2012 Honda Pilot Review
2012 Honda Pilot Review
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Used Pilot for sale
|List Price Range:||$9,150 - $20,998|
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Impressive fuel economy
- pleasant ride
- roomy third-row seat
- clever interior storage features.
- Sluggish acceleration
- some cheap interior plastics
- feels cumbersome to drive.
The 2012 Honda Pilot receives a host of changes this year. Honda has freshened up the exterior with restyled headlights and a new look for the front fascia and grille. Also on the docket this year are improved noise insulation, upgraded interior materials, a revised instrument panel, a new center stack layout, an upgraded navigation system and additional standard features. All Honda Pilots see fuel efficiency gains of 1 mpg city/2 mpg highway and 2 mpg combined, thanks to aerodynamic and powertrain improvements.
Though the 2012 Honda Pilot boasts strong fuel economy and roomy accommodations, it's outpaced by more well-rounded choices.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2012 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.35 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize SUV
Sometimes meaningful change can be achieved with just one or two thoughtful adjustments, and so it is with the 2012 Honda Pilot. For years, the Pilot was at best a mediocre alternative in a segment led by outstanding picks, but this year, the crossover gets tweaks that address its most nagging flaws. As a result, Honda's boxy hauler gains some ground, climbing the compact-SUV hierarchy to become a more appealing choice.
The Pilot's biggest shortcoming concerned unacceptably long braking distances; in this respect, its performance trailed that of rival models by a significant margin. Happily, this worrisome fault has been addressed; the 2012 Honda Pilot's braking distance shows improvement of almost 30 feet, bringing the crossover in line with segment averages. Fuel economy also gets a boost, with the 2012 model upping mileage by 1 mpg city/2 mpg highway and 2 mpg combined thanks to various efficiency tweaks made to the engine and body aerodynamics. These gains are enough to make this Honda one of the most fuel-efficient models you can choose if you're looking for a V6 midsize crossover.
These upgrades help bring the Pilot's core strengths into sharper focus. Though it may not be reflected in the dimensions you'd see on a spec sheet, this crossover's boxy shape affords it more usable space than most rivals for both passengers and cargo, with a third row that's spacious enough to seat adults. It also has agreeable ride quality in its favor.
Despite the Pilot's flurry of refinements, weaknesses remain. Its acceleration is sluggish, it can feel cumbersome to drive and some interior materials are cheaper than those found in rivals. The Dodge Durango and Mazda CX-9 all brim with more vigor off the line and are generally better to drive. Of course, these vehicles can't beat the Pilot in terms of interior spaciousness, but if that's a priority, we'd suggest considering the similarly sized Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Flex. Overall, though, the Honda Pilot is finally a worthy contender, well-rounded enough to shine as an attractive proposition in this closely fought segment.
Performance & mpg
The 2012 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 Edmunds performance testing, we clocked a Pilot Touring from a standstill to 60 mph in a slow 9.1 seconds. Fuel economy is quite good, though. The Pilot's EPA estimates of 18 mpg city/25 highway and 21 mpg combined (17/24/20 for AWD models) place it near the top of its segment.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the 2012 Pilot came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet. This is average for the class but substantially better than the poor distances we registered in past Pilots.
In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Pilot earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests saw the Pilot earning the top "Good" rating for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashes. In the Institute's roof-strength test, however, the Pilot earned a second-lowest score of "Marginal."
When it comes to performance, the 2012 Honda Pilot is hindered by a lack of power and a hefty curb weight. Off-the-line acceleration is lethargic, and we found that hilly terrain can flummox the five-speed automatic transmission -- especially when cruise control is engaged. Around corners and in tight spaces, the Pilot feels rather cumbersome due to its slow steering and boxy dimensions. However, on choppy city pavement its soft suspension tuning pays dividends, as it readily soaks up ruts and bumps. In total, the Pilot is pleasant enough to drive, but it lacks the sharpness one might expect from a Honda.
Revisions for 2012 give the current Honda Pilot a center stack that's less button-heavy than that of its predecessor. The buttons and knobs are also more logically clustered, which makes this Pilot's controls more user-friendly than those seen in last year's model. Unfortunately, there are more cheap-feeling plastics in the cabin than you'd find in the comparatively more upscale environments of its competitors.
You won't feel short-changed by the Pilot's 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 the seat cushions for the second and third rows are too low, forcing longer-legged passengers into more of a squatting, knees-up position. The larger Chevy Traverse and Ford Flex are much more comfortable in this regard.
With the second and third row seats stowed, the 2012 Honda Pilot can hold up to 87 cubic feet of cargo. It's a respectable figure, and the Pilot's boxy shape works to its advantage, allowing it to accept bulkier items with ease. For smaller items, there are plenty of thoughtful storage bins and pockets throughout the cabin.
2012 Honda Pilot models
The 2012 Honda Pilot is a midsize crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring.
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 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, painted body molding (versus black plastic), heated exterior mirrors (on AWD models), an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls and 2GB of digital music storage.
The EX-L upgrades include a sunroof, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, a rearview camera, a multi-informational display for audio and vehicle information, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio. Two optional features are offered on the EX-L: a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a voice-activated navigation system bundled with voice controls, a multi-angle rearview camera and a 15GB music server.
Both the EX-L's optional features are included on the high-end Touring model, which further adds roof rails, parking sensors, driver memory functions and a 10-speaker premium sound system.
Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Honda Pilot.
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Seven year mark - we are just getting started!
2012 Honda Pilot EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
I've had my Pilot now for seven years. The car has been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned, and I've owned 2 Hyundai's, 3 Chevies, 2 Jaguars, 2 BMWs and 1 Acura SUV. This vehicle, hands down, is the best SUV for my needs. Let's review step by step. 1. PRO: Spacious, huge SUV. I think, the only SUV with more space out there may be the Suburban. This one has a third row seat … for up to 8 passenger transport, and you'll still have some space left in the back for some bags. 2. PRO: Gas Mileage/Economy. Mine, with a healthy mix of a smaller city/highway driving, has 19.7 mpg average on display. Highway easily gets 23 mpg, and if you fill your tank literally to the brim, you will be able to go around 400 miles on one gas tank. I've seen as much as 425 and as little as 375 highway. That's ridiculously good. 3. PRO: Utility/Towing. Yes, this vehicle is perfectly capable of towing a small trailer filled with firewood, mulch or lawn equipment. I'm quite sure I've towed around 1 ton before. You need to be gentle with heavy loads, and absolutely follow the maintenance schedule and have your timing belt service every 100,000 miles! 4. PRO: All-Terrain Capability. Absolute champion! I recall being in a freak snow storm, where roads went from nothing on them to 2.5 feet of snow. Seemingly, my vehicle was one of the very few that actually got places with no problem, just hit that wonderful 4x4 differential button, and off you go. This thing is a beast when it comes to terrible driving conditions on the road. I would not recommend doing any crazy off-roading on it, that's not what it's built for. However, on-road driving is just excellent, regardless of how crappy your tires are. 5. PRO: Reliability. Aside from recommended maintenance, you will have a vehicle that's "turn the key and go". Yes, your key fob will most likely fall apart after 7 years. Hopefully you'll get two of them to start. But overall, I have had absolutely no problems. Windshield wipers, tires, brakes and fluids will be all the things to worry about, other than that not much else. I'll share a few things under "cons", but those are not "must-fix" items. 6. PRO: Comfort. Yep, even with cheap cloth seats this thing floats from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma like a boat, with minimal driving fatigue to speak of. Driver and passenger seats are exceptional, the third row not so much - it's for occasional use only, you'll have your third row folded for extra space in the back most of the time. The vehicle is heavy, so you won't be feeling bumps on the road like in a smaller sized car or a huge pickup with stiff suspension. Also, at 145,000 miles original suspension (shocks/struts) are still just fine. I'll touch on the sway bars in a bit. 7. PRO: Value. I purchased this with 38,000 miles back in 2014, and with all the dealer "extras" it was right around $27,000. Good luck finding such SUV these days close to that price. On top of that, today's trade-in value is well above $8,000 (not that I'm planning to give up my Pilot). 1. CON: You "may" experience some issues with engine mounts. Mine are basically done for, which causes some internal vibration from the engine and more noise - while idling. You don't experience those things while moving. According to a reputable mechanic of mine, it's not a critical issue and the engine "won't go anywhere". It's a comfort/noise issue, which I don't care about, it sort of feels like a performance vehicle this way. 2. CON: Sway bars going bad. Yes, unfortunately SUVs are top heavy and need those pesky sway bars as a part of suspension package. Those things can go bad anywhere around 90k mile marker to 120k mile marker. Basically you'll hear this joint clunking sound either going slowly over bumps or making turns. Repair per each is around $200 give or take. Again, not a crucial component, but something that gets on your nerves, so you'll probably get it done. I have. 3. CON: Economy mode can act finicky. This car, from what I understand, has the "HEMY"-like ability to shut off half of the cylinders in economy mode when your RPMs are just over 1000. Your transmission may show signs of jerkiness once in a while. This is no big deal, and is not something that gets worse. Just FYI. 4. CON: Acceleration of a huge SUV. Yes, it's just that. Huge SUV that's good on gas, so don't expect to race this thing with a 6-bucket engine. Just enjoy the car for what it is. When you really need to pass something, just put the pedal to the metal, and it will get the job done. I hope you find this review enjoyable and helpful! Good luck on the road, and keep it rubber side down!
5 out of 5 stars
2012 Honda Pilot 1 month Ownership Review
Richard Prigge, 04/20/2016
2012 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
This vehicle has to be one of the most practical vehicles made today. While some midsized SUVs like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer may have comparable or even more cargo space on paper, the Pilot uses the space much better. A full 4x8 sheet of plywood can lay flat in the Pilot when all back seats are folded down. All the other midsized SUVs have wheel wells that limit the … cargo width. The designers have really thought out the interior well. There are cargo areas all over the place. There are tie-down hooks scattered around the cabin. The rear window opens separate from the hatch, which comes in handy from time to time. If you are looking for a family hauler that is packed full of practicality, just the right amount of technology, decent towing capacity STANDARD, and ability to get through the snow and mud, you should definitely consider this vehicle.
5 out of 5 stars
Still going strong after 167,000 miles
James D, 04/20/2018
2012 Honda Pilot EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
The car is a good all purpose vehicle. My daughter loved the car so much she convinced me to sell it to her. Not the most techie, nor the fastest, nor the most plush. The Pilot is part truck, part minivan, part car. Very practical from the daily commute to hauling a trailer and camping. I can load this with kids, lumber or garden supplies (or both!) If you want luxury, go get a … Escalade, if you want a sports SUV, go get a Cayenne, if you want the everyperson versatile vehicle that you can rely on to not leave you stranded in ice, snow, rain or just broken down, buy this if you can find one! I miss that vehicle...but glad my daughter has it now.
3.88 out of 5 stars
Transmission/ECO Managment Shuttering Vibration
2012 Honda Pilot EX-L 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
Have had my 2012 Pilot 2 months. When driving at constant speed the ECO Variable Management system seems to keep transmission from downshifting appropriately and you can feel a vibration/rough driving until you accelerate or cancel the cruise control. First service had it checked. Tech said it seemed to be a problem but did not throw a code. He called Honda Tech line. Told that they have … complaints about this, but it was just characteristic of the 2012 Pilot. Today I went to the Dealer and drove another 2012 Pilot. Yep, it did it too.Thought I would work out a trade of my new 2012 for a 2013, but..you guessed it, the 2013 did it too! Beware -Honda definitely has an engineering issue here!!
2012 Pilot Highlights
|Combined MPG||21 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$198/month|
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat4 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover17.4%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
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More about the 2012 Honda Pilot
Used 2012 Honda Pilot Overview
The Used 2012 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 (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX 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), LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV 4WD w/Nav (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr SUV w/Rear Entertainment (3.5L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), and EX-L 4dr SUV w/Nav (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 2012 Honda Pilot comes with four wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2012 Honda Pilot?
Price comparisons for Used 2012 Honda Pilot trim styles:
- The Used 2012 Honda Pilot EX-L is priced between $9,150 and$19,990 with odometer readings between 90306 and181917 miles.
- The Used 2012 Honda Pilot Touring is priced between $12,650 and$20,990 with odometer readings between 86548 and143875 miles.
- The Used 2012 Honda Pilot EX is priced between $16,998 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 64799 and104045 miles.
- The Used 2012 Honda Pilot LX is priced between $16,998 and$17,998 with odometer readings between 106625 and113273 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 2012 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) 2012 Honda Pilot for sale near. There are currently 17 used and CPO 2012 Pilots listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,150 and mileage as low as 64799 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 2012 Honda Pilot.
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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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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