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Best & Worst Years of Honda Pilot – Graphs & Owner Surveys

The best years of the Honda Pilot are: 2019, 2021, 2015-2016, 2013, 2009-2012, and 2005. The years you should absolutely avoid are: 2006-2007, 2003-2004, 2008, 2020, 2017-2018, and 2014. Most issues are related to the engine with the catalytic converter and spark plugs showing up as frequent issues.

Honda Pilot in the countryside

For 20 years, the Honda Pilot has been delivering the automaker’s trademark combination of careful engineering and value to the three-row SUV segment, competing against perennial favorites like the Ford Explorer. Entering its fourth generation as of 2023, the Pilot has been faithfully running a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 since day one with constant updates and improvements along the way. 

And though the Pilot is by and large a reliable family vehicle, there have been some bumps over the past two decades of production. Which is why we’ve put together this ranking of the best and worst model years based on objective factors like FIXD Reliability scores and subjective owner input – as detailed below. 

Best Years Why? Worst Years Why?
2019 Top reliability marks, low repair costs 2006-2007 FIXD score plummets, high repair bills
2021 Best fuel economy, lowest annual maintenance bills 2003-2004 Problems with first year of production
2015-2016 Successful powertrain overhaul 2008 Long shop visits, market value goes down
2013 Strong reliability, good value 2020 Four-point drop in reliability, expensive to fix
2009-2012 Consistent FIXD score improvement 2017-2018 Low owner durability expectations, reliability drops
2005 Safety high point, big jumps in reliability 2014 Underperforms industry-wide safety, high maintenance bills

Honda Pilot Engine Reliability Score, Safety Ratings, MPG, and Value v.s. Maintenance & Repair Costs Year by Year

The first chart below, Honda Pilot Reliability Score, is the main driver of our model year rankings. It is a combination of objective FIXD device data and subjective owner-reported information. Typically the first year of a new generation – like 2003 – will struggle with reliability as the kinks are worked out, which is reflected in the chart. 

From there, we blend in published government safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and fuel efficiency figures per fueleconomy.gov

We also incorporate market values from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) against owner-reported annual maintenance costs. That goes into the ranking decision along with owner survey answers and pertinent safety recalls. Lastly, with details on safety recalls, and common Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) we can create the final rankings below. 

Engine Reliability Score – Over The Years

Honda Pilot Reliability Score

The green line on this Honda Pilot Reliability Score chart is based on the number of CELs thrown by each model year. After tallying them up, we weight this objective score by mileage and convert it into a 1-10 scale where 10 is the best and 1 is the worst. 

By asking Pilot owners, “How reliable would you say your car is?”, we can pull together a subjective reliability score for comparison. This multiple-choice question offers answers from “Just Point A to Point B driving” to “I could take a cross-country trip, no problem.” After converting the answer into a 1-10 scale, we create the gray line above. 

As you can see, the objective and subjective reliability scores mostly move in the same direction. But occasionally, like in 2020, the scores diverge dramatically. We’ll explain this in the relevant sections below but it helps illustrate the importance of analyzing both sets of data. 

You can learn more about our reliability scoring process at the bottom of this article and find out some of the most common CELs to expect from Honda.

NHTSA Safety Score – Over The Years

Honda Pilot NHTSA Safety Rating

Vehicle safety is always an important consideration but it ranks especially high for the Honda Pilot as 50% of owners use theirs primarily as a family vehicle. This is why we factor the data on the chart above into our rankings below.

The gray line indicates the average crash test safety rating across the industry per published NHTSA data. The green line is based on data from the same source but only for the Pilot. As you can see, it is generally at or above the average with some minor variances as we’ll explain below. 

It’s also important to understand how a given model year of the Pilot ranks for safety as it plays a big role in keeping insurance premiums down. If you live in one of the states listed below, we can show you the cheapest vehicles to insure in yours. 

What Used Cars Are the Cheapest To Insure In:
North Carolina
New York

MPG – Over The Years

Honda Pilot Average MPG

By averaging the combined fuel economy figures – from fueleconomy.gov – across all trims of each model year, we can create the above Honda Pilot Average MPG chart. As with most vehicles, the Pilot’s fuel economy continually improves year-over-year as the venerable 3.5L V6 becomes more efficient, transmissions are upgraded, and technology improves. 

Highlights include 2016 when the average stepped up two mpg thanks to the successful launch of the third generation PIlot that included a comprehensive powertrain overhaul. 

Current Market Value of All Honda Pilot Years & Cost Per Year to Repair and Maintain Each

Honda Pilot Market Value vs Cost of Repairs

This chart plots current Honda Pilot market values from KBB against annual maintenance costs per owner surveys. It’s a valuable set of data points in defining why some model years are best avoided. For example, in 2008, the value metric (green) went down and the maintenance metric (gray) went up. It’s one reason the 2008 Pilot lands on our list of worst model years.

When shopping for a used Honda Pilot, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vehicles are cared for equally. To protect yourself from lemons, take along a FIXD Sensor on your test drive. FIXD connects to a free app on your smartphone to tell you more about the vehicle you’re checking out, including check engine lights and other hidden issues that the owner or dealership may be attempting to hide. Click here to learn more and get FIXD for only $19.99 (regular price $59)!

Important Features Timeline

Honda Pilot Timeline of Important Features

2003: First year of Pilot production with a 3.5L V6

2004: Heated front seats added to EX-L model

2005: New 3.5L V6 fitted with revised 5-speed automatic

2006: Variable cylinder management introduced

2007: Four new colors added to paint palette

2008: Special Edition model added with sunroof

2009: New second-gen Pilot arrives with more power

2010: Integrated rear sunshades added to Touring trim

2011: Touring model receives rear entertainment system

2012: Mid-cycle refresh brings fresh styling and more insulation

2013: Backup camera becomes standard

2014: Carryover year with no major changes

2015: SE model added with satellite radio and sunroof

2016: New third-gen Pilot debuts with overhauled powertrain

2017: Apple CarPlay and Android become widely available

2018: Deep Scarlet Red added to paint options

2019: 9-speed automatic updated, mid-cycle refresh of exterior and interior

2020: Black Edition model added to lineup

2021: Base models receive dual-zone automatic climate control

2022: Off-road oriented TrailSport trim added to lineup

The Best Years of the Honda Pilot

2019 Honda Pilot display at a dealership.

Taking into account FIXD and owner-reported reliability, government safety scores, fuel efficiency, and Pilot owner survey responses, we’ve come up with this list of the best Honda Pilots. Pertinent recall information and notes about common DTCs are included as well. 

2019 Honda Pilot

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 10/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 10/10

KBB Value: $22,378

Fuel Economy: 22 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $375

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

Between the aligned 10/10 FIXD Reliability score and owner-reported score (the only year this happens) and annual maintenance costs that run well below the $680 average, the 2019 Honda Pilot takes top honors in our rankings. 

Both of those reliability scores are improvements over the prior year and are all the more impressive considering the 9-speed automatic transmission was updated in 2019 for smoother shifting. Powertrain work like this frequently results in reliability issues, but that is not the case here. 

A relatively large percentage of owners – 50% versus an average of 29% – report using their 2019 Pilot for lots of driving. This may explain why this model year leans high on odometer readings – just over 62,000 miles – which would impact the market value, which does drop over the 2018 Pilot. 

When CELs do pop up, you can expect an issue with the evaporative emission control (EVAP) system as all three of the most common DTCs are related to it. DTC P0441 indicates the EVAP system purge flow is incorrect, which could be the result of a loose gas cap or require a new valve for around $200. 

DTC P0456 pops when there is a small leak in this system, as we discuss on our YouTube channel. And if DTC P04F1 shows up, it is related to P0441, so start there.

There are eight recalls for the 2019 Pilot but they mostly impact small numbers of vehicles. One of them, however, affects nearly 725,000 Hondas and has to do with the hood unexpectedly opening while driving. A Honda dealership should fix any open recall on a vehicle up to 15 model years old at no charge. 

2021 Honda Pilot

2021 Honda Pilot  driving along the street,

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 10/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 6/10

KBB Value: $29,249

Fuel Economy: 23 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $250

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

With a four-point jump from six to 10 for the FIXD Reliability score and annual repair bills of only $250 – the lowest over a 20-year span – the 2021 Honda Pilot is easy to recommend. But as you can see on the reliability chart, there is a dramatic disparity between the FIXD and owner-reported scores. 

The owner rating is based on responses to surveys from FIXD. Looking at the results, we can see that the data sample size for 2021 is far smaller than average – only about 1% of the usual number of responses – which skews this metric. 

However, of those who responded, 40% expect their PIlot to hit 200,000 miles. Considering these models average only 25,000 miles, that is a good sign. As such, we expect this data point to move closer to the FIXD figure over time and will rely on the objective score in the meantime. 

Another high point here is the 23 mpg fuel economy figure, the highest point across all Pilot model years that was due in part to Honda making the 9-speed automatic transmission standard across the trim lineup. 

Though we have a tally of how many DTCs were recorded for the 2021 Pilot, we do not yet have the specifics on which codes were most prevalent and estimated repair costs. However, owners should be aware that the brakes have a 20% chance of causing an expensive repair, the highest of all vehicle systems for 2021.

The recall count is on the low side for the 2021 Pilot at just four. One of the more impactful recalls is related to the gauge cluster screen displaying incorrect information, or none at all. It affects approximately 600,000 vehicles. 

2015-2016 Honda Pilot

2016 White Honda Pilot in the city street.

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 10/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $11,191-$13,467

Fuel Economy: 20-22 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $350-$542

Safety Rating: 4.4-4.6/5

The third-generation Pilot arrived in 2016 with powertrain updates including the addition of direct injection, start-stop technology for Touring and Elite models, and a pair of new transmissions. Normally, automakers struggle with reliability following such a major overhaul of these systems. But that’s not the case with the Pilot. 

Instead, the FIXD Reliability score went up two points, the owner score stayed high, fuel efficiency increased, and safety scores improved thanks to the addition of advanced driver aids like forward collision mitigation and a lane-keeping system. 

KBB values were flat going into 2015, the final year of the second-gen Pilot, then picked up again for the next generation in 2016. Other notable points include below-average annual maintenance costs, and a well-received new sound system on the 2016 PIlot  – 11% of owners like it versus just 7% on average.

In line with the relatively low repair bills are that the three most common causes of CELs all come with a typical repair bill under $200. DTC P0301 means it’s likely time for new spark plugs, work that should cost around $170. If DTC P0430 arises, expect a $50-$150 bill for the powertrain control module (PCM). Fixing the ignition coils, indicated by DTC P0304, shouldn’t cost you more than $175.

As for recalls, the 2015 Pilot had three including a serious passenger-side airbag issue that impacted over one million vehicles. There were five recalls issued in 2016 with one for a fuel tank issue involving insufficient welds. 

2013 Honda Pilot

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 9/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 8/10

KBB Value: $7,854

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $679

Safety Rating: 4.4/5

Considering the 2013 PIlot averages 140,000 miles on the clock and the PIlot is generally good for at least 200,000 miles, these model years are a good purchase value given the sub-$8,000 KBB estimate. 

As well, the FIXD Reliability score moved up to 9/10 this year and the owner-reported score is still strong at 8/10. As you can see on the chart, the owner figure did move down by one point versus 2012. While there is nothing in the data to explain this variance, as we detail at the bottom of this article this score is subjective so it needs to be considered within the context of the objective data.

On that subjective note, 20% of owners are not fans of the entertainment system in the 2013 PIlot, a relatively high percentage. It was in 2013 that Honda revamped cabin technology by offering an 8” i-Multi-Information Display within the center stack. Naturally, some folks would like this and some would not so if you’re looking to buy a 2013 Pilot be sure to get a feel for the entertainment system first.

Two of the most common DTCs in 2013 are P0430 and P0420, both of which are related to the catalytic converter, a component that can cost up to $2,000 for replacement. Fortunately, DTC P0303, which indicates it’s time for new spark plugs tends to cost less than $200.

Six recalls were issued that impacted the 2013 Pilot and five of them are related to airbag issues. The industry-wide Takata airbag issue has hit Honda hard. Many of the model years in this ranking have extensive recalls related to it. Honda has issued a fact sheet with current details about this ongoing concern.

2009-2012 Honda Pilot

2011 Honda Pilot parked in front of a house

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 6-8/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $4,907-$7,673

Fuel Economy: 19-20 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $705-$1,184

Safety Rating: 4.4-4.6/5

From 2009 to 2012, the Honda Pilot showed a constant improvement in the FIXD Reliability score. This figure was low in 2008 at 4/10 but then jumped to six in 2009, seven in 2010, and then eight for 2011 and 2012. Additionally, the owner-reported score stays elevated over the entire span, earning a nine each year.

This is all the more impressive when you consider that 2009 marked year one of the second generation Pilot and the introduction of a revised V6 with more power. Another benefit here is that the average fuel economy ticked up from 19 to 20 mpg during this span.

The safety score did drop in 2011, but that was the year that the NHTSA introduced a more stringent crash test protocol and the Pilot still manages to stay above the industry average score.

As well, 31% of 2010 Pilot owners think their SUV will hit 200,000 miles even though these vehicles average 151,000 miles – meaning there is a ways to go for that high-mileage mark. So owners seem to be impressed with their Pilot’s reliability. 

Over these four years, two-thirds of the most common DTCs are for the catalytic converter – P0420 and P0430. This can be an expensive repair, running between $1,500 and $2,000 – which helps explain why the 2010 model year sees a spike in annual repair bills. It also correlates with 73% of owners who say the 2010 Pilot is expensive to repair.

Fortunately, one of the other common CEL causes – DTC P0171 – is a far less pricey repair proposition at less than $200. It has to do with the intake air boot as we talk about in this P0171 explainer video.

As noted earlier, the Honda Pilot is involved in the ongoing Takata airbag recall issue, which is on display for these model years. 

Of the nine recalls for the 2009 Pilot, eight are for airbag issues. In 2010, there were 10 recalls, nine of which are for airbags. Nine of the 11 recalls in 2011 were for airbags and eight of the nine 2012 Pilot recalls were, you guessed it, airbag-related. 

This wide-ranging airbag recall impacted several million Honda vehicles over this four-year span, so be sure to use the NHTSA VIN tool to determine if your Pilot is on the list. 

2005 Honda Pilot

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 6/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 8/10

KBB Value: $2,958

Fuel Economy: 17 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $778

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

The 2005 Honda Pilot earns its spot on our list of best model years by jumping two points in reliability scores for both categories – FIXD and owner-reported – versus the prior year. Not bad considering this Pilot has one of the highest average odometer readings of 225,000 miles. 

With a safety rating of 4.8 out of 5, the 2005 Pilot is also part of a small group boasting the highest scores in this category. 

Only 20% of owners think their 2005 Pilot is expensive to repair – versus an average of 49% who feel this way – but half of those owners don’t like the entertainment system. Of course, it was nothing fancy at the time with AM/FM radio, a CD player, and 4- or 7-speakers, but audiophile buyers should keep this in mind.

As with many of the Honda Pilots on this list, the 2005 model year is most likely to see DTC P0420 and P0430 as the reason behind a CEL. Both mean the catalytic converter is acting up and could lead to a repair bill in the $1,500 to $2,000 range. 

DTC P0300 is another common problem that likely means it’s time for new spark plugs, which are thankfully a lower-cost repair. Most of the 15 recalls for the 2005 Pilot center around airbags, but there is one for inadvertent application of the brakes that impacts some 180,000 vehicles. 

The Worst Years of the Honda Pilot

Honda Pilot car side view, driving against a background of glass buildings.

Working with the same information to determine the best Honda Pilots, we’ve compiled the list of model years to avoid. You can expect more issues with reliability, higher maintenance bills, and in some cases lower safety ratings with these poor-performing Pilots.

2006-2007 Honda Pilot 

2006 Silver Honda Pilot car moving on the street.

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 1-2/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 7/10

KBB Value: $3,720-$4,473

Fuel Economy: 18 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $656-$1,000

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

Dropping from 6/10 to 2/10 and then to the very lowest FIXD Reliability score of 1/0 is a surefire way to lead the list of Honda Pilots to avoid, which is what happened with the 2006 and 2007 model years. The decrease in owner-reported reliability doesn’t help, nor does the lower safety score versus 2005.

Much of this can be attributed to the introduction of Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) on the 2006 Pilot. It was part of a mid-cycle refresh that also included a revised i-VTEC system, a shorter 1st gear ratio, and the addition of active engine mounts. 

Needless to say, things didn’t go to plan and reliability suffered severely. In fact, the VCM problems led to a class-action lawsuit against Honda. These model years also skew high on annual maintenance costs and spend over two days in the shop each year. 

Unsurprisingly, both the 2006 and 2007 Pilot have a 33% and 44% chance, respectively, of a $500+ repair being caused by the engine. One of the more common issues is DTC P0420, which means it may be time for a new $1,500 catalytic converter. 

The other two most common DTCs, P0300 and P0306, are likely less expensive at $50-$150 but involve the engine valves, an issue that should be addressed right away. We look more closely at what DTC P0306 entails in this P0306 explainer video. 

There were 10 recalls for the 2006 Pilot and nine for the 2007 model year. The majority are airbag related, including a single recall in 2007 that affected over six million vehicles. 

2003-2004 Honda Pilot 

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 4/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 6-9/10

KBB Value: $2,675-$2,878

Fuel Economy: 17 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $667-$786

Safety Rating: 4.8/5

2003 and 2004 were the first two model years of the first-generation Honda Pilot. As is often the case, this distinction came with reliability problems. The FIXD Reliability score stays flat, and low, both years while the owner-reported score drops three points into 2004. 

As would be expected, these older Pilots also have relatively high mileage, averaging 195,000 in 2003 and 225,000 in 2004, which isn’t doing any favors on the reliability front. That is compounded by annual maintenance costs of at least $700 and close to three days in the shop each year for the 2004 model. 

It’s not all bad news as these early Honda Pilots have excellent safety ratings and more than 25% of owners think there is ample cabin storage. 

DTC P0300 is the most likely cause of a CEL on these early models. It means the vehicle is ready for replacement spark plugs, a job that shouldn’t cost more than $200. DTC P0305, which indicates faulty ignition coils, is similarly priced but is a more severe issue that we discuss on our YouTube channel in our P0305 explainer video.

If you see DTC P0304, look at the exhaust gas recirculation system, something we cover in this P0304 explainer video. Repairs for this trouble code range from $50 to $100. 

There were quite a few recalls for these two model year Pilots with 14 in 2003 and 13 in 2004. There were also five investigations and 733 consumer complaints, both of which are higher than most other years. 

Though one of the recalls is related to transmission gear failure and impacted 1.1 million vehicles, nearly all the other recalls were airbag-related. Just this year, Honda issued a “Do Not Drive” warning for certain 2003 Pilots as a result. 

2008 Honda Pilot 

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 4/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $4,170

Fuel Economy: 18 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $944

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

The 2008 Honda Pilot is marked by long annual shop visits, averaging 2.6 days, a KBB market value that goes the wrong way, and a maintenance bill closing in on $1,000 each year. Though the FIXD Reliability score does improve over the 2007 model, it is still too low for us to be able to recommend these Pilots. 

Additionally, the 60% likelihood that the engine on a 2008 Pilot is behind an expensive repair is far higher than the overall average of 18% for this metric and the highest of any individual model year. It correlates with the two most common DTCs – P0430 and P0420 – being for a problem with the catalytic converter, replacement of which can reach $2,000.

DTC P0300, indicating it’s time for new spark plugs, is also engine-related but is generally less expensive. Expect to pay a shop around $170 for this work or grab your toolbox and take the DIY approach to replacing spark plugs to save some money. 

2020 Honda Pilot 

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 6/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 10/10

KBB Value: $26,158

Fuel Economy: 22 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $442

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

Though only a few years old and boasting a perfect Owner Reliability score, the FIXD Reliability score took a dive from 10 all the way down to six in 2020. While this metric could improve over time as we gather more FIXD device data, it doesn’t bode well that the data collected so far points to poor reliability. 

It also aligns with the 83% of owners who think their Pilot is expensive to repair, a figure that is higher than any other model year and the overall average of just 49%. 

If you do end up with this model year, benefits include strong fuel economy and family-friendly features like a Wi-Fi hotspot and the CabinTalk intercom tech. These improvements help explain why so many owners, 67%, report using the 2020 Pilot primarily as a family vehicle. 

We do not yet have the specifics on what trouble codes to watch out for, but if there is an expensive repair, it is most likely due to the engine per owner survey responses. 

Of the six recalls issued for the 2020 Pilot, none are related to the airbags. The largest recall that year was for an issue with the side-view mirrors unexpectedly detaching. It impacted about 339,000 vehicles. 

2017-2018 Honda Pilot 

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 8/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 8-9/10

KBB Value: $22,815-$24,077

Fuel Economy: 22 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $450-$792

Safety Rating: 4.6/5

The main areas of concern with the 2017 and 2018 Honda Pilot are reliability score decreases in both categories and low owner expectations of durability. 

Though the 2018 Pilot only averages 50,000 miles, 50% of those owners don’t think their vehicle can make it to 200,000 miles. That is far higher than the average 6% for this metric, indicating the experience thus far has not been favorable. 

Fuel economy is a bright point at 22 mpg for both years, but 2017 owners report an average of 2.4 days in the shop each year and annual repair costs for the 2018 model are nearly $800. Both figures are relatively high for the respective category. 

One of the most common causes of a CEL is DTC P0430, which in this case is related to the PCM programming. Repair should cost no more than $150. DTC P0304, which is tied to the ignition coils, is a similarly priced repair that we look at in detail on our P0304 explainer video on YouTube.

DTC P0420, on the other hand, can result in quite an expensive repair bill. It indicates a problem with the catalytic converter, replacement of which can run from $1,500 to $2,000. 

Thankfully, there aren’t too many recalls for these Honda Pilots. There was one in 2017 that is related to the hood possibly opening while driving and three in 2018. One of those 2018 recalls was related to the timing belt teeth separating from the belt, a potentially catastrophic issue that affected about 93,000 vehicles. 

2014 Honda Pilot 

FIXD App Engine Reliability: 8/10

Owner-Reported Reliability: 9/10

KBB Value: $11,258

Fuel Economy: 20 mpg

Annual Maintenance/Repair: $750

Safety Rating: 4.4/5

The 2014 Pilot is slightly “better” than the 2017-2018 model years because the FIXD Reliability score dropped just one point over the previous year. Unfortunately, we still can’t recommend the 2014 Pilot because of above-average annual repair bills and for being one of the only years with a safety score below the industry average.

2013 was a year of multiple cabin technology updates including a new display system, USB connectivity, and Bluetooth integration. As we noted in the 2013 PIlot section above, this was not well-received and that sentiment carried over to the 2014 model with 33% of owners saying the stereo stinks and 17% giving the overall entertainment system a thumbs down. 

Like so many of the model years above, the 2014 Pilot tends to suffer most frequently from issues with the catalytic converter (DTC P0420), the spark plugs (DTC P0303), and the PCM programming (DTC P0430). The latter two repairs tend to cost less than $200, but a new catalytic converter (P0430) could run you ten times that.

Though only three recalls were issued for the 2014 Pilot, they all had to do with airbag issues and impacted over a million vehicles in total. 


What years of the Honda Pilot have engine and/or transmission problems?

The 2008 Honda Pilot has a 60% chance of the engine being the cause of an expensive repair, which is unsurprising as it comes just two years after the buggy VCM technology was implemented. The 2003 PIlot is best avoided when it comes to transmission concerns as this critical vehicle system had a 27% likelihood of being responsible for owner-reported  $500+ repair bills.

What is considered high mileage for a Honda Pilot?

From 2003 to 2021, only four model years of the Honda Pilot show odometer readings between 190,000 and 200,000 miles and only two model years go beyond that, both of which average 225,000 miles. The overall average is 139,000 miles and only 22% of owners expect their Pilot to run to 200,000 miles, so  175,000 miles would be a fair estimation of high mileage for this SUV.

What other vehicles should I consider? 

As the SUV segment continues to explode in popularity, there is more competition for the Pilot than ever. Ford’s Explorer and the Toyota Highlander are perennial favorites. 2 other options, the Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas are  recent additions to the mix. For those aiming for strong fuel economy, the Fuel-Effiecient SUVs on this list are all solid options. And if you don’t need quite as much cabin space but want to stay in the Honda family, have a look at the CR-V

What owners of the Honda Pilot like to use their car for:

Frequent Use Categories: How Useful? (Out of 5 Stars)
Family Vehicle *****
Lots of Driving (travel/long commute) ***
Hauling/Towing *
Office on Wheels *
Sport/Fast Driving *
Luxurious Driving *
Outdoor/Off-Road *

A Note About Data and Information Sources

This article has many details about Honda Pilot reliability; here’s what we used for our assumptions and recommendations.

  • FIXD Reliability Score & Data: Engine reliability information is captured via the FIXD App

The FIXD Reliability Score is calculated using the number of DTCs per year, weighted by mileage. This is then turned into a scale of 1-10 for easy graphing. 

This is an objective score.

  • Owner Reliability Score & Data: This data is the result of surveying Honda Pilot owners who use FIXD. 

The Owner Reliability Score comes straight from owners of the Honda Pilot.  

This is a subjective score.

To determine the Owner Reliability Score we ask each car owner:

How reliable would you say your Honda Pilot is?

a. Just point A to point B driving

b. A Daily Commuter

c. Good for a 100-mile road trip

d. Good for a 500-mile road trip

e. I could take a cross-country road trip, no problem

From here we translate their answers into the Owner Reliability Score:

a. = 2

b. = 4

c. = 6

d. = 8

e. = 10

Keep in mind, owners may think their car is more or less reliable than it actually is. 

One potential problem is that people often buy the same make or model they are used to when they go car shopping, just a newer year.

Ford, for instance, has a number of consumer loyalty awards for the Ford F-Series, Ford Mustang, and Ford Expedition.

Car owners may be so loyal to the make or model they currently own that they would have trouble accurately comparing their cars’ reliability to others. 

It’s for this reason that we ask car owners a question that is relative to mileage rather than relative to other cars. 

Still, be mindful of the accuracy of these Owner Reliability Scores, people’s perceptions and unconscious blindspots can skew data. 

We suggest looking at both the FIXD Reliability Score and the Owner Reliability Score for this reason.

  • KBB Value: Average private-seller valuations as supplied by Kelley Blue Book (KBB), based on a Honda Pilot with typical mileage for that respective model year.
  • Fuel Economy: Mileage-per-gallon estimates according to the EPA MPG on Fueleconomy.gov
  • Annual Maintenance/Repair: Upkeep expenses as reported by surveyed Honda Pilot owners
  • Safety Rating: Crash test data collected and reported by NHTSA. We average all ratings for each year to come up with a simplified, average safety score. This makes it easier to look at on a graph.


  1. Honda Pilot model-specific information. Retrieved May 15, 2023, from https://www.edmunds.com/
  2. Honda Pilot model-specific recall information. Retrieved May 15, 2023, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
  3. Honda Pilot model-specific information. Retrieved May 15, 2023, from https://www.auto-brochures.com 
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Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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About the Author

Niel Stender

Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his old Cherokee and sweet Mitsubishi Starion, which led to a degree in mechanical engineering and a job at Ford as a vehicle dynamics engineer. His writing infuses that automotive background with sales and marketing experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he enjoys digging into some of the more technical mechanical systems under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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