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2004 Honda Pilot

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2004 Honda Pilot
Available in 3 styles:  2004 Honda Pilot 4dr 4x4 Sport Utility shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

17 city / 22 hwy


2004 Honda Pilot 4.5 26
$ 3,383-10,287
September 16, 2003
Vehicle Overview
Honda added the midsize Pilot sport utility vehicle to its lineup as an early 2003 model and billed it as “not too big, not too small.” Larger than the company’s compact CR-V and new Element, the Pilot edged aside Honda’s Passport, though it was not intended as a direct replacement.

Honda calls the Pilot the “ultimate family adventure vehicle” and promises the largest passenger and cargo-hauling capacity in its class as well as an abundance of storage compartments. The automaker claimed that the Pilot’s VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management 4WD) drive system combined the best of four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

Three models are available: LX, EX and top-of-the-line EX-L. Heated seats and mirrors have been added to the EX-L for 2004, and Honda’s available navigation system gets an improved database. The Pilot is manufactured in Allison, Ontario, Canada.

Only modest bodyside cladding is used on the Pilot, which exhibits a clean look. So-called “classic SUV proportions” include upright roof pillars and a large greenhouse area that yields what Honda calls “panoramic views for all occupants.” The hood slopes down to a wide grille is flanked by wraparound headlights. All models have body-colored bumpers, and the EX adds body-colored side moldings.

Unibody construction includes front and rear subframes. Equipped with a fully independent suspension, the Pilot has an 8-inch ground clearance for offroad treks.

Eight people fit inside the Pilot, which features 60/40-split seats in the second and third rows; both seats can fold down. Theater seating provides a better view for rear occupants. Leather upholstery is available in the EX edition.

Walk-in capability lets passengers easily access the interior next to the second-row seat. A 4-foot-wide sheet of plywood will fit flat on the floor. Cargo space totals 90.3 cubic feet with the second and third seats folded. The spare tire can be lowered without removing any cargo. Options include a DVD-based navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Under the Hood
Honda’s 3.5-liter VTEC V-6 engine produces 240 horsepower and 242 pounds-feet of torque and runs on regular fuel. A column-mounted lever controls the five-speed-automatic transmission, which has Grade Logic Control. The full-time VTM-4 four-wheel-drive system includes an electronically locking differential; a transfer case is not used. The Pilot can tow a 4,500-pound boat.

All-disc antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard. An “intelligent” front-passenger airbag works with an Occupant Position Detection System. Seat belt pretensioners and headrests go in all eight seating positions.

Driving Impressions
Honda did just about everything right with its Pilot. Solidity and carlike traits are immediately noticeable, and the vehicle’s slightly heavy feel is mixed with considerable overall refinement.

The Pilot’s performance is strong and confident, if not exactly blistering, and its response is quick, easy and seamless from the engine and automatic transmission. The seats are firm and very supportive, and a large speedometer is simple to read.

Drivers can expect a smooth ride on good roads and a satisfying experience on rougher pavement. The Pilot stays reasonably flat in curves, but it’s not quite as surefooted as some SUVs on narrow twisty roads. It seems a trifle uncertain through some demanding turns.

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 9/16/03

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