The 2016 Honda Pilot Turns Into a Minivan

2016 Honda Pilot

Back in 2004 I purchased a car I thought would last forever.

Its looks weren’t anything special, but its capabilities and features were exactly what I needed.

The car was a 2004 Honda Pilot, and it lasted all of 6 months. That’s not because anything failed on the car, it’s because it caught on fire and burned to the ground.

Now that the Pilot has been around for over 10 years, it is being revamped for the 2016 model year, but even with all the changes, I think I’d prefer to own my old ’04.

My biggest problem with the new, recently unveiled Pilot is that it’s basically a Honda Odyssey minivan without the sliding doors. The Pilot was never rugged in SUV terms, but it was at least an SUV.

Car and Driver says,

The new Pilot will share its engine and underpinnings with a new version of Honda’s people mover due next year, as both eight-passenger vehicles share their basic architecture with the Acura MDX that was launched in 2013. Honda is being unnecessarily coy about the new Pilot’s specifications, but we do know that it rides on a 110.9-inch wheelbase, 1.7 inches longer than before, and that overall length has been stretched by 3.5 inches to 194.9. That extra space between the bumpers seems to have all gone into the third row and the cargo hold, surely a welcome development for the Pilot’s target market of minivan deniers.

The 2004 Pilot had a 3.5-liter V6 and came standard with AWD, even in its lowest LX trim level. For 2016 the Pilot will come with a 3.5-liter V6 and come standard with front-wheel drive. On the positive side, the newest edition will come with Variable Cylinder Management, which switches between 6- and 3-cylinder modes, in addition to all the modern safety and technology bits people expect in their cars.

2004 Honda Pilot 4dr-suv_ex

At the time, my top-of-the-line Pilot EX-L came in at just over $30,000. Pricing hasn’t been released on the newest Pilot, but prices could easily surpass $40,000.

I prefer the looks of the boxy 2004 model to the van-like 2016 and would choose to buy used if shopping for a Pilot.

Which Honda Pilot do you prefer, the first generation or the latest 2016 model?


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Used Honda Pilot
Used Honda Odyssey


  1. I agree, Ihad a 2005 Pilot with 200,000 miles and someone rear ended the vehicle. I purchased an Audi Q5 which drives well, however the relibility does not compare with Honda. I just can not bring myself to buy a new Pilot as it looks more like a mini van than the actual mini van. It is ashame because I really do enjoy and feel good about owning a Pilot.

  2. Totally agree. I had a 2012 Pilot and loved it. Thought I’d be a Pilot owner for life. But these new ones look like a mini van and I just can’t do it. I’m currently looking for a new SUV and wishing the pilots were still as attractive as they used to be.

  3. I also prefer the boxy look of previous models. I traded my 2012 Honda Pilot for a 2016 Ford Explorer XLT. The new Pilot looks like a minivan and I couldn’t drive around in a minivan.

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