Monday, September 2, 2013

Used Car Review - Honda Pilot (2006-2008)

While the latest model is a decent seller, Myk Belmonte revisits the previous model which failed to gain market share.

2006-2008 Honda Pilot

Honda is in a mixed bag when it comes to building SUVs. Their first attempt in that category was the Crossroad, basically a rebadged Land Rover Discovery Series I. Their attempts are mixed from the fail (second generation Crossroad) to the success (CR-V).

Replacing the Passport (an Isuzu Rodeo with Honda badges) that was sold in the United States, the Pilot was developed 100% by Honda and was first launched in 2003. Components are shared with the Acura MDX, Honda Odyssey (North American version), and the Honda Accord that results to a car like handling and driving. Cosmetic updates were done in 2006 and the second generation model was available in 2009.

With the premium SUV market in the rise, Honda Cars Philippines fielded in the Pilot in 2006. Our market basically had the updated version in the US, but only a limited number of units were available. It was discontinued at the end of 2008, or in easy words, the last unit to be sold. The second generation Pilot was brought back in June 2012 (or nearly six years after the original Philippine release).

Value and Costs
At par with other Japanese rivals, the Pilot costs less than half of its P2.6M price when it was new. For just a snip below or above a million bucks, one can get a functional and reliable SUV for less cash.

With this vehicle having a V6 engine under the hood as well as its limited status, maintaining one can be expensive. But remember, contemporaries having V6 gasoline engines would command the same price for taking care of one.

Exterior and Interior
For Filipinos, an SUV must be good looking or gwapo. But the Pilot fails to pass that criteria since it resembled the first generation CR-V that gone on drugs. Nothing special to write about the exterior.

One strength of this vehicle is the interior space which is friendly for every people from each strokes of life. Senior citizens would love the Pilot since entering and going out is easy and the cabin accommodates eight people, although the third row is best left for children. Interior quality is decent but materials are made of hard plastic, which is not a good characteristic of a P2M vehicle. Controls are logically placed and within the driver's reach. Lest we forget, the Pilot uses a column shifter behind the steering wheel.

Since this is a US developed vehicle, a gasoline engine comes standard. And 2006-2008 Pilots around the world have the J35A6 3,471cc which carries 244hp at 5,600rpm (from 240hp of the previous models) and 325Nm at 4,500rpm (downgraded from 328Nm of 2003-2005 units). There is available power in the lower revs but the engine has the tendency to delay power delivery since it takes time to reach the right power band.

Driving Impressions
It drives like an Accord (or an odyssey), and we're thankful for that. The steering is dull but the all around independent suspension (and a stability control) keeps things planted. Standard among Pilots is the Variable Torque Management 4WD that powers the front wheels all the time and pressing the lock button can distribute power 50:50. Fuel efficiency isn't something to be proud of.

An object of utility than desirability (the same say goes to my Mitsubishi Endeavor review months ago), the Pilot is great, but fails to excel on any aspect. If it were introduced much earlier, it could have been eating the dust of competitors. For everything else, rivals are much better buys.

The Good:
  • Well behaved
  • Roomy cabin
  • Zesty engine
The Bad:
  • Designed on a boring day
  • Pricey to maintain
  • No diesel (its made in America folks)
The Pick: 3.5 V6 EX

Engine: 3,471cc J35A6 V6 gasoline
Power: 244hp @ 5,600rpm
Torque: 325Nm @ 4,500rpm
Fuel Consumption: 5-7km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P2,600,000
Price (Now): P950,000-P1,150,000
Rivals: Nissan Murano, Mazda CX-9, Hyundai Veracruz, Mitsubishi Endeavor, Subaru Tribeca
On Sale: 2006-2008

Honda Cars Quezon City - (02) 712-6850
Honda Cars Kalookan - (02) 366-5701
Honda Cars Pasig - (02) 928-1288

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