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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
JUST THE FACTS
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