2008 Honda Pilot Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
August 19, 2008

The 2008 Honda Pilot may not look cutting-edge, but it’s still one of the most family-friendly crossovers available.

The car experts at TheCarConnection.com studied a wide range of road tests (and off-road tests) of the 2008 Honda Pilot to compile this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com's resident off-roaders also drove the new Pilot to help you decide which reviews to trust where opinions differ, to add more impressions and details, and to provide you with the best information.

The 2008 Honda Pilot is in the last year of its current body style, but it's still a good choice among large three-row crossover vehicles.

In a world where so many bland SUVs look alike, the bland 2008 Honda Pilot looks an awful lot like a lot of other bland SUVs. But the inside decoration isn't quite so yawn-inducing, and the layout is practical, flexible, and logical. All the switches, dials, and indicators work with precision and a tactile satisfaction. The column-mounted shift lever can get silly at times (it's easy to pull it down too far, and in Low, it knocks some drivers' knees), but other than that, any criticism is more nitpick than harsh criticism.

The Honda Pilot's standard engine is a 244-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine. This is a sweet V-6 whose VTEC variable valve timing system works elegantly, and it's wed to a delectable and poised five-speed automatic. It gets 16/22 mpg with front-wheel drive, and 15/20 mpg with all-wheel drive.

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Since it's a front-driver in most situations, the 2008 Honda Pilot behaves like a front-driver in most situations; the nose will plow in corners and the cornering limits themselves are modest. The steering feels a bit numb, but it isn't imprecise. The available VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management-4WD) all-wheel-drive system sends power to the rear wheels automatically when needed; when conditions become seriously slippery, the driver can engage and lock 50 percent of power to the rear wheels.

It's a fairly large vehicle, and inside the 2008 Honda Pilot, all the adult-sized seats are comfortable, well shaped, and accommodating. Honda thinks the third-row seat is best left to small children, and rightfully so. That third-row seat sits relatively high, though, so passengers big and small at least get good views. And as in the Honda Odyssey minivan and Acura MDX crossover, the third seat disappears into its own well to produce a flat load floor.

All 2008 Honda Pilot crossovers come with rear privacy glass, alloy wheels, XM satellite radio, a six-CD changer, and body-colored side mirrors, door handles, and rear spoiler. Options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, a power moonroof, ambient console lighting, and a 115-volt power outlet.

Three-row side curtain airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, stability control, and traction control are standard equipment. The 2008 Honda Pilot is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and earns five-star crash ratings for front and side impacts from the NHTSA.

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