The Honda Pilot has been a fixture of the midsize SUV market since its introduction in 2002 to replace the Passport model. At least 120,000 units have been sold every year since 2014, according to figures from GoodCarBadCar. Go back to 2010 and at least 100,000 models have been sold annually. Those sales numbers mean there are plenty of Pilot models on the used car market. But what are the best years for Honda Pilot models? Here’s what you need to know, thanks to data from CarComplaints.
What is the best model year for a used Honda Pilot?
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According to CarComplaints data, four models stand out as the best years: 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015.
The 2007 Honda Pilot was part of the first generation and is one of the best. Only 66 complaints were registered in total. CarComplaints The data shows that the most common complaint was in the category of window/windshield problems, with 19 in total. The worst problem overall was power window failure (17 complaints), which is estimated to have started at an average of 97,000 miles. It was a relatively easy fix, though, averaging $300. Other common complaints include body/paint issues (13) and engine issues (11). Overall, CarComplaints says, “The 2007 Honda Pilot is a solid, trouble-free model year, with no major issues reported.”
Of the four featured models, the best-used Honda Pilot year on the list is the 2008 model. That was the last model year for the first-generation, and it had few notable problems, with just 36 complaints flagged by CarComplaints data. Nearly a third of those complaints (11 of 36) were engine problems. The most common problem was engine failure due to oil leaking into the coolant, but that was only reported four times. If you’re looking for the best used Honda Pilot, the 2008 model is possibly the best option.
Like the 2007 model, the 2014 Honda Pilot was one of the last years of the second generation. CarComplaints lists a total of 68 complaints with by far the most common being classified as body/paint issues (33 in total). The 33s were due to paint chipping around 76,150 miles. Average repair cost is around $1,380. The second most common category of complaints is engine problems (14), with some complaints noting excessive oil consumption around 65,000 miles.
The 2015 Honda Pilot was the last model year of the second generation. With only 42 complaints noted by CarComplaints, the 2015 model year is one of the best-used Honda Pilot years around. The most common category of complaints are engine problems (11 in total) and the most commonly reported problem is the check engine light that comes on around 5,000 miles. But that was only reported six times, and most of the fixes were covered under warranty.
Which Honda Pilot Model Year Should You Avoid?
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Reviewing the CarComplaints database, there are three Honda Pilot models to avoid: 2003, 2016, and 2005.
The 2003 Honda Pilot was the first model year and many problems were reported. The most common complaints of the 255 reported are related to ignition switch issues. CarComplaints warns to be careful when a 2003 Pilot passes 100,000 miles due to two defect trends: transmission misfire and ignition switch issues.
The 2016 model was the first of the latest generation of Honda Pilot models and registered 191 complaints in total. The most common problems are related to transmission (41) and electrical (37). CarComplaints specifies that drivers report jerkiness under acceleration and fuel injector failures at an average of 41,000 and 59,000 miles, respectively.
The 2005 Honda Pilot has a total of 145 complaints on record, with the most common being transmission problems (65). Transmission fluid leaking into the radiator (46 complaints) and transmission failure (16) were the worst problems reported. CarComplaints also notes that another issue reported for the 2005 Pilot was the car braking unexpectedly. The company issued a recall in 2013 to repair the vehicle’s stability system.
Is the Honda Pilot a reliable SUV?
Although there are some model years to avoid, the Honda Pilot is a reliable midsize SUV. Few other SUVs rank among the best vehicles according to CarComplaints as frequently as the Pilot. Repairman gives the model an above average reliability rating. That puts it 13th out of 26 vehicles in the midsize SUV category.
The data shows that the annual cost of repairs is $542, less than the average for midsize SUVs ($573) or all vehicles ($652). But it also shows slightly more frequent stops to the repair shop, at 0.51 times per year, compared to the average of 0.4 per year for midsize SUVs and all vehicles overall.