Kelley Blue Book ® - 2004 Honda Pilot Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2004 Honda Pilot Overview

Body
A CR-V on Steroids

Love the Honda CR-V but need more room and power? No worries, Honda builds an even bigger SUV with much of the same look and character: the Pilot. As Honda's first mid-size SUV, the Pilot represents a vast departure for a company known primarily as a builder of small cars. You won't find the Pilot to be as unwieldy as a full-size SUV and yet it mimics much of the desired room, power and creature comforts of such vehicles, including a third-row seat.

The Pilot actually shares the same platform as the high-end Acura MDX. Such impressive DNA is bound to make for good stock and in the Pilot you get all you'd expect and more. The Pilot offers room for eight persons, though in reality the rear-most seat is best reserved for the twelve and under crowd. Everyone else should be more than pleased with their seating, which provides generous portions of head, hip and legroom. We've said before that the Pilot offers probably the best front seats of any SUV; they provide outstanding long-term support that even after long stretches with out a pit stop, won't leave you feeling fatiguing or cramped.

Speaking of seats, the Pilot's can be placed in more positions than a contortionist on painkillers. With little effort on your part, the third-row bench stows itself neatly out of sight to create a level cargo floor. For 2004, all Pilots now feature fore and aft sliding mid-row seats with a mechanism that makes it easier for third-row passengers to exit; the Pilot's mid-row seats can be individually folded flat to create the largest cargo area in its class. The Pilot is also equipped with loads of cup holders and plenty of storage space. Its wide center console has a large covered storage bin that doubles as the perfect hiding spot for your CDs or cell phone.

The Pilot features tall side glass that affords all inside a clear view of the world around them. For the driver, this is a particularly nice feature as it makes it much easier to pilot the Pilot. Added maneuverability is made possible by the Pilot's short hood, large side-view mirrors and slight front and rear overhang. With the Pilot, the practice of ejecting one passenger to bark out the distance between moving bumper and parked car becomes a thing of the past.

Honda offers the Pilot in three trims: LX, EX and the loaded EX-L. Both feature Honda's VTM-4 4WD system that monitors the vehicle's condition at all times, maintaining traction with the road by distributing power between the front and rear wheels as needed. While many on-demand four-wheel drive systems only engage when they sense a wheel slipping, the VTM-4 knows enough to distribute the engine's torque to all four wheels under acceleration, no matter what the road conditions. In doing so, the Pilot's VTM-4 improves both off-the-line performance and overall traction. Because the system does not have a two-speed transfer case, it is not intended for true off road adventuring. However, the VTM-4 does feature a locking mechanism that can be manually engaged in either first, second or reverse at speeds under 18-mph. The system directs a preset maximum amount of torque to the rear wheels until traction is regained, at which point the system will gradually disengage.

Of course, when it comes to acceleration, the Pilot doesn't really need any assistance. That's because it's powered by a 240-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine. By employing Honda's legendary VTEC variable valve timing, the Pilot's V6 is capable of producing vast sums of low-end torque (242 lb-ft. @ 4500 rpm.) What this means to you is that you can accelerate, merge and pass with absolute confidence and still earn an EPA highway fuel rating of 22-mpg. As with all Honda engines, you'll be quite pleased with the relative smoothness and near-silent operation of the Pilot's V6.

When it comes to ride, handling and overall maneuverability, few other SUV's that cross the 4000-pound mark can stack up to the Pilot. Above all other attributes worthy of praise, the Pilot's excellent display of proper road feel, steering feedback and composed suspension earn it an A plus, plus. No matter what the road surface, the Pilot maintains its composure with enviable ease and when drifting quietly over smooth pavement, feels almost limousine like.

You'll find the LX models come fairly well equipped and should satisfy most buyers. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, rear defroster, power windows and door locks, dual power mirrors, cruise control, front side-impact airbags, tilt wheel, AM/FM stereo with CD, 16-inch styled steel wheels and an intermittent rear wiper washer. The EX adds two additional cup holders (total of nine) remote keyless entry, AM/FM stereo with CD and cassette, rear privacy glass, eight-way power driver's seat, steering wheel touch controls and alloy wheels. Options for the EX include onboard navigation, leather seats and a DVD-based entertainment system.

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