With its outstanding crash test ratings and roomy third row seat, the 2011 Honda Pilot makes a very family-friendly choice in the midsize crossover SUV segment. Toss in its smooth V6 engine, pleasant road manners, well-equipped lineup and plenty of storage features, and the appeal broadens still further.
Yes, the Pilot's third-row seat can actually accommodate adult passengers, making it a more sporty looking alternative for those trying to avoid the humdrum look of a traditional minivan. It also offers optional four-wheel drive, increasing its versatility and usefulness for drivers in locations prone to poor weather conditions.
The new 2011 model sees only minor changes, including navigation as an optional feature on EX-L models and a now standard rear entertainment system for the uplevel Touring model.
The 2011 Honda Pilot is available in four trims: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring ... all of which can be had in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive form.
Standard features on the Pilot LX include full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, front and rear air conditioning, automatic headlights, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 17-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, 60/40-split second- and third-row seats, and a 7-speaker stereo system with a CD/MP3 player and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the Pilot EX adds an 8-way power driver seat with 2-way power lumbar, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, satellite radio, an in-dash 6-disc CD changer, tri-zone automatic climate control, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels and painted body moldings.
Opting for the Pilot EX-L adds leather upholstery, a leather steering wheel, a sunroof, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, additional sound insulation and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated back-up camera. Available options for the EX-L include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a voice-activated navigation system packaged with a 10-speaker upgraded sound system, Bluetooth and an iPod interface.
The Pilot Touring comes standard with the navigation and rear entertainment systems, plus driver memory settings, tire-pressure indicators, a power liftgate and rear sunshades.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2011 Pilot is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a 5-speed automatic as the only available transmission. While front-wheel drive is standard, all models offer an all-wheel-drive system that automatically transfers up to 70% of the power to the rear wheels when needed. It also has a driver-controlled "lock" feature that automatically sends the maximum torque to the rear wheels when speed is below 19 mph.
The Pilot is also equipped with Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which automatically turns off half of the cylinders when they're not needed, such as when cruising down the highway. The EPA-estimated gas mileage for a front-wheel 2011 Pilot comes in at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg on the highway. The AWD models are rated just slightly lower at 16 and 22, respectively. These numbers, while respectable, are about average for the segment.
Standard safety features on all 2011 Pilots include stability control, antilock brakes (ABS), front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.
In government crash testing, the Pilot earned the highest rating of five stars across the board in all occupant protection categories for both frontal and side-impact collisions.
The 2011 Honda Pilot's cabin is well-designed, solidly built, attractive and, for the most part, user-friendly. The center stacks of most Hondas today are a bit overburdened with controls and small buttons. While it's very useful to have all of these features, they do take a bit of getting used to.
The seating is comfortable, even plush, and supportive while its third-row seats are especially roomy. This is a big plus in the midsize segment where most third rows are children-only. If there is a negative to the seating, it's the lowish placement of the second and third rows which can cause taller passengers into a knees-up, somewhat squatting position.
The Pilot's boxy shape allows for easier storage of bulkier items and there's 87 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows stowed. In addition, there are many clever storage cubbies and pockets for smaller items.
The 2011 Pilot is engineered for driving comfort over athleticism. As such, power and maneuverability are only adequate, while its soft suspension does an outstanding job of cushioning bumps and roughspots. SUV shoppers who value a smooth and quiet drive more than performance will likely be very pleased with the Pilot's road demeanor.
How To Get The Lowest Price:
Best Negotiating Tactic: Well, there's definitely a 'best way' when it comes to new car buying. If you want to get the best bottomline, out-the-door price you need to know exactly who to talk to at the dealership, how to make the contact and how to make this person eager to quickly drop prices as low as possible to get your sale.
Those of you in the market for a used car may want to check out this article about how to buy a used car at the lowest price. It details a super effective buying method, one that often beats down prices to wholesale levels.
And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.
In addition, you can also try the Wholesale Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these car auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them at no cost in your own area.