2006 Honda Pilot Review

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior with eight-passenger seating, versatile storage and cargo-hauling abilities, many standard features, comfortable ride, smooth power delivery.
  • Mediocre towing capacity, feels big behind the wheel, can't combine rear DVD player with navigation system.
List Price Range
$4,499 - $6,999

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Edmunds' Expert Review

One of the best crossover SUVs available, the 2006 Honda Pilot is an excellent choice for large, active families in need of versatility.

Vehicle overview

The Pilot is Honda's long-awaited reply to America's massive appetite for midsize SUVs. In creating the Pilot, Honda's goal was to build the ultimate American family adventure vehicle. To meet the challenge, the Pilot SUV is equipped with seating for eight, a powerful V6 engine, a versatile interior, capable road handling and a reasonable level of off-road ability. It's also tempered with Honda's traditional strengths in dependability, quality and safety.

Third-row seating is all the rage with midsize crossovers and SUVs, and the Pilot isn't one to shirk from peer pressure. The third row is virtually the same size as the MDX's, but in this case it has three sets of adjustable headrests and three-point seatbelts. Legroom is tight at 30.2 inches, so it's best to limit the third row to children. Lowering the second- and third-row seats reveals an impressively large 90.3-cubic-inch cargo hold. Because of the Pilot's wide stance, there's sufficient clearance between the wheel wells to place wide items flat on the floor. If the second-row seats are in use, cargo capacity is 48.7 cubic feet. With the third row up, there's still enough room for grocery bags, baby paraphernalia or a set of golf clubs.

At more than 4,400 pounds, the 2006 Honda Pilot isn't a lightweight vehicle. And in terms of dimensions, it's wider than, and just as long as, an Explorer. Acceleration is more than adequate, however, thanks to the 255-hp V6. It's equipped with Honda's VTEC system, which gives the engine a wide power band and better-than-average fuel economy. And starting this year, you can reap additional fuel savings by selecting a front-wheel-drive (2WD) Pilot with the Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system. An electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system is available, and it turn this Honda SUV into an excellent snow vehicle.

If you are shopping for a midsize SUV, this is one you won't want to skip over. Besides offering solid engineering and construction inside and out, the Honda Pilot is more intelligently packaged than many of its competitors: One large, comfortable cabin with seating for eight and one long list of standard features with a minimum of confusing options. Just choose your trim level and you're ready to go. Although high demand early on made it difficult to find a Pilot and negotiate a reasonable price for one, an influx of new competitors should make it considerably easier to bring home a 2006 Honda Pilot.

2006 Honda Pilot models

The four-door, eight-passenger 2006 Honda Pilot comes in two trim levels: LX and EX. As is typical of Honda offerings, nearly everything comes standard. This includes air conditioning; cruise control; power windows, mirrors and locks; keyless entry; a rear window defroster; and a CD player. Going with the EX adds alloy wheels, auto-off headlamps, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar, extra interior storage, automatic climate control, HomeLink and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. On EX models with leather (EX-L), a sunroof, XM Satellite Radio and heated seats come standard, with a DVD-based navigation system and a DVD entertainment system available as options. Unfortunately, buyers must choose between the nav and entertainment systems -- you can't get both. The entertainment system includes a 9-inch flip-down LCD screen.

2006 Highlights

Changes to the 2006 Honda Pilot SUV include standard side curtain airbags for all three rows and freshened headlight, taillight and wheel designs. A maintenance minder system has also been added to all Pilots. The optional navigation system now has a 7-inch screen and a reverse-parking assist camera. The EX trim level now has standard foglights this year, and EXs with leather seating get standard XM Satellite Radio. Also new this year is a front-wheel-drive Pilot with Honda's fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) feature for its V6 engine. Finally, stated power output for the Pilot's V6 engine has dropped slightly due to Honda's adoption of a new SAE horsepower-rating procedure.

Performance & mpg

All-wheel-drive Pilots come equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 244 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Two-wheel-drive models use the same engine but are upgraded with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), which increases fuel-efficiency by "shutting off" three of the engine's six cylinders during cruising and deceleration. When more performance is needed, the engine switches back to using all six cylinders. The engine's power is routed through a five-speed automatic transmission. Tow ratings are modest (a max 4,400 pounds on AWD versions), but the Pilot's fuel economy is better than that of many V8-powered SUVs.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) come standard, along with side airbags for front occupants and head-protecting side curtain airbags for all three rows. In government crash tests, the Honda Pilot earned a perfect five-star rating across the board for front- and side-impact protection. In frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Pilot received the highest rating of "Good."

Driving

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 denying the Pilot's bulk, and some drivers might find it a bit clumsy around corners. In terms of off-road ability, the 2006 Honda Pilot can take on common hazards such as boat ramps, washed-out gullies and rough roads, but not much more.

Interior

The Honda Pilot seats eight passengers. The second- and third-row seats are positioned theater-style, meaning that they are elevated to give occupants a better outside view. Legroom for second-row passengers is quite good, but the tight third row is best suited for children. Both the second and third rows are split 60/40 and can be folded flat to expand the Pilot's cargo capacity. Maximum cargo capacity is 90 cubic feet.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Honda Pilot.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Best vehicle ever!
CK,07/31/2015
EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I bought new 9/06. This SUV has everything- comfort and capacity, you can haul a lot! This pilot grew with my family! I've hauled 7 kids...5 kids and their stuff...multiple hockey bags and the hockey kids! We grew up through sports, summer and winter. The reliability of this car has been amazing! Because it will be 10 next year, I have started looking at maybe a new car. I cannot find anything out there that may hold a candle to this SUV. I didn't even mention that this baby got me through a few of the worst winters in Michigan history!!! In a foot+ of snow...I only put it in 4WD to back out my drive...then off and away through about 18" in 2!!! If you only had the 2 wheel version- you would be fine in very deep snow. It handles unbelievably well. Once on a very narrow snow covered road after bad storm there wasn't enough room for an oncoming car to pass...I pulled into the "bank" on the side of the road with the hope "we can do this"...and other car passed and I "plowed" through!! On my way again in 2WD! As everyone has said- the only maintenance...normal, brakes, tires...and very recently an alternator. The warning light went off- my husband checked- it was the alternator. He and my son changed it out for about $200! (It wasn't do-it-yourself super easy...but they managed) and we continue off every day like the "energizer bunny"! Mileage is mediocre...but considering all this vehicle has delivered over 9 years, I can forgive some frequent fill ups! Honda if you are listening- clone this vehicle...it is one of the best ever! I can update- 2018- she'll be 12 in August- and she goes every day as dependable transportation. We put about 1k in to her last year, brakes etc...one of my kids drives it- took it on a road trip with friends "up north" Michigan! They took the pilot because it was the only vehicle that would fit everyone and their stuff! I can't say enough for the Pilot and CRV of those vintage years! Excellent vehicles! Great ground clearance- milage...not great- but the vehicle is awesome! I was asked to update this review- This is the most remarkable vehicle ever! This is the oldest vehicle I've ever known to still be great! In great condition! I am sad to report a few rust "specs" on her wheel wells! (they really are specs!!!) Right now, my daughter is driving it daily! (she was 9 years old when we bought it!) We went out together one day and I drove her again...still, an amazing vehicle! My favorite vehicle of all time! I recently found out that Honda brought back the passport- more like this pilot- Kudos Honda!!! When a vehicle costs 40K- comforting to know it will stay with you for at least 10 years and you will still feel love for it!!! Honda creates a following by producing reliable vehicles that will last the test of time! It helps that they design them well- the 2006 pilot has a timeless design!
7-year owner - still pleased
jetfuture,09/03/2012
Purchased brand new in December 2005. Currently have about 53,000 miles. Replaced all brake pads and rotors at 40,000. Replaced tires at about 49,000. The unexpected maintenance has been the front suspension links at about 3 years (they are now starting to rattle again...looks like they last for 3-4 years). Cheap fix though. The condenser went bad at 6.5 years. We use the A/C quite a bit in the summer, and in the winter (defrost). Not much of a "windows down" family. Have followed the Maintenance Minder program. Replaced transmission fluid at 30,000 (did not wait for Maintenance Minder recommendation). Has plenty of zip when you really step on the gas. Get about 16/22 mpg.
You can't go wrong with a 2006 pilot
Carl,07/20/2015
EX-L 4dr SUV w/Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Over 150,000 miles on our 2006 Pilot and it still rides like a new. Changed the oil, tires and brakes that's all that has been needed. I just purchased the best SUV tires money can buy, and I'm sending it to the body shop to have the paint freshened up (no rust just faded) . I'm going to hang on to this dependable vehicle. I now have 165,000 still runs and looks like new. People that own them, love them. I'll never trade it in. New radiator in 2016. Installed new front end bushings before going on a 1600 mile trip to Gaspe QC. A great SUV. I traded the pilot in May of 2018. The odometer turned to 180,000 as I drove into the dealer parking lot. During the 90 minute drive to the dealer I was thinking about how well the pilot handled and the engine performed. Up until three days before this I had no intention of trading the pilot. Two days before this my mechanic found that the frame from behind the rear tires to the rear bumper had rotted out. Unfortunately repairing it was not an option. So I sadly had to let the Pilot go.
We love our pilot
yohahn_bravo,10/02/2014
Oir Honda Pilot is the best. It is so versatile and big yet drives like a small car. We have never brought the car into a repair shop for anything more than scheduled maintenance. I swear this car will run for ever. The interior has supportive seats and after 100k there is not a tear in the drivers seat leather not even wore out. Really good on the snow stability control barges in exactly when u need it. It is really just like a box so visibility is crazy good. Rearward visibility is as good as it gets with a back up camera. The only feature I would like on this pilot is just a little more horse power and torque it never feels stressed but I just LOVE power.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2006 Honda Pilot

Used 2006 Honda Pilot Overview

The Used 2006 Honda Pilot is offered in the following submodels: Pilot SUV. Available styles include EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV w/Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Navigation (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and EX-L 4dr SUV w/Navigation (3.5L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Honda Pilot?

Price comparisons for Used 2006 Honda Pilot trim styles:

  • The Used 2006 Honda Pilot EX is priced between $6,999 and$6,999 with odometer readings between 136166 and136166 miles.
  • The Used 2006 Honda Pilot EX-L is priced between $4,499 and$4,499 with odometer readings between 219064 and219064 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2006 Honda Pilots are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Honda Pilot for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2006 Pilots listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,499 and mileage as low as 136166 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Honda Pilot.

Can't find a used 2006 Honda Pilots you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Honda Pilot for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $12,620.

Find a used Honda for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $24,213.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda Pilot for sale - 10 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $17,795.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda for sale - 2 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $16,187.

Should I lease or buy a 2006 Honda Pilot?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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