An Almost Perfect Example of It's Kind
January 22, 2019
I had owned a small 3-row SUV with a stick-shift. It was perfect for two adults and two small children and the flexibility of the manual transmission compensated for its modest horsepower. It was totaled after being hit by an 18-wheeler, an event I fortunately survived.
My search for a replacement came up with several candidates, among them a 2005 Honda Pilot. My initial reaction was that it was a marvelous appliance - simple, uncomplicated and a perfect design for it's function and use. Just as big as it needed to be and no bigger, yet providing space and comfort for two adults and two (now larger) children. With the third row down, the large flat space easily accommodated our Irish Wolfhound (lying down). Clearance between the wheel wells was about 4'1" or so, just wide enough to carry 4' x 8' panels and fence sections.
The large windows gave excellent visibility and the 255 HP engine enabled the car to easily get out of its own way. Based on the same platform as the Honda accord, the Pilot offered decent handling and the on-demand 4-wheel drive was just the thing for driving children to school on snowy mornings. Another positive feature for such mornings was how fast the engine came up to temperature and the heater pumped out warm air to front and middle rows.
I bought the base model, sans roof racks, alloy wheels, leather seats, etc., none of which I needed, so I got a very reasonable deal. Since then, maintenance costs have also been reasonable, including body repairs after having been hit twice by NYC cabbies. Somewhat better mileage would be good, but there is a limit to what can be achieved when hauling around close on 5,000 lb.
My only negative comment is that the rear bumper bar had to be replaced because of corrosion by Winter road salt. I still have the car. It has had a rough life and just keeps on going.