Spacious and comfortable cabin, oodles of useful interior storage, quiet and smooth ride, nifty gauges, excellent iPod connection.
Unacceptable braking distance, underpowered with average fuel economy, hopeless cruise control, cluttered center stack.
It looks like a rolling Pilgrim hat. It looks like a shoebox with a belt buckle on the front. It looks like a Pathfinder with the face of a Pokemon.
In our time with the 2009 Honda Pilot, we thought it looked like a lot of things, many of which involved buckles, but few of which were complimentary. However, we also think the CR-V looks silly and that the Civic's interior is bizarre, and yet those are flying off Honda's shelves. Perhaps we just don't get it, but it's still a safe bet that styling doesn't sell Hondas — it's their consistent well-rounded nature that normally sets them apart from the competition. Other brands may offer more of this or more of that, but Hondas tend to offer the most balanced mix of it all.
So does the completely redesigned 2009 Pilot follow this trend? In many ways, the answer is yes. Driven back to back with its top competitors, the Pilot definitely seems to walk a typical middle ground — some are sportier, some are comfier, some offer more space, but the Pilot strikes a good balance that should make it attractive to a great many buyers. Plus, there are several features that set it apart from the pack.
Unfortunately, there are three nasty strikes against the Pilot that send this big hitter in Honda's lineup back to the bench. What could have been an easy vehicle to recommend instead became one that we can't. We walked away ultimately disappointed by the 2009 Honda Pilot...and it had nothing to do with the fact that it looks like a Pilgrim hat.
Don't worry, you won't have to wade through loads of text to discover what those three strikes are — they all reside within this category. Strike one is the 3.5-liter V6 that packs only 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. That's only 5 lb-ft more and 18 hp less than a V6-powered Honda Accord that weighs 1,000 pounds less and isn't shaped like a wind-splattering box. At the test track, our four-wheel-drive test Pilot went from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 9.7 seconds, which is about 2 seconds slower than just about every other large-ish three-row crossover.
In the real world, the powertrain feels adequate around town, but it thoroughly hits a wall when charging up an on-ramp or during freeway passing. On even mild hills, the usual two-gear downshift from the five-speed automatic isn't enough to keep up. A dim-witted cruise control system magnifies this, as it plays tag with the desired speed rather than maintaining it.
We could probably live with this lackluster performance if it came with best-in-class fuel economy. It doesn't, so strike two. Even with Honda's fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system (known as VCM) that shuts down two or three cylinders (depending on driving conditions), the Pilot 4WD still nets an EPA fuel economy average of 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. That's identical to GM's Acadia/Enclave/Outlook triplets that are larger, more powerful and ultimately better-rounded than the Honda.
Most distressing, however, are the braking distances exhibited by our Pilot at the test track. The Pilot came to a halt from 60 mph in 149 feet — that's 15-20 feet longer than most competitors. There's strike three, and we simply cannot recommend a vehicle that stops in such a distressing distance (other than a heavy-duty pickup). In regular driving, the brakes actually feel good, with a firm, reassuring pedal, but it's a false sense of security. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton pegged most of the blame on the Pilot's mud-and-snow-rated tires that offer little bite on the pavement, but he also noted that there was significant fade after only three stops, in typical Honda fashion.
This is all a shame since the 2009 Honda Pilot is otherwise a rather pleasant crossover to drive. The steering is on the slow side, but it's well-weighted and precise enough with none of the artificial, over-boosted feel of several competitors. Handling in general is good, and at the test track Walton described the Pilot as being (comparatively) playful and enthusiastic. Nevertheless, it does feel rather large and more than one person described it negatively as "trucky."
While the Pilot falls flat on its buckled face in the performance category, it scores big time here. The suspension sops up road imperfections well, without feeling floaty or disconnected from the road. Despite its boxy shape, the Pilot is also noticeably quiet, even at 80 mph on a windy Interstate 15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Credit lots of sound insulation and tires that are designed more for being quiet than gripping the pavement.
The seats also drew accolades regarding our editors' posteriors. The driver seat offers a good mix of comfort and support, while providing an excellent range of adjustment in concert with the tilt-telescoping steering wheel. Second- and third-row seating is also comfy, with an elevated cushion that supports occupants' legs and provides additional space. And in spite of the elevated seat height, both rows offer excellent headroom. Even a 6-foot-3 editor fit reasonably well in the third row, which further benefits from dedicated air vents.
With 55 buttons and/or knobs, our fully loaded Pilot Touring with rear entertainment system looks as if its dash has been lifted from the space shuttle Discovery. Despite some initial shock, though, the audio and navigation systems' controls quickly become intuitive, with a number of different ways to do any single task — dedicated buttons, multipurpose control knob or voice commands. The climate controls are needlessly busy, however, and the rear entertainment controls certainly don't help the clutter. Get a non-Touring Pilot, and you can drop 20 buttons.
Elsewhere, the interior is a model of versatility and practicality. In particular, the innovative center console features a deep storage compartment separated into three parts (one for cupholders) with a sliding cover that stops at each part and serves as a useful flat surface between the seats when fully closed. There are also two bins in the front doors, a storage shelf above the glovebox and several other compartments throughout the cabin.
In terms of cargo space, the 2009 Honda Pilot can easily hold a set of golf clubs or two carry-on rolling suitcases behind the raised third row. With it lowered, the Pilot can hold 47 cubic feet of stuff, while dropping both rear rows nets 87 cubes — a bit smaller than GM's triplets or the Mazda CX-9, but the boxy shape lends a very useful space. Installing child safety seats — both rear-facing and forward-facing — was easy, and the sliding second row was particularly welcome.
Design/Fit and Finish
The Pilot drew polarizing opinions in this regard. Some think the roughly textured black plastic that covers much of the dash looks and felt cheap, while others appreciate its low sheen and view it as a conscious effort to make the cabin feel more rugged. It also seems unlikely to be a cost-cutting move by Honda (as cheap plastics always are), since the rest of the cabin is of such high quality. For instance, those 55 buttons feel especially well-crafted and substantial. Kudos also should go to the gauges that are both crystal clear and pretty nifty-looking.
Who should consider this vehicle
Someone looking for a family-friendly crossover with a more masculine design scheme inside and out. They should be comfortable with lackluster power, however, and be aware that the Pilot's standard tires contribute to poor braking.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2009 Honda Pilot Overview
The 2009 Honda Pilot is offered in the following submodels: SUV. Available styles include EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A). Pilot models are available with a 3.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 250 hp, depending on engine type. The 2009 Pilot comes with four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic. The 2009 Pilot comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2009 Honda Pilot?
Save up to $300 on one of 55 used 2009 Honda Pilots for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $9222 as of Dec 16, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 64 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2009 Honda Pilot trim styles:
The 2009 Honda Pilot Touring is priced around $13283 with average odometer reading of 125492 miles.
The 2009 Honda Pilot EX-L is priced around $12416 with average odometer reading of 116231 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. 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.
Is the 2009 Honda Pilot a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2009 Honda Pilot and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2009 Pilot featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2009 Honda Pilot? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2009 Honda Pilot and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2009 Pilot 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2009 Pilot.
Vehicle Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Review Well, I have had my pilot since 09. I have enjoyed it so far, with a few exceptions. Around 80,000 miles my engine started misfiring. And I got a check engine light that came on. I took it to autozone were they pulled a code. The code confirmed my thoughts, it was a missfire in two of my spark plugs. I decided to save a little money and replace them myself. Figured how much trouble could it be. I pulled the plugs and two of the plugs seem to have been worn excessively. I started to do some research online only to find out that a lawsuit against Honda about this problem. Apparently the piston rings would shift and allow oil to enter the piston chamber, causing pre mature wear on the plugs and excessive oil consumption. Honda knows of the problem and is supposed to fix it. I brought this to the attention of dealership I frequently visit. I was told because I replaced the plugs and code was cleared I just had to wait until it happens again. Since that incident both catalic converters have failed, why you ask well because they have been coated with oil. By the way that will be a $1400 job please. Also, my Honda pilot if it sits running while parked for over a minute , and then I press the accelerator it blows out a large amount of smoke. I have since brought that up to the dealership. The mechanic told me I needed a new engine! Well, I brought up the leaking piston rings, the lawsuit etc. I was then told " That now I need to do an oil consumption test". Apparently burning three quarts of oil between oil changes is "normal" according to Gunn Honda. I haven't changed the catalic converters on my pilot yet because I figured it would be a waste of money if they are going to get covered with oil and go out again ;I may want to wait. By not changing them keeps my fuel management system from working properly. For those who need further explanation if you see the green "ECO" light on! You are running on three cylinders and not six, which is "supposed" to be increasing your gas mileage. So if you are thinking of buying a used one understand this might be what you are getting. I will say other than that problem I have really enjoyed the ride and comfort of the pilot. If the new ones didn't look like the Honda Odyssey so much I might have upgraded.
2009 Honda Pilot inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Honda Pilot for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 1222 new and 1154 used and CPO 2009 Pilots listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 8995 and mileage as low as 54353. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2009 Honda Pilot. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 420 on a new, used, or CPO 2009 Pilot available from one of 2806 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2009 honda pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), 5-speed automatic, regular unleaded 18 combined MPG 16 city MPG/22 highway MPG
2009 honda pilot Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A), 5-speed automatic, regular unleaded 18 combined MPG 16 city MPG/22 highway MPG
2009 honda pilot LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), 5-speed automatic, regular unleaded 18 combined MPG 16 city MPG/22 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2009 Honda Pilot?
Available Honda Pilot 2009 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System, Elite w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment System, EX-L w/Navigation, EX-L w/Honda Sensing, Touring w/Navigation and Rear Entertainment, EX-L w/Rear Entertainment System, SE, EX-L, EX w/Honda Sensing, EX-L w/Rear Entertainment, Touring, Special Edition, Value Package, EX, LX
Exterior Colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, White Diamond Pearl, Obsidian Blue Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Steel Sapphire Metallic, Black Forest Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Nimbus Gray Metallic, Dark Amber Metallic, Steel Blue Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Starlight Silver Metallic, Formal Black, Billet Silver Metallic, Nimbus Grey Metallic, Amazon Green Metallic, Desert Rock Metallic, Aberdeen Green Metallic, Dark Cherry Pearl, Formal Black II, Taffeta White, Sage Brush Pearl, Havasu Blue Metallic, Mocha Metallic, Bali Blue Pearl, Midnight Blue Metallic, Redrock Pearl, Sandstone Metallic, Sterling Grey Metallic, Dark Cherry Pearl II
Interior Colors: Gray leather, Black leather, Gray cloth, Beige leather, Gray, Grey cloth, Beige cloth, Black cloth, Saddle cloth, Olive cloth, Blue cloth, Saddle, Fern
Popular Features: Heated seats, Keyless Entry/Start, Remote Start, Blind Spot Monitoring, 5000lb Towing Capacity, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Post-collision safety system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Cooled Seats, Upgraded Headlights, 3500lb Towing Capacity, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Third-row seating, Tire Pressure Warning, Towing Hitch, Trip Computer, Alarm, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Back-up camera, Leather Seats, Sunroof/Moonroof, AWD/4WD, Rear Entertainment System, Bluetooth, Navigation, Parking sensors, Power Liftgate/Trunk, USB Inputs
Engine/Mechanics: 6 cylinders
Fuel Types: regular unleaded
Drivetrains: all wheel drive, four wheel drive, front wheel drive