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#13

in 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $13,601 - $22,100
Original MSRP: $27,695 - $40,095
MPG: 17 City / 23 Hwy
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2009 Honda Pilot Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Test drives have critics raving about the larger interior, which features an adult-size third row and more room for cargo even with all seats in use. However, complaints still persist about the somewhat complicated center stack controls and plastic materials.

  • "Inside, the most notable trait of the 2009 Pilot is that it's much quieter than before, with a more modern dashboard that looks a trifle too styled, yet still a model of functionality." -- Road and Track
  • "It seems quieter inside than the Highlander, and its thick-rimmed steering wheel and supportive seats make the Toyota's cockpit feel cheap by comparison." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The new Pilot's interior is a marvel of thoughtful design. The company calls it 'Business Class' -- which I take to mean not superdeluxe but fancy enough and roomy enough for most people." --BusinessWeek
  • "Under way, the Pilot is slightly troubled by wind and road noise, a longtime weak point for Honda. After the superquiet Buick Enclave came out last year, Honda engineers added soundproofing materials to the Pilot, but it wasn't enough to match the Enclave's interior tranquillity." -- The New York Times

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First- and Second-Row Seats

The Pilot seats eight in three rows, with the first and second rows providing more than adequate comfort for most testers.

  • "The Pilot's front bucket seats have moderately firm cushioning that proved comfortable during the four-plus hours I spent driving and riding in the SUV." -- Cars.com
  • "The second row is impressively spacious, with adequate room for three-abreast adult seating." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Second-row occupants have adequate legroom and should be comfortable, except for a hard center seatback." -- AutoMedia.com
  • "Although the leather front seats have adequate support, the padding is extremely firm, which may prove uncomfortable for some passengers." -- Velocity Journal

Third-Row Seats

The Pilot's third row gains an additional 1.9 inches of legroom for 2009, and it doesn't go unnoticed by reviewers. It's still not quite roomy enough for long trips back there by adults, though.

  • "As far as third rows go, it's a good one, but people much over six feet still won't want to do much time back there." -- Car and Driver
  • "As a full-size adult, I could climb back into the third row with little hassle and fit comfortably there." -- The Detroit News
  • "The third row is adult size -- if people in the second row slide their seats ahead just a little and if you're not planning on riding in the way-back from Omaha to Denver for a coffee." -- USA Today
  • "I rode for about 20 miles as a passenger in the third row seat and was surprised by how comfortable it is. Foot space is limited, but knee space is adequate for a normal-size adult, and head, hip, and shoulder space is good." -- BusinessWeek
  • "Despite the bump in third-row legroom, it's still on the small side for adults. Fortunately, young kids are most likely to prowl this part of the Pilot, and for them it should provide adequate room." -- Cars.com

Interior Features

The redesigned Pilot offers plenty of standard features, but reviewers complain about the confusing cockpit controls.

  • "The center stack up front bristles with buttons and controls. Intimidating at first, but quickly learned, and far better than trying to minimize the number of controls via a joystick system or multiple-choice menu, both of those setups typically being illogical and annoying." -- USA Today
  • "The Pilot is available with many of the features you would expect to find in a family-oriented crossover SUV, like a backseat entertainment system, but rather than being optional equipment that you can add to any trim level, many popular features are limited to more expensive trims." -- Cars.com
  • "The center stack, when the navigation system is included, becomes a confusing mess of buttons, switches and knobs. There are 52 buttons to press, adjust or select -- not including the 15 on the steering wheel. Space missions use fewer commands." -- The Detroit News
  • "Another departure from the past that's not entirely welcome is the 2009 Pilot's befuddling array of buttons for operating the audio and climate control systems, as opposed to the no-brainer layout in last year's model." -- Edmunds

Cargo

The Pilot provides 18 cubic feet of cargo volume (plus a 2.8-cubic-foot underfloor storage area) with all three rows of seats in use, which is an increase over last year's model, and 87 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down.

  • "Fold down the second- and third-row seats, and a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood will lie flat on the floor -- unusual in this market segment." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "The glovebox is divided into three spaces, the center console is spacious (and naturally configured for a mobile phone and the usual audio accessories) and there are bins and cupholders and power outlets and tie-down hooks everywhere you look." -- Edmunds
  • "There is space for a couple golf bags or a folded stroller behind the 3rd row. The built-in rear cargo net can be affixed to the side panels to form a second loading 'hammock' for smaller, lightweight items." -- Consumer Guide

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