Interested in getting one of the best-selling mid-sized crossover Sport Utility Vehicles on the market? Looking at possibly getting a fairly large SUV, for its class, with all of the amenities of a newer model, but without the hefty price tag? Then you may be looking for a used Honda Pilo for sale.
First introduced for the 2003 model year, the Honda Pilot became the largest SUV in the Honda lineup. It seats up to eight people and has four trim levels—the LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. It is now in its third generation, which was first rolled out in 2016. The second generation lasted from 2009 to 2015. In those seven years, the Honda Pilot underwent several major changes. Below, we will look year by year at the evolution of this crossover SUV in its second generation and what each model year brought to the table.
All Honda Pilots in the second generation come with a 3.5L V6 engine that gets 250 horsepower. It is paired with a five-speed transmission and gets up to 23 miles per gallon on the highway. This fuel efficiency can be made even better, however, by Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management system. When activated, the VCM will alternate which cylinders it uses, even operating on as few as three cylinders. This system saves on fuel, decreases engine wear and tear and is better for the environment. This was one of the first Honda vehicles to offer this VCM system across its nameplate trim levels as a standard feature.
Some of the higher end features available on the 2009 Honda Pilot include a power moonroof, leather seat trim, power liftgate, and even an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Some of these are only available on the Touring or EX-L, levels, though.
Seeing as how the 2009 model was a complete redesign and the first of the second generation, the 2010 Honda Pilot saw very minimal changes. Since the 2009 version was so successful, they saw little to change about it. Virtually everything remained the same, with the exception of the listing price. The 2010 model year saw a reduction of a couple of hundred dollars off the 2009 model year, making it slightly more affordable.
Again, little changed on the 2011 year model of the Honda Pilot. Only minimal changes were made this year, notably in what was offered on the higher trim levels.
The optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system from 2009 and 2010 was now standard on the Touring edition, which is the highest trim level for the Honda Pilot. This became a major selling point for families that liked to take road trips. With kids in the back, you could keep them entertained for the duration of your trip, whether it was hours long or just around the corner.
As for the adults in the front seat, the voice-activated navigation system was now available on the EX-L trim level, where it was previously only available on the Touring trim. While these navigation systems seem to be more commonplace now, they were not so frequent in 2010. This allowed for safer and easier road navigation.
The 2012 Honda Pilot saw the biggest changes in this particular generation. There were changes to the exterior, the engine, and interior features.
One of the biggest changes came in the engine. Even though it was the same 3.5 liter V6 with 250 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque, Honda managed to improve the fuel economy, going from 23 miles per gallon on the highway to 25 mpg, saving you some money in the long run. There is a reason that so many automakers like to boast “best in class” fuel economy. Consumers like to know they are getting the best deal possible.
Some of the exterior changes to the 2012 Honda Pilot include a redesigned front fascia, which gave the Pilot a more modern look. The grille was also redesigned, to give the front profile of the 2012 Honda Pilot a much broader look. Additionally, all trim levels except the base LX received an upgrade to 18” stainless steel wheels, replacing the 17” aluminum alloy wheels of the past.
Honda also added a new trim level – the EL-X with Navigation. As one might guess, this trim level is virtually the same as the next to last trim level of the past few years, just with the Navigation system as a standard feature. Some of the other interior features new to the 2012 Honda Pilot included Bluetooth audio and a rearview camera, all accessible through an 8-inch full-color display monitor.
Possibly, one of the more impressive aspects of all these additions and improvements was that Honda managed to do it all while raising the price of the 2012 Honda Pilot only fractionally. While most of these changes were seen primarily on the upper trim levels, the base MSRP only rose by a few hundred dollars. The improved fuel efficiency alone would be worth that slight increase.
Not much changed in 2013 either, given the extensive facelift that 2012 saw. One notable change was that the rearview camera was now standard across all trim levels. This speaks to the importance of consumer safety, as the rearview camera is among the most useful of safety features. From not even available to standard across the trim levels in a matter of just a few years is a big jump. Honda made this same jump on other models in 2013, as well, such as the Accord and Ridgeline, to name a couple.
Again, 2014 saw minimal changes to the Honda Pilot. The only changes of note was a minor adjustment to the suspension and the option for keyless entry. The interior and trim levels remained largely the same, and the exterior only changed slightly, taking away less than an inch in height.
In the year leading up to the release of the third generation, the 2015 Honda Pilot saw a handful of significant changes. Among these was a “Special Edition” for the EX trim level. This special edition added a few features for this mid-trim level that were previously only available in the higher trims, such as the Touring and EX-L. These features include the power moonroof, the rear-seat DVD entertainment system, satellite radio, and new gray aluminum wheels. The rest of the trim levels remained mostly untouched.
One benefit of this final year of the second generation was a roadside assistance plan. This plan came standard across all trim levels for 2015, where it was previously only available by purchasing a service contract package.
The third generation went on sale in Summer 2015 and featured a freshly redesigned body style and new interiors. As with all newer vehicles, as technology advances, so will the automobiles they inhabit. New technology and safety features are being developed every year. As such, crossover SUVs like the Honda Pilot will continue to integrate them, much like they are doing with the third generation.