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2004 Honda PilotThe word "pilot" has special meaning to me. It was twenty-five years ago this month that I tested for and received my pilot's license. I consider it one of my finest accomplishments, though in the past few years with costs going through the roof, I have drastically underutilized my ability. For me then, the Honda Pilot infers many positive attributes.

As name association goes, so also goes brand identity. Honda is synonymous with excellence in engineering and attention to detail. So to is sister company Acura, but it adds exclusivity to the mix.

Realizing the success of the Acura MDX was not based just on snob appeal, but as much on engineering and craftsmanship, Honda launched the Pilot to compete in the large utility vehicle market. If one eight passenger SUV is good, two must be even better and it's hard to argue with their logic.

Like the Acura MDX, the Honda Pilot is powered by a 3.5 liter V6 producing a healthy 240 hp at 5,400 rpm and 242 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Acceleration is good, though it's important to remember that a large box on wheels only goes so fast.

A 5-speed automatic with torque converter makes easy work out of gear changes. Couple this with Honda's own 4-wheel drive system, plus a fully independent suspension and you have the makings of a great touring vehicle.

Over most road surfaces the Honda Pilot does an excellent job of keeping things inline. It also possesses extreme off-road capabilities, though suburbia is still where it will be most utilized.

A recent 7-hour trek to New York City revealed the Pilot to have exceptional highway manners. Cruising down the Interstate was effortless, the miles passing by with ease.

If there was any room for complaint, it was due only to the fact of the overly aggressive HVAC system that for some reason insisted on blowing cold air into the cabin on a continuous basis. It would have been nice to be able to shut off the center vents entirely, rather than having to try and redirect the ever present airflow away from the front seat occupants.

This one criticism aside, the Honda Pilot is easy to live with on either a long or short trip. Front seating is particularly comfortable, our test vehicle included cloth seats with an 8-way adjustable driver seat and manual passenger front seat.

Power windows with automatic up/down on the driver's window, and power door and tailgate locks are standard. Cruise control, tilt steering, steering wheel mounted audio controls and a HomeLink® remote are also included.

2004 Honda Pilot

Storage space is never at a premium with the Honda Pilot. A total of 9 beverage holders fill the Pilot and one of the most ingenious center console storage areas defines the functionality everyone has come to expect from a Honda.


Both the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold down in a 60/40 split. A clever touch for the entertaining owner, the 2nd row of seats also folds into an activity tray. A hidden storage area, cargo net, six cargo tie-downs and nine bag hooks are conveniences found in the Pilot.

In the Honda Pilot EX, Honda includes an AM/FM/CD audio system with cassette and 7-speakers. Sound quality is good and rivals most, if not all of the mainstream large SUV's in the market.

Leather seats are optional, and should this be your choice, they also provide the option of a DVD entertainment system and Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with Off-Road Tracking.

The Honda Pilot seems to have struck a cord with discerning consumers. Like its more expensive family member the Acura MDX, the Pilot has been a sales winner from the beginning. A sophisticated SUV with a polished exterior style and convenient interior design should insure success for years to come. In fact, if sales keep going in their current upward direction, the may just have to change the name to the Honda Astronaut.



2004 Honda Pilot

Description: Midsize SUV

Model options: LX, EX

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches

Overall length: 188.0 inches

Engine size: 3.5-L V6

Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Drive: 4-wheel drive

Steering: Power rack and pinion

Braking: Power 4-wheel disc, ABS

Air bags: 2-front, 2-side curtain

Mileage est. city/hwy: 17/22

MSRP: $ 27,100- $ 29,470

Click here for more information on the Honda Pilot.
For the Honda SUV 2004 Model Guide : Click Here

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