Brief summary - If you want a predictable vehicle with good resale value, good safety and plenty of room, the 2009-2015 Honda Pilot is the right vehicle for you. If you want some comfort, good looks, updated design (Pilot hasn't changed much since 2009) and modern technology advances (touch screen navigation), look elsewhere. Coming from previous Honda vehicles (Accord, CRV), we almost purchased the Odyssey before settling on the Pilot. Starting with the trim levels, Honda has these pre-designated so it doesn't confuse consumers. The only way to get both navigation and factory entertainment (DVD) system was the Pilot, which had a MSRP of $42k. Note that for the "top of the line" vehicle in 2014, this thing was well behind the times. Not only has there been no major updates to this Pilot since 2009 (when the first ever Samsung Galaxy smartphone was released), it was well behind the competition. The 14 Toyota Highlander came with LED's, adaptive cruise control, panoramic moonroof, blu-ray DVD player, heated steering wheel and the 12-speaker JBL system. The Honda Pilot came with regular lights, regular cruise control, regular moonroof, regular DVD player, regular steering wheel, and regular "premium" sound system. FOR ALMOST THE SAME PRICE ($42k Pilot Touring 4WD vs $43k Highlander Platinum AWD) The Honda is very utilitarian; meaning it serves it's purpose. You want a dependable vehicle that has history of few mechanical issues, good resale value, a lot of interior passenger & cargo room, it is a good vehicle. But on top of a lack of value, it actually is uncomfortable (comparably). Hard leather seats that are far from plush, very hard-plastic interior (same materials as the base Pilot LX...) covers the interior of the vehicle, and a less-than-plush ride. Took a 19 hour road trip over Thanksgiving and it was less-than-desired comfortable, though I have been in worse vehicles. The navigation is an outdated & un-intuitive input system that requires the user to use a knob and turn to the right character, one alphabet at a time...think of a rotary phone but with the whole keyboard as possible options. Also note at 15k and 30k miles, Honda recommends the rear differential fluid to be flushed (~$80-$100 per instance) which wasn't an expected maintenance item. It's in the manual. Also for those who swear by Honda reliablity, google "Honda Pilot VCM" to read through the horror stories many Pilot owners have had with their ENGINE. With the new re-designed 2016 Pilot's now out, you can really get a good deal on a low-mileage late model Pilot because the new one fixes a lot of the issues a lot of the old ones have. We got a decent deal (over $4k off MSRP) when we purchased the 14 Pilot 4WD, at the time of this posting new 15 Pilot 4WD Touring's could be had around the $35k mark with all incentives which is a great deal. PLUS - Good gas mileage (23-24mpg highway is realistic) - Aside from the VCM issue, no major concerns around reliability; a lot of over 100k mile Pilot's still on the road - Great resale value, Honda has done a good job here - Stellar interior room; middle row seats has much leg/hip room as a minivan...without being a minivan - Boxy shape means flexibility to haul a lot of cargo like oversized gifts, bicycles and such - Sound system, for being no-brand, sounds pretty decent NEGATIVE - Comfort, comfort, comfort...almost 2 years into ownership, the seats haven't gotten any better. - Cheap-ish interior material; the fact the leather stains so easily to the very hard plastic that covers the interior of the vehicle from the dash to the door panels, even in the "top of the line" trim is disappointing - Less than plush ride, especially compared to the 14 Pathfinder, 14 Tahoe/Suburban/Yukon, 14 Highlander, 14 Enclave/Traverse/Acadia and even the 14 Durango - Old design, this thing hasn't been refreshed since 2009 when almost all its competitors have come with something new Would I do it again? Absolutely not. Do I regret it? Not really, I am confident this vehicle will run for a long time to come and hold its value respectably. But when you itch to trade the car in almost every month because making car payments on a car that you "settle for", it isn't a good feeling.
I am a long time Honda owner (all Accords). I purchased a 2014 Honda Pilot new in April 2014. After two days of owning it, I realized I made a huge mistake. The VCM system causes vibrations and jerks when it transitions from 6, 4 and 3 cylinders. You will not notice on a test drive because the engine has to warm up first for it to engage. Honda posted a software update TSB that helps but did not resolve the problem. If you want to buy a Honda V6 with VCM, insist on a long test drive at speeds greater than 60 on flat roads. I just sold my Pilot for a Sienna - best move ever even if it is a minivan. Toyota knows V6s should run on all 6 cylinders.
I purchased my pilot used/off lease in January of 2016 and I think it was quite pricy. I test drove this pilot and a 2014 Durango and I thought the Durango may have been a notch above the pilot in handling however the pilot was by far the smoothest. The Pilot is quiet, tight and a great highway vehicle. Now, I owned a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 for 10 years and switching to this pilot was night and day! Now, the interior does have a lot of hard surfaces but I think this keeps with the intended mission of the Pilot, it's designed to be a sport utility vehicle. If I wanted plush I sure as hell wouldn't buy a Pilot! Our regular weekend trips to the Poconos was far more enjoyable for me because after 3 hours in the Pilot my back and left leg was no longer sore and numb, this Pilot has great seats! I read the reviews before buying and was concerned about the VCM issue however I have never felt any vibration, as a matter of fact the only way to know is seeing the little ECO light flash on and off. I think the driving position in the Pilot is great, how the pedals, the steering wheel and controls all fall within easy reach. I spent some time setting up the audio and blue tooth and never had any problems. The stereo system works quite well however a few stations I used to pick up with an antenna I can't get with my Pilot. I think the final decision for me was the shape and interior storage, the second row can easily seat 3 adults and the third can easily seat 3 teenagers, with the rear seats down the storage is amazing. With the looks, storage and Honda's stellar reputation this was an easy decision.
Transmission seems weak, shifts goofy. Wandered around when new, Honda said the ball joints needed to seat. Blows around in the wind. Like the rear camera. Front seats are small. MPG is okay. Never over 24. Seats stained from spilled water?
The size and Honda reliability are what drew me to the Pilot. I've owned it a little over a year and I'm still pleased but have a few issues. The driver's side sun visor is drooping and after some research it appears this is common with numerous Honda models. The MPGs are about 19; not what Honda rated. There's a clip on the back of the middle seat that pops off. Not thinking it's good for whatever reason it was put there if it pops out when someone is in the seat. Otherwise, the size, storage, features and drivability of the SUV are great. I enjoy driving it!