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Avg. Price Paid:$20,583 - $30,788
Original MSRP: $28,620 - $40,970
MPG: 18 City / 25 Hwy
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2012 Honda Pilot Review

Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

The 2012 Honda Pilot is a fairly good family-hauling SUV, but test drivers say that shoppers in the market for a minivan alternative have better options. 

While critics say the Honda Pilot isn’t a bad family vehicle, it’s outdone by many of its rivals. It doesn’t offer a power-folding third row, which is optional on many similarly-priced competitors. Though its button-filled dash was redesigned for the 2012 model year, some reviewers still say it’s a bit complicated to use, and journalists note that the brakes are weak compared with much of the class.

Still, there are some things the Honda Pilot gets right. Its third row will fit adults, provided they don’t have to sit back there for too long, and many users appreciate the fact that the navigation system doesn’t absorb audio and climate controls like some rivals do. Plus, the Pilot gets some of the best fuel economy ratings among three-row crossovers with V6 engines.

Overall, the Honda Pilot earns praise for its overwhelming practicality and reasonable price. However, test drivers caution that buyers looking for any personality from its looks, interior or performance should check out other options.

Other SUVs to Consider

If you’re shopping for a three-row SUV, the Ford Flex should be at the top of your list. It boasts an upscale interior and lots of innovative interior features like a refrigerated second-row console and the MyFord Touch interface system. Plus, unlike the Honda Pilot, it can be equipped with a power-folding third row. Regardless of the folding mechanism, reviewers say the Ford Flex’s third row is one of the most spacious available. The Flex’s base model costs a bit more than the base Pilot, but its top-of-the-line Titanium trim costs less than the Honda Pilot Touring.

Reviewers rank the Chevrolet Traverse near the top of its class for its extra-spacious third row and low price. It has the highest maximum cargo capacity of any affordable midsize SUV, and can seat up to eight, just like the Pilot. The Traverse also costs a bit more than the Pilot, but on the plus side, reviewers say it’s more attractive than most family-hauling crossovers. They don’t say the same for the Honda Pilot, even with its updated exterior.

Details: Honda Pilot

The Pilot comes in several trims: the base LX, EX, EX-L and top-of-the-line Touring. Though front-wheel drive is standard, four-wheel drive is available. For 2012, the Honda Pilot sees a mild refresh, including a redesigned front grill, improved fuel economy, revised center stack and more sound-deadening materials.

See the full list of 2012 Honda Pilot specifications.

  • "The Pilot is among our favorite three-row family haulers. It does everything well, with a spacious interior and a solid chassis that feels like it's crafted from I-beams (although the curb weight suggests the same).” -- Car and Driver
  • "Though trucky on the outside, the Best Buy Pilot is as car-like as any vehicle in this class. That's a good thing, as this crossover's combination of performance, utility, and passenger accommodations make it worthy of a high place on your shopping list.” -- Consumer Guide
  • “… the Pilot (is) a crossover that, while much improved, can't yet claim to be a top achiever in its class.” -- Edmunds
  • "If you need a vehicle that provides 8-passenger capacity but are dead set against driving a minivan, the 2012 Honda Pilot makes an excellent alternative. … If you're someone who thinks you shouldn't have to move to the highest trim level just to get navigation or a power liftgate, there are better choices. Those who need to tow heavy loads or enjoy going far off-road will be better served by a V8-powered body-on-frame SUV such as the Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition.” -- Kelley Blue Book

Next Steps: Honda Pilot

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