Since I first test drove this SUV in 2004 and now in 2006, what a difference! The interior is roomy and set up for everyone's comfort. I am tall and it's just perfect for all size people. I bought the 2007 model.
We purchased this car in 2010 with 55k miles. We were shopping for a lower-end EX or even an LX, but the wife didn't like the colors of the other Pilots on the lot that were EX/LX. We ended up with the [more expensive] EX-L because of the color.
The car was initially operated in RI, and we used it in VT. It was involved in an accident that showed up on CarFax prior to our ownership (which was disclosed by the dealer), but was repaired to a high level, so I was OK with the purchase.
We expected a growing family, so we wanted a larger vehicle, with high safety ratings, and large cargo capacity. We also wanted to tow a pop-up camper with it in the future. AWD was a must because of the snow that was expected annually in Vermont.
We quickly noticed that the Pilot was a great long-distance cruiser, and very comfortable to boot. The engine was a little overwhelmed at times due to the large bulk of the Pilot, but overall was up to the task. Fuel economy was around 18-19 mpg all the time - maybe 20 on the highway if you were really gentle. AWD was great in the snow, especially with a set of snow tires (a prerequisite for VT winter driving). Towing, however, was another matter. Hills were to be feared, and the engine was over-taxed, all the time. Acceleration with a 1,700 lb trailer was unacceptable. The brakes always seemed to be soft and not incredibly powerful, pedal pressure seemed not in line with braking power. This, of course, was amplified while towing.
Also worth noting - when adding a tow hitch - be certain to clean the threads on the RH side before attempting to install the bolts - if the bolts get bound up, then you have a high likelyhood of breaking the welded capture nut loose on the inside of the frame rail. To correct this issue requires removal of the entire 2nd and 3rd row of the interior, and making a 3" hole in the cargo area floor to access the loose nut.
Maintenance was relatively simple, and the minder on the dash made it easy to keep track of. I performed all of the maintenance on the car, and my only complaint was that when the oil filter was removed, the oil would drain on the front subframe, making a mess. All other maintenance (including the timing belt/water pump at 105k) was straightforward and uncomplicated. I did NOT like needing to replace the rear VTM-4 differential fluid every 15k miles, though... that seemed really excessive - especially since it requires a GALLON of Honda fluid at $40 a gallon.
Now, on to the problems:
1.) While every car in Vermont will develop rust from the salt eventually, the Pilot did a relatively decent job at resisting it. When we finally traded it in, the underbody was pretty clean for a VT car. However, the door moldings retained dirt, sand, and filth really badly, and I don't want to know what the steel doors looked like underneath.
2.) June, 2014 - At about 120k, the lower portion of the right rear knuckle on the car fractured, leaving the lower mount of the shock dangling in place. Had I not noticed it immediately, it would have cut the tire. Honda did not have a single replacement part anywhere in the country, and I was forced to replace it with a used component. The replacement of that component required removal of all of the suspension and brakes in that corner of the car and a $900 repair bill. Keep in mind that this is a cast-iron part, and should be good for the life of any vehicle.
3.) November, 2014 - At 130k, the power steering rack began to leak badly, despite two proper fluid maintenance services having been performed since 2010. Replacement of this component is also excessively labor intensive - requiring 15 hours of labor to remove. I was not happy about this. This was a $1700 repair.
4.) January, 2015 - The final nail in the coffin for the Pilot was that the rear differential began to howl at any speed above 35-40 mph. This was despite the fact that the fluid changes had been performed regularly, with the expensive Honda fluid. Research showed that this would be a $1000-$1500 repair, with a used differential. We got rid of it for a 2011 Kia Sorento SX.
I've had LOTS of cars because I quickly get bored of them. I came across a deal on my 2007 Pilot EXL used in July 2015. It was a one owner and had been hit in the rear but repaired so I got it for $4000. I have taken long road trips, and it's my daily commuter, about 50 miles a day stop and go city and highway driving. This SUV does everything I need it to do. It's got speed on the highway even at 70 I can punch it to pass and it reacts quickly. Mine has leather and the seats are very comfortable and I am a big guy (6' and 250) I have plenty of head/leg room. Nice big armrest. Lots of storage. I have AWD and this thing will NOT get stuck, but I have all terrain tires. I've only had it 9 months but I love it just as much as the day I bought it. Has 240,000 miles and drives like new because the previous owner kept timing belt and all maintenance up to date. I plan on getting a good 300k easy. I wrote my novella here hope it helps! :)