Feels slow and cumbersome to drive; lackluster braking distances; missing a few convenience and upscale safety features; some cheap interior plastics.
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Honda Pilot sees no changes.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Honda Pilot SUV
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What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Honda Pilot sees no changes.
The 2014 Honda Pilot isn't the newest kid on the block. In contrast to many recently redesigned, large crossover SUV rivals, the Pilot remains largely unchanged since the second-generation model debuted back in 2009. Its age proves to be a disadvantage in a few key areas, though the 2014 Pilot still merits consideration, especially if you need seating for eight.
The big appeal about the 2014 Pilot is space. There's plenty of room on the inside. Even the third-row seats can accommodate adults, making this a true eight-passenger vehicle. And while the Pilot's boxy architecture may not win it any style points, it allows for a more usefully shaped cargo bay and ultimately makes life more convenient: Just drop those rear seats and you're ready to load up at Costco and Home Depot.
But the Honda's bulk hurts its performance, which is a step or two behind its more fleet-footed rivals. Further, this Honda's plush ride over broken pavement is offset by lazy handling around turns. The Pilot also shows its age in regard to feature availability. For example, you can't get blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition/entry or second-row captain's chairs: useful features that are offered on competing crossovers.
Given that, we do suggest that you check out the competition. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Pathfinder both have comfortable three-row seating plus markedly more appealing interior designs. The same is true of the Chevy Traverse, which is even roomier and also capable of seating eight. If you're looking for more engaging performance, the Dodge Durango and Mazda CX-9 would be better choices. But if utility and a reputation for reliability are your primary desires, this segment's elder statesman still holds appeal.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Honda Pilot is a large, eight-passenger crossover SUV. It's sold in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring.
The 2014 Pilot's base LX trim comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats, an 8-inch center display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a rearview camera and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Pilot EX adds 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors (AWD models) and an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment).
Moving to the Pilot EX-L brings leather upholstery, a sunroof, a power liftgate, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and satellite radio. The EX-L can be had with an available rear-seat entertainment system or a voice-activated navigation system. Note that this is an either/or proposition, as they can't be had together in an EX-L.
The top-of-the-line Touring trim features both of those EX-L options, as well as roof rails, parking sensors (for the rear and front corners), driver seat memory functions, a 115-volt power outlet and a 10-speaker premium sound system as standard equipment.
Powertrains and Performance
Regardless of trim level, all 2014 Honda Pilots use the same powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque that runs through a five-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but any Pilot can be ordered with an all-wheel-drive system that automatically shifts as much as 70 percent of power to the rear wheels if the front tires begin to slip. A driver-selectable "lock" feature routes maximum torque to the rear wheels in 1st or 2nd gear at low speeds to help free a stuck Pilot.
Edmunds performance testing saw an all-wheel-drive Pilot Touring accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, while a front-wheel-drive model did it in 8.3. Both are a bit slower than average. The Pilot's EPA-estimated economy stands at 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/25 mpg highway) for front-drive models and 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/24 mpg highway) for AWD variants.
A front-drive Pilot can tow 2,000 pounds, while the all-wheel-drive models are rated for 4,500 pounds when properly equipped.
The 2014 Honda Pilot's standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is also standard, and the Touring comes with parking sensors.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Pilot came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet. This is longer than average for a midsize to large three-row crossover.
In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Pilot earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side-impact crashes. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Pilot earned the top "Good" rating in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design also earns a Good rating for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The biggest knock against the Honda Pilot's interior is the generally downmarket appearance of the cabin trim -- it's a couple steps down from the nicely appointed Honda Accord. Otherwise, the 2014 Pilot has a useful interior design with thoughtful details and clearly presented instrumentation. The standard automatic climate control helps reduce the number of buttons and knobs on the center stack, as does the 8-inch information screen for all trims. However, some of the controls have a chintzy feel and appearance.
Unlike some other three-row crossovers, the Pilot's third row provides genuinely acceptable room for adults. Unfortunately, the seat cushions for the second and third rows are too low, forcing longer-legged passengers into more of a squatting, knees-up position. The Chevy Traverse and Ford Flex are much more comfortable in this regard. That said, if you truly need eight-passenger capacity, the Pilot, along with the Traverse, is one of your few options in the crossover SUV class.
With the second- and third-row seats stowed, the Pilot can hold up to 87 cubic feet of cargo. This figure is technically less than some rivals, but the Pilot's boxy shape works to its advantage, allowing it to more easily accept bulkier items with ease. For smaller items, there are plenty of thoughtful storage bins and pockets throughout the cabin.
On the move, the 2014 Honda Pilot feels like a heavy and large vehicle. On paper, the Pilot's 250-hp V6 engine looks like enough motivation for this family SUV, but in the real world, it rarely feels like it. Some of the performance deficit is attributable to the slow-shifting five-speed automatic transmission, and some can be chalked up to the Pilot's sheer heft.
Overall agility is also in short supply. Around corners and in tight spaces, the Pilot feels cumbersome due to its slow steering and boxy dimensions. But most of the time the 2014 Pilot is reasonably pleasant to drive, with a cushy ride that readily soaks up ruts and bumps. The interior stays quiet on the highway, too.
Brief summary - If you want a predictable vehicle with good resale value, good safety and plenty of room, the 2009-2015 Honda Pilot is the right vehicle for you. If you want some comfort, good looks, updated design (Pilot hasn't changed much since 2009) and modern technology advances (touch screen navigation), look elsewhere.
Coming from previous Honda vehicles (Accord, CRV), we almost purchased the Odyssey before settling on the Pilot. Starting with the trim levels, Honda has these pre-designated so it doesn't confuse consumers. The only way to get both navigation and factory entertainment (DVD) system was the Pilot, which had a MSRP of $42k. Note that for the "top of the line" vehicle in 2014, this thing was well behind the times. Not only has there been no major updates to this Pilot since 2009 (when the first ever Samsung Galaxy smartphone was released), it was well behind the competition. The 14 Toyota Highlander came with LED's, adaptive cruise control, panoramic moonroof, blu-ray DVD player, heated steering wheel and the 12-speaker JBL system. The Honda Pilot came with regular lights, regular cruise control, regular moonroof, regular DVD player, regular steering wheel, and regular "premium" sound system. FOR ALMOST THE SAME PRICE ($42k Pilot Touring 4WD vs $43k Highlander Platinum AWD)
The Honda is very utilitarian; meaning it serves it's purpose. You want a dependable vehicle that has history of few mechanical issues, good resale value, a lot of interior passenger & cargo room, it is a good vehicle. But on top of a lack of value, it actually is uncomfortable (comparably). Hard leather seats that are far from plush, very hard-plastic interior (same materials as the base Pilot LX...) covers the interior of the vehicle, and a less-than-plush ride. Took a 19 hour road trip over Thanksgiving and it was less-than-desired comfortable, though I have been in worse vehicles. The navigation is an outdated & un-intuitive input system that requires the user to use a knob and turn to the right character, one alphabet at a time...think of a rotary phone but with the whole keyboard as possible options. Also note at 15k and 30k miles, Honda recommends the rear differential fluid to be flushed (~$80-$100 per instance) which wasn't an expected maintenance item. It's in the manual. Also for those who swear by Honda reliablity, google "Honda Pilot VCM" to read through the horror stories many Pilot owners have had with their ENGINE.
With the new re-designed 2016 Pilot's now out, you can really get a good deal on a low-mileage late model Pilot because the new one fixes a lot of the issues a lot of the old ones have. We got a decent deal (over $4k off MSRP) when we purchased the 14 Pilot 4WD, at the time of this posting new 15 Pilot 4WD Touring's could be had around the $35k mark with all incentives which is a great deal.
- Good gas mileage (23-24mpg highway is realistic)
- Aside from the VCM issue, no major concerns around reliability; a lot of over 100k mile Pilot's still on the road
- Great resale value, Honda has done a good job here
- Stellar interior room; middle row seats has much leg/hip room as a minivan...without being a minivan
- Boxy shape means flexibility to haul a lot of cargo like oversized gifts, bicycles and such
- Sound system, for being no-brand, sounds pretty decent
- Comfort, comfort, comfort...almost 2 years into ownership, the seats haven't gotten any better.
- Cheap-ish interior material; the fact the leather stains so easily to the very hard plastic that covers the interior of the vehicle from the dash to the door panels, even in the "top of the line" trim is disappointing
- Less than plush ride, especially compared to the 14 Pathfinder, 14 Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon, 14 Highlander, 14 Enclave/Traverse/Acadia and even the 14 Durango
- Old design, this thing hasn't been refreshed since 2009 when almost all its competitors have come with something new
Would I do it again? Absolutely not. Do I regret it? Not really, I am confident this vehicle will run for a long time to come and hold its value respectably. But when you itch to trade the car in almost every month because making car payments on a car that you "settle for", it isn't a good feeling.
The size and Honda reliability are what drew me to the Pilot. I've owned it a little over a year and I'm still pleased but have a few issues. The driver's side sun visor is drooping and after some research it appears this is common with numerous Honda models. The MPGs are about 19; not what Honda rated. There's a clip on the back of the middle seat that pops off. Not thinking it's good for whatever reason it was put there if it pops out when someone is in the seat.
Otherwise, the size, storage, features and drivability of the SUV are great. I enjoy driving it!
I love this vehicle!!! If you want a pilot don't get a base model go with the add- ons .We had many vehicles and I will say I've been impressed with the pilot the most . If you take a little bit of time to set up radio, phone, gps WOW!!
Towing isn't a problem for me and I tow (outdoor toys rzr, grizzly ,and 2 smaller atvs on my trailer ) . Not a problem and I have gone up Nittany mountain with ease . Kids enjoy the videos and can even play video games with the 120v outlet and easy access video /audio inputs. The lighted steps make it easy to get in and out at night. The dealership is definitely very good as well and we will probably be back for another later on down the line. And if you like being outdoor get them to throw in a tent that attachs to the back it does it all! !
Looking to lease an Odyssey for 3 years until my kids are out of car seats. Never saw myself in a minivan but 8 months ago didn't see a third kid on the way either . That being said I was offered the ...
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