Avg. Price Paid:$11,427 - $16,682
Original MSRP: $27,595 - $35,645
MPG: 16 City / 22 Hwy
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2008 Honda Pilot Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Honda Pilot was new.

As we mentioned in our Performance Overview, the 2008 Honda Pilot has a car-like ride and peppy engine, traits that please test drivers and put it near the top of its class for performance.

  • "Although it offers seating for eight passengers, the Pilot is not nearly as bulky or cumbersome as most full-size SUVs and its silky-smooth V6 engine delivers strong performance coupled with superb fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Honda did nearly everything right with the Pilot. Carlike traits are immediately noticeable, and the vehicle's slightly heavy feel is mixed with considerable overall refinement. Performance is strong and confident, if not exactly blistering." -- Cars.com
  • "The Honda Pilot is a joy in daily use. We found it easy to maneuver and park in crowded parking lots." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Compared to many traditional full-size SUVs, the Pilot is easier to drive and maneuver around town. ...  In terms of size, it matches up very closely to the Ford Explorer, and as such isn't as nimble as many of the smaller sport-utes that share its price bracket." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Test drivers find that despite its hefty weight, the Pilot's 244-horsepower V6 engine packs plenty of power. According to the EPA, the 2WD model gets 16/22 mpg, while the 4WD gets 15/20 mpg.

  • "Honda's more-than-competent 3.5-liter V6 fits the Pilot like a well-tailored suit. Powerful enough to climb hills, dart across busy intersections and pass with confidence, yet fairly easy on fuel, this engine is all about efficiency and quiet operation." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Like many Hondas, the Pilot feels faster than the middling 255-hp output from its 3.5-liter V-6 would suggest; acceleration always feels swift and athletic." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Any Pilot has strong, ready power with especially robust highway merging and passing performance. The transmission's smooth, quick shifts contribute to the powertrain's exemplary behavior." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Pilot is no hot rod, partly because it weights a hefty 4,414 pounds. But it reaches 60 mph from a standing start in just under 8 seconds and provides good 65-75 mph passing on highways." -- MSN
  • "The 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 combines with the five-speed automatic to provide all the thrust a driver needs in a smooth and refined fashion." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

While reviews describe the Pilot's smooth handling as one of its strengths, a few find it lacking in sporty feel. An all-wheel drive system is optional, but it isn't meant for rugged terrain.

  • "As the Pilot features a stiff unibody structure and a fully independent suspension, it is quite smooth and comfortable on normal roads. However, with a curb weight of more than 2 tons, there is no escaping the Pilot's bulk, and compared to more modern competitors, it can feel a bit clumsy around corners." -- Edmunds
  • "The Pilot stays reasonably flat in curves, but it's not quite as surefooted as some SUVs on narrow twisty roads. It seems a trifle uncertain through some demanding turns." -- Cars.com
  • "Unfortunately, 'athletic' doesn't always describe the Pilot's handling. Though it provides far better body control than the GM vehicles, the Honda still allows some bouncy head toss over bumps. Cornering is solid but never a lot of fun." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Generally carlike driving feel, with fine low-speed maneuverability and city-friendly turning radius. The tires' tall sidewalls contribute to slightly lazy steering response in quick changes of direction." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Pilot's uni-body construction permits the use of a sophisticated rear suspension that delivers an impressively smooth ride and agile handling." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Its road manners seem just a little better than necessary to compete in this class." -- New Car Test Drive
Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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