- Expanded interior package
- Clever and numerous interior bins
- Sweet powertrain
- Adult-sized third-row seat
- That big, big grille
- Thick styling
- Hard plastics inside
- Bundling of options
The 2009 Honda Pilot looks more SUV-like in its second edition, but it has the room of a minivan, along with some notable styling miscues and expensive choices to make from the options list.
The 2009 Honda Pilot strikes out in a new direction in terms of styling. While it’s still a big crossover with three rows of seating, the Pilot has abandoned the delicate, feminine shape it once had in favor of big, squared-off corners and an ungainly grille that strikes fear in the hearts of tastemakers across the Web. Inside it’s still functional, but there are dozens of dash buttons to confuse first-time drivers.
The engine in the 2009 Honda Pilot is a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. Teamed with a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic, the Pilot is no lightning chariot, but it’s reasonably powerful, and the combination is sweet to hear and feel. The engine also can disable some cylinders to increase fuel economy, though the Pilot is still middle of the pack when it comes to gas mileage. Handling is good, though with noticeable torque steer and the occasional harsh jounce from its suspension. All-wheel drive is an option, and it works best in foul weather, not off-road.
Inside its boxy bod, the 2009 Honda Pilot has better room for adults in all three rows. Front seats are comfortable; the second-row seats slide to and fro for more legroom, and fold out of the way for access to the third-row seat. The “way-back” seat now has enough room for two adults, some sources say—though TheCarConnection.com’s editors found head- and legroom at a premium. The Pilot’s interior gets new plastics and fabrics that seem to take a distinct step backward from the previous version, but storage is a high point, and the Pilot bristles with cubbies, bins, and places to hide things as large as a purse or a laptop.
The 2009 Honda Pilot hasn’t been crash tested yet, but it includes all the latest safety features as standard equipment. Visibility is an issue, what with the thicker shape and wider roof pillars.
The features offered on the 2009 Honda Pilot are as advanced as those in minivans: DVD entertainment systems, navigation systems, Bluetooth, and iPod integration. However, Honda bundles many features into the most expensive models, leaving budget-minded shoppers at a loss for certain items.