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2008 Honda Pilot Test Drive Review

The Honda Pilot combines three rows of seating with cargo space and a high-grade cabin.

8 /10
Overall Score

SUVs are no longer simply rugged utility vehicles. The modern SUV is designed with everyday driving in mind. That means commuting, going to the store, and getting the kids to school. The 2008 Honda Pilot answers all these needs by offering plenty of seating and cargo space, as well as a comfortable ride. It also has the versatility and capability for that next road trip or camping trip. Its closest direct competition is the Toyota Highlander, as both offer three rows of seating and plenty of cargo space.

Look and Feel

8/ 10

The Pilot advertises its utility with an upright silhouette and blocky, yet upbeat, styling. This design provides plenty of ground clearance and solid visibility for the driver. It should be noted the Pilot is slated for a redesign in 2009, and the current model is starting to show signs of age. This is especially true of the cabin, which packs a lot of small buttons into the center console. The current trend is big, easy to operate buttons and dials.

Design trends aside, the Pilot has fantastic fit-and-finish and uses top-notch materials. Regardless of age, the Pilot remains a wonderfully refined SUV. For 2008, Honda adds a couple of trims to the lineup. The VP is the new entry-level trim, replacing the LX, which is typically the base trim. Other trims include the EX and the range-topping EX-L. A new SE trim slots between these two.

Standard features on the VP include power windows, remote keyless entry, a quartet of 12-volt power outlets, air conditioning, and cruise control. The EX trim adds fog lights, an 8-way height-adjustable driver’s seat with memory function, and a remote anti-theft system. The EX-L is also available with navigation or a rear-seat entertainment system, but strangely you cannot get both in the same car.


7/ 10

A 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the Honda Pilot. It makes 244 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission routes power to either the front wheels or to 4-wheel drive (4WD). This powertrain provides smooth, confident power delivery. It never lacks in power, and even when pushed, the engine is relatively quiet.

The 4WD system employs something called Variable Torque Management to send power to the front wheels in normal driving conditions. When one or more of the wheels lose traction, the system can direct up to 50% of the power to the rear wheels.

The Pilot provides a comfortable ride, owing to its car-based DNA. This makes it great over potholes and for long trips. While comfortable, the Pilot is not particularly agile, which is quickly becoming a priority in this segment.

Form and Function

9/ 10

The Pilot provides seating for 7 or 8 passengers, depending on the configuration selected. The 8-passenger setup features a middle bench, while the 7-passenger arrangement provides second-row captains chairs. The space between these chairs provides a small corridor to access the third row. This can also be accomplished by folding forward the bench or captain’s chairs.

The third row itself does not provide much head- or legroom and is best left for children on any drive longer than across town.

The Pilot provides 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Folding the third row down provides up to 47.6 cubic feet of space while folding down all rear seats will grow cargo space to an impressive 87.6 cubic feet.

Tech Level

8/ 10

The standard stereo in the Pilot includes AM/FM/CD capability, as well as satellite radio. Available features include a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. These are both great features, but unfortunately, you cannot get both systems on a single vehicle. Too bad, because the combination seems ideal for a road trip with kids.


9/ 10

Part of the Pilot’s safety is found in its inherent design, including the greenhouse, which provides up to 282 degrees of visibility. Of course, a car needs more than just good slight lines to be a truly safe vehicle. The Pilot provides four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, and tire pressure monitoring as standard equipment.

The Pilot comes standard with front and side-impact airbags with front passenger occupancy sensors. The Pilot also provides head side airbags for all three rows of seating.

The Pilot earns a perfect five-star crash test rating in evaluation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


7/ 10

The front-wheel-drive (FWD) version of the Pilot is the more efficient of the two drivetrain options. It returns 16 mpg city, 22 highway, 18 combined. With 4WD, the Pilot returns fuel economy of 15 mpg city, 20 highway, 17 combined.

The 2008 Honda Pilot starts at $27,595 for a FWD, VP trim. Adding 4WD brings the price to $28,995. An EX trim starts at $29,745, while an EX-L starts at $32,045. A range-topping 4WD EX-L w/ Navi trim costs $35,645.

Updated by George Kennedy

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2008 Honda Pilot Top Comparisons

Users ranked 2008 Honda Pilot against other cars which they drove/owned. Each ranking was based on 9 categories. Here is the summary of top rankings.

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Honda Pilot Questions


2008 Honda Pilot Battery Light Come On And Off, New Battery And Alternator

i changed the alternator with a refusbished "new" one, battery is also new and its at 14.10 voltes. When i drive over bumpy roads the battery light come on, i checked all the cables, and wires for ...

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What is the cause of a VTM-4, ABS and VSA lights on in a honda pilot

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It won't drive or reverse.


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Car won't start, no clicking, no dash lights, interior lock button does not work. any ideas?

Rim Size

Will rims from a 2019 Santa Fe fit my 2008 Honda Pilot?