19 mph.

In performance testing, we clocked a Pilot Touring from zero to 60 mph in a pokey 9.7 seconds, a full second or two behind many rivals. Fuel economy is aided by Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which shuts down half of the V6's cylinders when they're not needed, but it's still just average for this segment at 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined (16/22/18 for AWD models).


Standard safety equipment includes stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Antilock disc brakes are also standard, but they don't do a very good job in panic stops, requiring 149 feet to halt the Pilot from 60 mph -- 18 feet longer than the mid-pack Toyota Highlander, for example. In government crash tests, the Pilot performed flawlessly, scoring a perfect five stars in frontal and side-impact testing, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety likewise awarded the Pilot its top "Good" rating for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashes.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2010 Honda Pilot's interior layout is rugged-looking, in keeping with the boxy exterior. However, as in the Accord, the Pilot's center stack is littered with small buttons that take awhile to get used to. Materials quality isn't that great either -- in contrast to the Veracruz's almost Lexus-like dash, for example, the Pilot's consists of roughly grained hard plastic. On the bright side, the navigation system is one of the best in the business once you figure out how to use it, and thoughtful storage areas and cubbies abound.

Out back, the Pilot boasts a third-row seat that's actually inhabitable by adults -- no small feat in this midsize segment that's full of third-row penalty boxes. Both the second and third rows are let down by low cushions, though, forcing even moderately long-legged passengers to adopt a knees-up riding position. Larger rival crossovers like the Flex and Chevrolet Traverse offer superior third-row accommodations. Prepped for cargo, the Pilot can take on 87 cubic feet of stuff -- technically less than most rivals, but its boxy shape makes it seem bigger.

Driving Impressions

A lack of low-end torque from the V6 makes the 2010 Honda Pilot feel rather flat-footed off the line. Passing power isn't much better, as Honda's VTEC technology uncharacteristically fails to bring the V6 to life at higher rpm, no doubt a consequence of the Pilot's hefty curb weight. The feel of the brake pedal is confidence-inspiring, but the brakes perform unacceptably in panic-stop situations. On the plus side, the soft suspension affords a comfortable ride over broken pavement and on the highway, though this does result in rather ponderous handling on curvy roads.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Don't buy this suv

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Honda Pilot LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

If you want to be left on the side of the road waiting for a tow, purchase this SUV. The first time the engine misfired and broke down the truck was 3 months old. We thought nothing of it, but the 2nd time it was 3 years old so we investigated and found out about the class actions suite. (Google Honda Pilot class action suite misfire) Nothing like being on a road trip to the north for Christmas fully packed with a baby and a small child and breaking down in rural PA. After the truck was repaired and Christmas was over I drove it straight to a Ford dealer and traded it for new Explorer. I will never purchase another Honda.

Bought a 2010 brand new

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We drove every midsize SUV there was available and it came down to the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot. The Toyota drove better, more like a car, but it only seated 7 people. The Honda was closer to real 4WD (still not real but close) and seated 8...a real 8 full sized adults. Some that seated 7 really only seated 5 adults and 2 kids in the 3rd row. In the end we needed the full 8 seats and while the interior does not have much style to it, it is functional. I wish I would have waited another year as Bluetooth became a standard interior feature that was only available on the Touring in 2010. Other than that this is a great midsize SUV to own.

Very good vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Honda Pilot Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav, Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We bought new in 12/2009, so have had for 3.5 years and only have 30k miles on, so mostly city driving. Never been in the shop except for oil and tires. Tires are 60k Michelins that wore out at 28k, but Michelin prorated replacement. It is a well thought out car when compared to competitors and much better value than the competitors. Engine is adequate, but certainly not a V8. Mileage is a little below represented, but likely 10% Ethanol in Gas is largely to blame. Thanks government. Get 21 Hwy and 16 City. Very stable on Hwy and great in snow. Third row is great and large carrying capacity when both rows down. Would definitely purchase again.

Love my honda pilot!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Honda Pilot EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We bought our Honda Pilot in May 2012, and absolutely love it! It's super roomy and there is so much space in the back (3rd row seats down) that we went on a road trip with 2 little kids and still had plenty of room to put more luggage in the back. I take it out to construction jobsites and love how it drives like a truck through rough terrain, but yet it feels smooth and sturdy when I'm on the freeway. This is an SUV we are going to keep until the wheels fall off. If you have little kids, you might want to buy seat covers if you have the cloth seats, as they do tend to stain easily.

The honda pilot is boring

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Honda Pilot Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

It's a reliable and useful SUV, but for the amount of money this car is, it should be a lot nicer. The interior is very boring with absolutely no trace of any luxury. Also, our navigation system is completely messed up and takes us on the most bizarre, out of the way routes.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

There are better options out

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Honda Pilot Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav, Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

It handles like a truck and not an SUV on a uni-body chassis as claimed. It is under powered and not very responsive. I travel for work and have had other SUV's that put Pilot to shame in terms of performance. DVD navigation is already outdated, don't pay for it, use your phone and have better technology. Voice recognition is horrible. No other way to add/delete/pair phones. I rented a Toyota and it took less than 15 seconds to learn how and pair a phone. Plus it played music through BT. Sound system in this "loaded" Pilot sounds horrible. Honda will not be on our short list when it's time to replace. They've lost touch with what's important to consumers, hence Civic redesign.

Talk About The 2010 Pilot

2010 Honda Pilot Discussions See all Started By

my 2010 pilot is having issues with VSA, VTM-4 and check engine lights. In August they all came on for one day and until November they've stayed off. It did it for 2 days then off but now they're back...

I have an 2010 Honda Pilot and I have changed the panoramic glass twice do to minor sand grains or tiny rocks cracking the glass. When this has happened, my speed was not over 50 mph....

Can you guys give some constructive thoughts? We have 2 sons, 6ft each, so the Pilot's legroom is so much more accommodating. The Santa Fe navigation systems seems more advanced on the 2010. Also, ...

Read more about the 2010 Honda Pilot

Gas Mileage


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