2011 Honda Pilot Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Pleasant ride, decently roomy third-row seat, smooth V6, clever interior storage features, perfect crash test scores.
- Poor braking performance, sluggish acceleration, unremarkable fuel economy, button-heavy center stack.
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.
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.
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
2011 Honda Pilot models
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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat4 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.4%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestMarginal
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
Used 2011 Honda Pilot Overview
The Used 2011 Honda Pilot is offered in the following submodels: Pilot SUV. Available styles include EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Touring 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav, Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Touring 4dr SUV w/Nav, Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and EX-L 4dr SUV w/Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Honda Pilot models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 250 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Honda Pilot comes with four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Honda Pilot?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Honda Pilot trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L is priced between $10,995 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 71678 and182004 miles.
- The Used 2011 Honda Pilot Touring is priced between $18,998 and$21,998 with odometer readings between 88259 and127206 miles.
- The Used 2011 Honda Pilot LX is priced between $15,990 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 72693 and105415 miles.
- The Used 2011 Honda Pilot EX is priced between $18,998 and$18,998 with odometer readings between 99198 and99198 miles.
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Which used 2011 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) 2011 Honda Pilot for sale near. There are currently 21 used and CPO 2011 Pilots listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $10,995 and mileage as low as 71678 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 2011 Honda Pilot.
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Should I lease or buy a 2011 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.