2005 Honda Pilot

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$27,550

starting MSRP

2005 Honda Pilot

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

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
  • Nonstandard radio controls
  • Occasional uncertainty in turns

3 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Honda Pilot trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 15-hp boost for 2005
  • New tire-pressure monitor
  • Standard AWD
  • Eight-passenger capacity
  • Navigation and entertainment options

2005 Honda Pilot review: Our expert's take

By Kristin Varela

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:


The Honda Pilot is actually the vehicle that started this whole “quest for the quintessential mom-mobile” about a year ago. I learned about the Pilot when trying to find family vehicles with three rows of seats. After doing some research online (not easily I might add, flipping from one car website to another only to give up in frustration after sensory overload had set in and I still didn’t find the info I needed), I decided that the Pilot was the car for me. Of course, I hadn’t actually driven it (a minor detail, I figured) but all the online reviews I read ranted and raved about Honda’s safety and durability.

I wonder if the automotive journalists who wrote those reviews ever put children in the Pilot. Since Honda claims that “The Pilot continues to lead the sport utility segment as the ultimate SUV for family adventure” it would be logical to test it in real life with a real family.

The Honda Pilot has seating for eight, so it can be a great alternative for carpooling families who don’t want to drive a small school bus. The two Latch connectors are easy enough to use. Both the second and third rows split (60/40) and recline, making child car seat installation easy. They also fold flat with a simple lever pull (although it requires first removing the headrests in the third row and sliding the second row forward).

My biggest complaint about the Pilot is the seatbelts. I hate to say that it’s overshadowing all the positives things about this vehicle. The center seatbelt in both the second and third rows extends down from the ceiling (instead of the seat back, like many other cars). The problem with this is threefold: When in use, they obstruct my rear line of sight; they’re a pain in the butt to unhook and recoil back into the roof; and most importantly, they don’t fit children well. For older children just outside of booster seat size (the ones that are most likely to sit in the center position), the seatbelt crosses too high on the neck to be comfortable, causing them to push the seatbelt behind their back, where it doesn’t do them a lick of good.

The other issue is the seat belt buckle receptors (my newest pet peeve). They are on flimsy bases requiring a person to hold the receptor steady with one hand while using their other hand to insert the buckle; simple enough for adults, but very difficult for children.

OK, now that my gripe session is over – oh, wait. I lied. I have one more thing to gripe about. The head restraints in the front two seats have a square hole cut out of the center. I’ve heard it’s to improve visibility for backseat passengers, although numerous attempts to contact Honda public relations to verify this yielded no response. This design is quite uncomfortable for a driver or front passenger who is on the short side. The crown of my head fits right into that hole, as opposed to resting on the head restraint.

Enough complaining! On to the good stuff: The center console features an innovative and fabulous design. The flat surface with mesh-like sides is a perfect spot to hold a purse. The flat part slides open for access to a multitude of compartments to hold everything from coffee cups and snacks to travel tissues and wet wipes. The main compartment has tons of room for CDs, DVDs, a cell phone and even has a power outlet to charge that cell phone.

Two mesh pockets on the back of both the driver’s and passenger’s seats hold all the kiddy stuff that has a tendency to otherwise end up under the seats, never to be found again.

The DVD and rear audio system is a pleasure to use. It simply requires opening the TV screen and putting in the DVD (located just below the front radio controls in easy reach for the driver). Everything else happens on its own. No complicated system here – just the way I like it.

I do in fact enjoy my week in the 2005 Honda Pilot. It’s easy, smooth and comfortable to drive and has enough power to still be fun. With all the positive publicity surrounding it, I guess I have overly high expectations. With the exception of the (huge) oversight of the seatbelts, it mainly lives up to its reputation.

*For more information on the Honda Pilot and its safety features visit Cars.com.

© 2005 Mother Proof – All Rights Reserved

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.7
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

4.7

closing in on 200K- 2005 EXL-RES

we bought this new in 2005 for the wife's commuter and our family truckster. We have pulled boats, jet ski's, motorcycles, and quads over the years. We have made numerous trips to California from Oregon and loved every mile. sure the control lights burned out, but was as easy fix. other than that, it has been tires and regular maintenance for 15 years and 190,000 miles! My wife has moved onto an electric car, which she loves. But I keep driving the pilot to the airport and back each week for work. Just this last weekend we loaded the bikes and took it to the coast.

4.9

2003 Pilot EX-L

I used to own a 2003 Honda Pilot that due to my own fault died at 583000 miles (yes, you read this right!) Other than 5 timing belts, brakes, tires and an alternator the car performed and looked as good till the end, as it did the first day I got it. And of course I'm currently driving another Pilot with 198K on it. Just a baby!

5.0

Great car and loving it so far

I'm loving this car so far. We will be driving it out of town soon and I'm looking forward to it. It is comfortable and the kids love it.

See all 68 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Honda True Certified
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
More than 12 months or 12,000 miles from their original in-service date, with 80,000 miles or fewer at time of vehicle delivery.
Basic warranty terms
5 years/86,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
182-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2006

Pontiac Vibe

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2005

Nissan Murano

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2009

Toyota Sienna

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See all 2005 Honda Pilot articles