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2012 Honda Pilot Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Owner Pros and Cons by lgard



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Reviewed: 2012 Honda Pilot

4dr SUV 250-horsepower 3.5L V6 5-speed automatic AWD

Why the 2012 Honda Pilot?

Ride smoothness

This is probably my favorite aspect of this vehicle. It is comfortable on the road, handling all kinds of bumps and surfaces with ease. It is smoother than the 2008 Ford Explorer I owned and smoother than many luxury sedans I've been in.

Fuel economy

City fuel economy is lousy (average about 11 mpg), but our highway numbers are great for such a huge vehicle, particularly if we stay at 65 mph or slower. I've been able to sustain 29 mpg on a flat road at 55 mph.

Front seat support & comfort

This is a very comfortable vehicle for long road trips. The seats are spacious, supportive, and the driving position is good.

Why Not the 2012 Honda Pilot?

Reliability & durability

We had owned a Honda Accord and a Honda CRV previously, and so we expected this Pilot to be as well built and trouble free. Not so. We've had multiple problems with the HVAC system. For example, the a/c turns itself on despite manual override. The color of the bumper is aging differently (yellowing) compared to the body. Motors in the side-view mirrors have repeatedly failed.

Controls and instruments

Honda engineers clearly believe that they know better than those who drive the vehicle, and they make it virtually impossible to override their choices. For example, if the wipers are on and you put the car in reverse, the rear wiper activates. That seems like a logical feature, but it's incredibly distracting and there's no way to override. The sideview mirrors tilt down when the car is put in reverse (unless the mirror switch is set to neutral). Again, an incredibly irritating "feature". The information display (tire pressure, trip computer, MPG readout etc) is so hard to configure that even my dealer finds it maddening.


Honda uses rigid styrofoam near the front door seal to limit road noise. Need I say more? This vehicle is noisy. Lots of road noise, wind noise from front passenger window (dealer unable to fix), windshield wiper noise, engine noise.

Other Features of the 2012 Honda Pilot

Audio & nav systems

Both audio and nav are excessively complex, unintuitive, and a hassle to use.

Materials & workmanship

Cheap, hard, unattractive plastic throughout. Our leather seats are decent, but every other surface is industrial. Large gaps where surfaces meet, and rarely do they align perfectly. Far worse than any other Honda I've owned.


We bought this vehicle because it offered the space we needed, it was priced $10k less than a comparably equipped Ford Explorer, and we assumed that it would be a pleasure to own like our previous Honda's. The latter has not been true. This will likely be our last Honda.

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