2011 Honda Pilot SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 250 hp @ 5700 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Honda Pilot

  • The 2011 Honda Pilot has plenty of family-friendly appeal with excellent crash safety scores and a roomy third row. But outside of that, it comes up as merely average.

  • Safety
  • Pros

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

  • Cons

    Poor braking performance, sluggish acceleration, unremarkable fuel economy, button-heavy center stack.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Honda Pilot returns mostly unchanged from last year. Navigation is now available on the EX-L trim level and a rear entertainment system is now included on the Touring model.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (14 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Not impressed

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Vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

After years of hearing how everyone LOVED their Honda Pilot, we broke down two years ago and bought a 2011 EX-L with 22,000 miles on it. After 4 months, the sunroof started to leak.As soon as the 36K mile warranty ran out, transmission issues. 3 months ago, more transmission issues. Last month, brand new battery went dead 3x in a week. Took the battery back but it checked ok as did alternator. Dealership was stumped said it was fine. Left me stranded and having to call tow truck twice. Turns out - another dealership 4 hours from home where I happened to be stranded - found an A/C switch was malfunctioning causing battery drain. Can't wait to find a replacement. It won't be a Honda.

Transmission problems on a new

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Vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I am extremely disapppointed at the quality of Honda. I had purchased a 2011 honda pilot EXL as a family vehicle in October of 2011. With 9200 miles on it I already have a transmission problem. Luckily I bought extended care on the vehicle, but this is the second time in less than 1 year. First time they had to replace a valve and now they are saying they have to replace the transmission. To top it they say it will take 10 days to replace the transmission but will pay me only for 6 days of rental. This is my only car. Any ideas as to who I can go to for help.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Just ok

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Vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Overall, I was disappointed in the Pilot. I purchased a 2011 EX-L. What disappointed me the most was the poor gas mileage for a relatively weak engine for the size of the vehicle. I was barely getting 17MPG overall. I bought the SUV for the size, it is big and can carry a lot of cargo. The ride is good, but very stiff. I had no major problems, but there was a constant allignment issue that I had to have fixed several times. I would not recommend because I feel there are much better other similiar vehicles available for the same money.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Like it so far...

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Vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I've had it for about a week now and my family loves it. I've only driven sports coupes and sedans up to this point so the fun-factor is definitely lacking. But it is a very comfortable car for a fairly large family (have a 6 year old and 5 year old, expecting another in December).

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Great change of pace at

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Vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Been driving a '98 Explorer, '99 Olds Silhouette, (Pilot replaced), and my wife's '08 Tribute; what a change. Looking for something to give us driveability, comfort, roominess that could replace a minivan, but yet give us the versatility of a SUV. Enter the Pilot. After researching and driving the Equinox, Edge, Acadia, CX-9, Santa Fe, Murano, Highlander and Explorer, the Pilot just offered so much more for the value. Our first Honda, we have been very pleased. A much roomier, comfortable vehicle the Pilot is heads above the competition. Comforatable quite rider, great handling and reasonable mileage, I would highly recommend the Pilot.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

Middle/end of the pack? waitaminute

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Vehicle: 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Traded an '08 RDX for an '11 EX-L 12/22/10. Came close to ignoring the Pilot after reading the editors review. We had an '05, so visited the local Honda dealer for a test drive. Bought it immediately after. Here is my take after a 1200 mile round trip from GA to FL (7.5 hrs ea way). Performance, acceleration, handling, and braking are fine. It is relatively quiet, quite comfortable, and a pleasure to drive on a long trip. We got 22.8 mpg with a new engine & cruise set @ 77-83. Center stack does have a lot of buttons; but, the layout is quite logical rendering it a non-issue. The vehicle also features outstanding reliability and owner satisfaction over the long term (check Consumer Reports).

Full 2011 Honda Pilot Review

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Honda Pilot returns mostly unchanged from last year. Navigation is now available on the EX-L trim level and a rear entertainment system is now included on the Touring model.


At a glance, the 2011 Honda Pilot would seem to do a fine job as a family hauler. There's plenty of space for kids and cargo, it boasts excellent crash scores and comes with Honda's sterling reputation for reliability. Yet, there are three key areas that send the Pilot to the back of the pack: its sluggish acceleration, weak brake performance and middling fuel economy. Any one on their own could be forgivable, but together, they conspire to set this Pilot adrift in a sea of very worthy competitors.

On the bright side, Honda has made a point of giving the Pilot third-row accommodations roomy enough for actual adults to fit back there; if you're looking for a minivan alternative, this one might just work out. Traditional Pilot traits like a well-cushioned ride, a smooth powertrain and optional four-wheel drive are also present and accounted for. This year's sees only minor changes in a couple of feature availabilities -- navigation is now an option on EX-L models and a rear DVD entertainment system is now included on the top-of-the-line Touring trim.

In sum, we think the 2011 Honda Pilot is an adequate choice for a midsize or large crossover SUV. But more savvy consumers who test-drive the competition will likely find that the Pilot comes up a bit short -- sterling reputation or not. The 2011 Ford Flex is a great all-around contender in this arena, offering a more comfortable interior, more features and improved performance. The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse (and its Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia twins), 2011 Hyundai Veracruz, 2011 Mazda CX-9 and 2011 Toyota Highlander are also solid picks. It might seem atypical to say it, but this Honda just isn't a very competitive pick in its class.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Honda Pilot is a midsize crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Each is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The LX comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, rear privacy glass, a trailer hitch, automatic headlights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, front and rear air-conditioning, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats, and a seven-speaker audio system with an auxiliary audio jack and CD/MP3 player.

The EX adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, painted body molding (versus black plastic), roof rails, heated exterior mirrors, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), steering-wheel audio controls, tri-zone automatic climate control, an in-dash six-CD changer, and satellite radio. The EX-L upgrades to leather upholstery and steering wheel, heated front seats, power passenger seat, a sunroof, increased sound deadening, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated back-up camera. Optional on the EX-L is a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a voice-activated navigation system bundled with Bluetooth, an iPod interface and a 10-speaker premium audio system.

Both the EX-L's optional features are included on the high-end Touring model, which further adds a power liftgate, tire-pressure indicators, driver memory functions and rear-window sunshades.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Honda Pilot is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 250 horsepower 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 maximum 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. Still the Pilot's EPA estimates of 17 city/23 highway mpg and 19 mpg combined (16/22/18 for AWD models) are merely average for this segment.


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 a very long 149 feet to halt the Pilot from 60 mph. Only vehicles without ABS or heavy-duty trucks tend to match that distance, which is at least 20 feet longer than most competitors.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, the Pilot earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for overall side crash protection.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

Mimicking the 2011 Honda Pilot's utilitarian exterior styling, the interior features a rugged and blocky theme. Like many current Honda vehicles, the center stack is packed with far too many small buttons and controls. Operation of these controls is made a bit easier by a logical layout, but it still takes some time to get used to this needlessly complicated setup.

The Pilot also keeps stride with the competition with its roomy third-row seats. In a segment where third rows are meant for child-size passengers only, the Honda Pilot is one of the few that can accommodate adults in relative comfort. Unfortunately, though, the seat cushions for the second and third rows are too low, forcing longer legged passengers into a squatting, knees-up position. The larger Ford Flex and Chevy Traverse are much more comfortable in this regard.

With the second and third row seats stowed, the 2011 Honda Pilot can hold up to 87 cubic feet of cargo, which is technically less than some rivals, but its boxy shape accepts bulkier items with ease. For smaller items, there are plenty of thoughtful storage bins and pockets throughout the cabin.

Driving Impressions

In terms of performance, the 2011 Honda Pilot is burdened by a lack of power and a hefty curb weight. Acceleration off the line feels anemic and even Honda's VTEC engine technology does little to help higher in the rev range. On curvy roads, the Pilot also feels rather cumbersome. However, on choppy city pavement its soft suspension tuning pays dividends as it readily soaks up ruts and bumps.

The Pilot's brake pedal has a positive feel, which may make it seem confidence-inspiring on a brief dealership test-drive. In our testing, however, that positive feel ran counter to the Pilot's rather long stopping distances.

Talk About The 2011 Pilot

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs