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Used 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L SUV Review

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L SUV.

5 star(50%)
4 star(25%)
3 star(17%)
2 star(8%)
1 star(0%)
4.2 out of 5 stars
12 reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Brian Peters,10/01/2015
EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I have owned my 2011 Pilot for two years now and have nothing but great things to say about it. The amount of cargo space and thought that went into this vehicle goes well beyond its truck like exterior. (Which I love) This SUV has places to store things behind every corner, and even has plenty of room when I have 8 people packed into it. IT never slips & slides in the rain or snow, and … has been nothing but reliable to me since I purchased it in the summer of 2013. The only thing I have had to replace is the brake pads, but that's expected in any large 3 row crossover. Its get up and go is good, but I struggle to overtake cars on the highway without really hitting the gas pedal. Overall, I would recommend this vehicle to any family that does not want a minivan, wants a bang for there buck, and wants to ride in style. My rating for the Pilot? 10/10 best car I have ever owned.
4.5 out of 5 stars
The 3rd Honda in our auto stable of 3
EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
We are expecting our 3rd child in December and neither my wife's 2010 Acura TSX nor my 2001 Honda Prelude Type SH is going to cut the mustard for our growing family. We need a vehicle that had 4WD or AWD, lots of cargo capacity, 3 rows of seats, but above all else have 3 sets of LATCHes in the 2nd row. The Pilot fit the bill perfectly. We've had it for 12 days and have already put over … 1,000 miles on it. It rides comfortably, provides decent steering feedback, has tons of passenger space & cargo space. It doesn't get the best expert reviews, but look at the consumer reviews. Drive a Pilot and you'll see that it fits your lifestyle.
4.25 out of 5 stars
2011 Pilot: A nice upgrade
EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Had this a month now (EX-L w/NAV) and am enjoying it. Yes, there are a lot of buttons on the dash, but you have a CD changer, iPod connection, XM satellite, & AM/FM radio, so I would expect that. Fortunately, these controls are easily worked with controls on the steering wheel! Built in Bluetooth is a nice feature as is the back-up camera mounted over the lic. plate. Leather seats are … comfortable and the 8-way driver's side seat is also nice. There is an issue with the moonroof not closing automatically, but I don't mind holding the button for it to close until they have a fix for it. Gas mileage is not great thus far, but I didn't expect it to be the same as my CR-V. Overall, very happy.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Great SUV
EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Overall, the Pilot is everything I expected and more. It is a solid vehicle, like most Hondas are, and it performs as advertised. It is comfortable and solid. I took it on two long trips and it performed flawlessly. My wife and I love the navigation system. It is well worth the extra cost. Gas mileage could be better. I love this car.

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L SUV

Pros & Cons

  • 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.

Full Edmunds Review: 2011 Honda Pilot SUV

What’s new

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.

Edmunds says

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

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.

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.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Honda Pilot in Virginia is:

not available