Not every Japanese car company was so quick to jump on the mid to full-size SUV bandwagon. While sales trends in the late 1990's clearly showed buyers moving away from minivans and wagons and upgrading to larger sport-utility vehicles, automakers which had traditionally focused on cars without devoting any resources to pickups or other heavier vehicles in some cases found themselves on the outside looking in.
However, there were instances where not have a truck platform lying around to use in a slapped-together SUV offering was more of a blessing than might have at first been apparent. With manufacturers scrambling to cannibalize their lineups in order to produce either a truck-based sport-utility vehicle or car-based crossover, Honda instead decided to sit on the sidelines and design a crossover vehicle which would be more in tune with meeting what customers were looking for, instead of what best padded the company's bottom line. By observing the frantic actions of their automotive colleagues and analyzing the vehicles which either sank or swam in the crossover market, Honda was able to come up with a vehicle that captured some of the best elements of their successful minivan program and married them to the drivability of their popular sedans.
It is notoriously difficult to achieve a high level of success with the first generation of a vehicle entering into a very competitive market segment, but Honda's patience and tenacity paid off. The Honda Pilot was met with an enthusiastic reception upon release, and loyal Honda buyers were pleased to finally have a viable option to move up to once their families had outgrown the Honda Odyssey minivan. The Pilot was able to offer similar space and utility compared to some of the traditional SUV's which dominated sales in the early part of the new millennium, and the vehicle's excellent powertrain and build quality soon built up a following of brand new Honda customers.
When it comes to choosing a crossover SUV, it's necessary to consider both the type of cargo and the number of passengers which will be regularly served by the vehicle. Given that Honda is a market leader when it comes to resale value for its popular sedans, it is no surprise that their used crossover vehicle is also a strong contender for the dollars of both families and those who require the convenience and cargo space of a larger, all-wheel drive vehicle. This article discuses the best used crossover available from Honda, the Pilot, and goes into detail regarding the vehicle's features and specifications.
2003 - 2007 Honda Pilot
The Pilot is Honda's attempt to capture some of the market traditionally served by American SUV's like the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Blazer. Similar in size, especially when it comes to passenger space, the Pilot is a crossover SUV which is based on the same general platform as the Acura MDX crossover and Honda Odyssey minivan. The first mid-size crossover from Honda is a definite winner, coming through in terms of performance, passenger comfort and cargo room.
The 2003 - 2007 Honda Pilot makes use of a well-designed 3.5-liter V-6 engine that puts out 240 horsepower and 242 lb-ft of torque. Matched with a 5-speed automatic transmission, the Pilot is capable of towing 4,500 lbs, which places it around the market average for a vehicle in its class. However, the Pilot is not intended as a heavy-duty truck, which is further evidenced by the fact that its electronically controlled all-wheel drive system is oriented towards maintaining traction and stability in snow and rain, and not conquering the Rubicon. Instead, the Pilot is tuned to be a very comfortable asphalt cruiser, a task it is well suited for with its taught suspension and many car-like attributes.
The interior of the 2003 - 2007 Honda Pilot is the vehicle's strongest point. 90 cubic feet of cargo space are available once the second and third row of seating are folded flat - with the last row disappearing completely into the floor. Eight passengers can be accommodated in the vehicle's spacious cabin, but adults will only be comfortable in the front five positions. A DVD entertainment system, rear-seat audio controls and a number of storage compartments spread throughout the vehicle help to increase its comfort and convenience level.
The 2003 - 2007 Honda Pilot marks a milestone for the company in terms of crossover vehicle development, and provides used crossover buyers with a very viable alternative to larger, gas-guzzling truck-based SUV's.