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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The following website has some details that may be helpful to someone considering the Pilot. Lots of pictures too. This hyperlink goes to the press release write ups but you can choose other options in the left column under Pilot. Good link to other Honda/Acura vehicles.

Honda Digital Newsroom

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Re: We're on the Scoreboard!

Gordo said:
This site is fun to track. Report usually comes out towards end of following month. Pilot is already outselling Passport!

AutoSite Market Report
The May numbers are very misleading. Since the Pilot was announced, sales of the Passport have fallen off a cliff (take a look at the monthly sales reports from Honda). At some point this year, Honda simply stopped buying Rodeos, and the Passports being sold now are from existing inventory. I imagine the dealers are discounting them pretty heavily.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Bland styling
Tricky gear lever
Tight third-seat legroom
Bottom Line:
Another winning Honda model that's long overdue.

Honda, which has sold a rebadged version of the Isuzu Rodeo as its mid-size sport-utility vehicle for years, has come up with a carlike mid-size sport ute of its own design for 2003.

The new model is called the Pilot, and it's very much a Honda. That's because it is based on the MDX from Honda's upscale Acura division. In turn, the MDX is basically a 4-wheel-drive Honda Odyssey minivan. And the Odyssey is based on the Honda Accord sedan.

Sharing components saves automakers a fortune and helps keep down prices of new models.
The Pilot and MDX share major items, including the engine, transmission and basic chassis. Pilot buyers thus get a more sophisticated vehicle than the Passport.

Bland Styling
However, while the MDX is stylish, the Pilot has a bland appearance. Still, the Pilot has a luxurious feel—especially in top-line EX form with leather upholstery.

The entry Pilot LX has a $26,900 base price and is well-equipped, with such items as air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/CD player and power windows, locks and mirrors. The higher-line, $29,270 EX has automatic climate control, power driver seat, cassette and remote keyless entry.

Add leather upholstery and such items as a navigation system and you have the highest-priced EX, which lists at $32,520. Substitute a rear entertainment system for the navigation system and the price slips a bit to $32,020. In contrast, the top-line MDX is about $40,000.

Safety Features
Honda stresses that the Pilot is a family vehicle and thus emphasizes its safety items. They include a robust unit body design with a four-ring "safety shell," front side airbags, traction control and anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake distribution for surer panic stops.

As with all successful sport-utes, the Pilot is versatile. For example, besides its firm-but-comfortable front bucket seats, it has split-folding second- and third-row seats.

The Pilot is wider than anything in its class and thus has more room for passengers and cargo. On the flip side, the extra width can make the Pilot harder to garage.

Third Row for Kids
The third-row seat can be difficult for even limber adults to reach, but really is best suited to children because there isn't much leg room back there. Even third-row occupants have four cupholders because the Pilot is loaded with convenience and storage areas.

There isn't much cargo space with the third seat in its normal position, although you can fit a set of golf clubs or eight paper grocery bags back there.

Cargo room opens up a lot with the second- and third-row seats folded forward to form a flat deck. The lack of a separate-opening tailgate glass area can be inconvenient, but a shallow, covered floor compartment behind the third seat can hold head restraints or objects you want hidden.

Upscale Interior
It calls for more effort to enter the Pilot than the archrival Toyota Highlander sport-ute, but the Pilot has oversized outside door handles that are easily grasped. The quiet interior has an upscale look, with nice materials and an intelligently designed dashboard with easily read gauges and smooth controls. Sound system controls are a bit small, but partly compensating for that is their high location on the dashboard.

The nicely designed console has a deep storage bin, cell phone pocket, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet and a dual-cupholder unit that can be put in two positions and is removable for easier cleaning. Such features help make the Pilot a very family-friendly vehicle. There even are netted map pockets in the forward sides of the console for family drive vacations—if you don't want to fool with the navigation system.

Strong Engine
Powering the Pilot is a strong 3.5-liter overhead-camshaft V-6. It produces 240 horsepower and provides good off-the-line acceleration and rapid 65-75 mph passing times on highways. The engine is noisy during hard acceleration, but loafs at 2100 rpm at 75 mph for relaxed long-distance cruising.

Estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway, which is okay for a powerful, fairly large sport-ute that weighs from 4,416 to 4,439 pounds.

The 5-speed automatic transmission is more responsive than a typical 4-speed unit. It upshifts seamlessly and downshifts quickly.

Tricky Shifter
However, the tricky steering-column-mounted gear selection lever can slide too easily into the wrong gear. How did that flaw ever get past Honda's conscientious engineers?

On the other hand, the all-wheel-drive system is innovative and quite effective; it spends most of its time in front-drive mode except during acceleration or when there's wheel slippage.

No Sporty Moves
The carlike Pilot handles well during routine driving, but lacks sporty moves when pushed, despite having decent steering. It features a supple ride, with softer spring rates than the MDX. However, large potholes or washboard surfaces will remind occupants that they're in a truck, not a big family sedan.

I wouldn't bet against the Pilot being a hit. It has roominess, versatility and refinement going for it. Not to mention the illustrious Honda nameplate which helped sell all those phony Honda Passports.

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Good catch Gordo! I was just on carpoint yesterday looking for a Pilot review and it wasn't there so this must have been just posted.

Funny how so many reviewers gripe about the shifter. Having driven our Pilot for a week now, I'd say they're complaining about the wrong problem in the right area. I don't find the shifter itself to pose any problem, and I have never selected the wrong gear, but I do keep squirting the windshield when I go to shift out of park :eek:
I find it too easy to grab the wiper control arm instead of the shifter when it's in the up position.

03 Pilot EX-L SS w/RB
01 Audi S4

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I, too, sometimes hit the wiper lever instead of the shifter. However, instead of spraying my windows, I turn the wipers on.

After about a month with my Pilot, I still haven't gotten comfortable with the shifter and regularly find myself half-unconsciously visually verifying I'm in the right gear when I shift from reverse to drive.

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Re: Re: We're on the Scoreboard!

hop23 said:

The May numbers are very misleading. Since the Pilot was announced, sales of the Passport have fallen off a cliff (take a look at the monthly sales reports from Honda). At some point this year, Honda simply stopped buying Rodeos, and the Passports being sold now are from existing inventory. I imagine the dealers are discounting them pretty heavily.
When I picked up my Pilot this week, there was a really nice burgandy Passport on the showroom floor. I asked how sales were going, and my salesman said they hadn't ordered a Passport for a very long time. What they are selling now are demos. If I understood him correctly - and mind you I had my mind on my new Pilot at the time - he said that they had not ordered a Passport since the order they placed in December. Again, I THINK thats what he said, but don't quote me.
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