2012 Honda Pilot to Top Class in Mileage


Besides the first glimpse of a completely redesigned 2012 Honda CR-V earlier today, the company also has released a single image and a few tidbits of its upcoming 2012 Pilot SUV.

The company says the Pilot will be “substantially” updated for 2012. While not a complete redesign, the styling is much softer than the current Pilot, which is likely to turn-off fewer shoppers who might have found the current Pilot too dramatic.

The biggest news is Honda claims the 2012 Pilot will have the highest EPA fuel rating of any three-row eight-passenger “SUV.” Honda did confirm with us that it includes large crossovers like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander in that claim.

Those two crossovers are the most efficient of their size at 17/25 mpg city/highway for the V-6 Explorer and 18/24 mpg for the V-6 Highlander. The Pilot currently has a single V-6 engine option, which likely won’t change. The 2011 is rated at 17/23 mpg, so it doesn’t have far to go to surpass the competition.

We also expect the somewhat funky interior of the current model to be significantly redesigned, as well.

The 2012 Honda Pilot will go on sale in September.

By David Thomas | July 25, 2011 | Comments (44)



New grille and front bumper fascia = much softer styling than the current Pilot? Maybe they'll put a full width reflector across the back like they did on the Accord when it was "substantially" updated.


shame the engine isn't changing. one of the current Pilot's faults is its very modest acceleration for the class.

"Honda claims the 2012 Pilot will have the highest EPA fuel rating of any three-row eight-passenger SUV"...that is until Ford rolls out the 2.0 EcoBoost Explorer later in the year. So by the time this goes on sale in November it will again be title-less.

Happy Motoring,

Juan Barnett


So it finally gets a 6 speed automatic?

tops in mpg, bottoms in styling


still looks like an ugly interpretation of the isuzu trooper from the 80s-90s.

honda really needs to put some tech into this old 3.5L. they've been riding it forever with few upgrades. if it was a chrysler engine (like their old 3.5L), people would be bitching up a storm...

one last thing: hopefully they put some sound deadening into this 'update'. it's hard to hold a conversation in my girlfriend's pilot.

Brady Holt

Highest fuel economy of any 8-passenger SUV is of course very limiting, as it seems several people here have forgotten -- only the GM Lambdas seat eight among crossovers.

While it is of course a selling point that the Pilot seats eight when nearly every competitor seats seven, that means that there will be plenty of other three-row crossovers with better gas mileage.

Anonymous Coward

My prediction for how they increase the fuel economy: Add a six-speed automatic, make it very aggressive about upshifting to the point of lugging the engine, and use active noise cancellation to try to hide some of the resulting NVH. Chevrolet did this in the new Equinox. Nissan also made the transmission lug the engine on the four-cylinder Altima and recently released a TSB to reprogram the transmission controller to reduce NVH, with the warning that fuel economy could be 1 MPG lower after the update.

These heroic efforts to increase MPG are not without disadvantages.


This "old 3.5" happens to be one of the smoothest, quietest most modern V6's on the planet. It feels more like an electric motor than an engine. It could use a few more hp (Honda, drop in the Accord version) but our 2011 Pilot is still pretty sprightly.
I don't see the advantage of variable cylinder displacement even though it is almost seamless.
The only drawbacks are that it loves it's gas and the interior quality is not as good as our 2006 Pilot's was.


Honda needs to fire their design staff and get some people who have a sense of style. The new Accord is a prime example. The ridiculous reflector strip on the back makes an already unstylish sedan look worse. Also CrossOver...umm..ugly. And that Acura thing whatever it is..Bad!! Van almost ugly. The Pilot or CRV shown is borrriinnngggg... New Civic hmmmm. I'm falling asleep. And it's too bad cause I think they are good otherwise.


Now if they'd just fix the fugly Odyssey...


No way that Pilot will even come close to the Highlander Hybrid, which achieves an impressive 28 mpg in the city. The four cylinder Highlander with front drive gets 27 mpg on the highway. I doubt Honda will be able to match either one with the underpowered and blocky Pilot. I completely agree with Cody that the profile of the Pilot matches the Isuzu trooper from the 90s, which Honda sold badged as an Acura.

B Valley

Since we're comparing a hybrid Highlander with non-hybrid Honda Pilot why not also compare a Corvette to the Cruze since they're both made by Chevrolet. See how silly your post is?


Will this every get top class in styling???


The car is still ugly and the refreshing doesn't help as the car needs to be completely restyled (Honda needs to hire the Kia/Hyundai designers as clearly the Honda/Acura design studios have no clue as to how to design anything evem remotely attractive).


Honda's V6s are in no way 'modern'.
Honda is the last one to use a timing belt.
Honda uses adjustable fixed valve clearance (which needs a check/adjustment when the timing belt is replaced)
Honda doesn't have variable valve timing, because it is a single camshaft per cylinder head.
The VTEC mechanism is used here for cylinder shutoff.


I don't think Danders post is silly at all. We're comparing SUV's made by different companies that carry a certain number of people and the MPG that they get. So what if one is a hybrid? It's a fair and valid comparison.


Well said Rob. Honda is bragging that it will have the best SUV mileage. Since they specifically mentioned Highlander it makes the Hybrid comparison valid. Too bad Honda doesn't offer a hybrid Pilot, but they don't have the engineering expertise to match Toyota.



How about comparing a MX-5 to a Carrera GT in terms of power? They both sit 2 and that means they are the same class according to your logic.


Rob, Dander,
Enjoy the dope slap J just gave you.



Thanks for the non-sequiter. When Honda announces it is going to better the Highlander, it invites a comparison between the two. Obviously Honda can't match the Highlander Hybrid, just as Civic Hybrid is beaten badly on mileage by the Prius. I think it's valid to reject what is perceived as spin, especially when Honda has yet to offer the actual mileage figures for the revised Pilot.


@Anyone involved,

"The biggest news is Honda claims the 2012 Pilot will have the highest EPA fuel rating of any three-row eight-passenger “SUV.” Honda did confirm with us that it includes large crossovers like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander in that claim."

So the question becomes "Can the Highlander Hybrid seat eight? If so, then the Pilot claims it can beat it." However, unless I'm not looking hard enough, it looks like it can only seat 7.


Good catch - you're right, the Highlander only seats 7. But honda still singled it out as a competitor, so game on as to who will show the best mileage. Obviously they're in the same size class even if Toyota chose not to sardine the occupants as much.

D D Cousin

It's funny to watch dolts compare a hybrid to a hybrid and then turn around and compare one to a non-hybrid. Yeah that makes a lot sense. NOT!


I get such a kick out of these so called comparisons. Corvette versus Cruze, MX-5 versus Carrera GT. Those comparisons would be valid if you are comparing Chevrolets (we aren't) or 2 seaters (we aren't). We're comparing SUV's that seat a certain number of people and are very similar in price, features, people who would buy them, MPG. I think you should include hybrids that fall within the comparison category. If you don't want to, then don't.



They are comparing the Highlander, not the Highlander Hybrid.

By your logic, it is fair and square to compare a Corolla to a Civic Hybrid and claim that the Corolla has inferior mileage rating.

Enough with the Toyota kool-aid


So when did you take over Honda Corporate Communications? Why are you defending their boast? Here's what the post said:
'The biggest news is Honda claims the 2012 Pilot will have the highest EPA fuel rating of any three-row eight-passenger “SUV.” Honda did confirm with us that it includes large crossovers like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander in that claim...' If you notice they said "any three row" SUV and included Highlander. At that point it was incumbent upon Honda to qualify it by saying "non-hybrid." BUt they didn't. That makes you wrong on this one, and makes Honda's claim nothing but a bunch of hot air. So why are you continuing the spin? Did you drink the Honda kool aid?


It is common sense that you don't compare apple to orange.
Seems like you are taking over Toyota's corporate communications.

Do they have to make a 500 page legal copy when announcing something like this just to cover every single thing that the lawyers can think of?


A 400 page copy will do (just kidding). I think using the verbiage "any SUV" includes the Hybrid version if there is one. Nothing against Honda, but I'm questioning their claim. I wouldn't be raising the point if they had said "best mileage of any non-hybrid SUV in its class."


You're a Tool with diarrhea of the mouth. Do everyone a favor and limit your posts to two a story as you bore-ass everyone.


But my point still is that no one should compare a hybrid mileage to a non-hybrid. Just that simple.


Still confused...they will beat the 28mpg of the Explorer? It's a 7 seater / 4 cylinder, but Honda didn't seem to care.


I agree. Explorer eco boost matches Highlander hybrid on the highway and will likely outdo Pilot too. I'm guessing Pilot will get 19 in the city and 25 on the highway based on what I've read about them improving the transmission with more speeds. Honda should just publish the numbers.


I just sold my 10 Pilot. I had it for 2 years, put 40K miles on it, and sold it for only 5,000 less than I bought it new for.

What a great vehicle. Not a single problem. Ever.

I also have an 08 Ford product. Trouble. Trouble. and more Trouble. Plus, the trade in value is TERRIBLE.

So, I am stuck with the 08 Ford. But, I will be the first in line for the 12 Pilot. Hurry, honda. I am stuck driving the 08 Ford trash until September.

I can't understand how many posters here make positive comments about Ford. Is someone paying you to post positive Ford comments? Have you ever owned one?


Honda quotes it will get the best milage of any 8 passenger SUV. Higlander is NOT an 8 passenger. Therefore, Honda is not aiming to achieve Highlander Hyrbrid milage. Thanks.


Well said. Despite its bragging, Honda Pilot's mileage will not match Highlander's mileage. If Highlander, which is its obvious main competitor, comes out with an 8 passenger version, Honda will announce that the Pilot gets the best mileage among 8 passenger SUVs with an "H" on the tailgate.


If the pilot is so ugly and poor on gas mileage why do I see 10 pilots for any 1 of any other type of suv on the road??!!


I see all of this hype about Highlander. Well I just got through driving Acadia, Highlander, Pilot, Explorer. The Explorer would have been #1 choice but Ford is very proud of their product with price. The Highlander is no more than a 5 passenger adult crossover. The Pilot is heads and tails above that. It can seats 6 adult easily with plenty of room. I went Pilot for price for what I am getting. Toyota has a long way to go with the low quality interior and lack of space in the Highlander. As far as design, I like the boxy look as I can't stand the bullet look of Acadia and Highlander. Ford Escape is still boxy and I also own one of them. Pilots are 3 to 1 on the road of SUV's.


Pilot better carry more people than the 7 passenger toyota highlander - its 18 mpg city rating is way below the 28 mpg highlander city rating. Consmer reports rates highlander hybrid as the top midsize suv, with pilot below it.


I love my 2006 Honda Pilot EX-L. Purchased brand new. Have 65000 miles on it, not a single problem. o what it gets 1 mile more or less. So what it has only 253 HP. It has planty of torque to make circles around Higlander. I average 20 miles in the city and about 23 in the highway. I am planning to buy a 2012. I just wished they had better road noise control & changed timing belt to chain.


I'm getting 15 city, 17, combined, and 19 highway in my 2012 Honda Pilot EX-4WD. I'm not a crazy driver and am very disapointed in the mpg. I've had the car into the dealer twice and they say everything is ok with the vehicle. Dont believe the 17/20/25 mpg ratings for this car. My previous cars have all been close to the published mpg estimates but not this one.


Good gas mileage can't fix UGLY.

Mimi Dorsey

I own a 2011 Honda Pilot 2WD. I was told this auto would get 23-26 on hwy and 19-21 in city....I have 9K miles on my auto and I get 19mpg on the highway. I have taken this auto in to dealer and was told it will improve after my first oil change. I have approximately 1500 miles on this oil and there is no change what so ever!! I am very displeased with this vehicle!!


We get about 9 mpg in winter and 15-18 mpg in summer on our 2011 Honda Pilot with 30,000 miles on vehicle. It sucks. What's the fix? Dealer doesn't have a clue and definitely not getting mileage vehicle was rated for

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