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2004 Honda Pilot

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$2,139 — $8,271 USED
7
Photos
Sport Utility
8 Seats
19 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Reputation for reliability
  • Abundant cargo space
  • Solid construction
  • Resale value
  • Carlike handling and refinement

The Bad

  • Lack of Low-range gearing
  • Short seat bottoms
  • Untraditional radio controls
  • Occasional uncertainty in turns

What to Know

about the 2004 Honda Pilot
  • Large greenhouse area
  • VTM-4 4WD
  • Wide wheel track
  • Eight-passenger capacity
  • Navigation and entertainment options

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

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.

Exterior
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 off...
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.

Exterior
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.

Interior
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.

Safety
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

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
48 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Best car we've ever owned!

by Happy Honda Owner on August 24, 2018

Best vehicle we've ever owned, very reliable and comfortable. It's a great family vehicle and I would recommend it to families, or anyone that's looking for a long lasting vehicle! Read full review

(5.0)

Honda reliability!!

by Claudius Florain from Ohio on July 20, 2018

The Pilot is a great car for our family. The 3rd row seat was very useful when needed! More than capable of towing trailer when needed. Comfortable - Dependable. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2004 Honda Pilot currently has 10 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Honda Pilot has not been tested.

Latest 2004 Pilot Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Pilot received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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