The Honda Pilot Through the Years

A close up shows grille on a grey 2020 used Honda Pilot for sale.

Honda’s SUVs have a reputation for their practicality and reliability. With the resilience drivers need to take on any task, these models are accessible to just about anyone, and with decades of production history standing behind it, the Honda Pilot is a tried and true model that is known for keeping families and single drivers alike going through anything. Built to last for years and require little maintenance along the way, the Honda Pilot is a great model to purchase on both a new and used basis, as both can serve drivers with high efficiency and dynamic performance. At Klein Honda, you’re always sure to find a used Honda Pilot for sale on our lot in a multitude of different forms, making our dealership the first stop for Washington drivers looking to take advantage of one of Honda’s larger SUVs.

The Honda Pilot has been part of the Honda lineup since 2003, and since then, it has seen a variety of improvements across the board. With a rich production history spanning multiple generations, the story of how the Honda Pilot became what it is today is a winding and interesting one. From the beginning, this SUV has been exceeding expectations across the board and has continued to do so in even its most recent generations. Each model year of the Honda Pilot has a unique story, and with the selection available on our lot, you always have the ability to take a piece of that story home with you when you work with Klein Honda.

First Generation

From the outset, the Honda Pilot has provided drivers with convenience and performance to an almost unprecedented degree for a vehicle of this class. In its initial 2003 model, the Honda Pilot sported a compact and angular appearance that exuded practicality, perfect for families in need of a reliable vehicle. One of the things that set this model apart from the rest at the time was its modest, car-like appearance that made it clear it was ready to serve drivers through the ups and downs of daily life.

Despite this emphasis on modesty in its appearance, the first iteration of the Honda Pilot didn’t shy away from providing high-output performance under the hood. With its standard 3.5-liter V6 engine, the 2003 Pilot provided 240 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque, giving it an impressive degree of capability for a midsize SUV of its day. With this engine, the 2003 Pilot was capable of achieving an EPA-estimated 15 MPG in the city and 21 MPG on the highway, for a rating of 17 MPG combined, which was highly competitive at the time.[b]

The Pilot came out swinging in 2003 and kept the momentum going in the years that followed. The first generation of this vehicle’s production spanned from 2003 to 2008, with each version of the vehicle bringing new improvements and innovations. New and improved powertrains could be found in the 2005 and 2006 models of the Passport, with the 2006 model featuring a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine capable of achieving 244 hp, providing just a bit more edge for drivers who needed it. The 2008 model also saw the emergence of new options, such as the enhanced VP and SE trims, which brought more convenience and luxury features for drivers to enjoy.

A red 2011 Honda Pilot is shown at night.

Second Generation

The 2009 model year kicked off the Honda Pilot’s second generation, and with it came a completely overhauled exterior design. Now featuring a more nuanced and rugged exterior appearance, the Honda Pilot appeared as commanding as it was practical. The 2009 model saw a further improved 3.5-liter V6 engine, which was capable of outputting 250 hp, giving families and single drivers the added strength they needed to take on any road. In 2012, the Pilot was updated with more advanced technologies, such as an eight-inch infotainment display with Bluetooth connectivity, so drivers could control their smartphones and entertainment in new ways.

The 2012 and 2013 models saw some of the most notable strides in this model’s technology features and marked the moment in which the Honda Pilot made the leap from a reliable SUV to a high-tech family vehicle. From 2009 to 2015, the Honda Pilot model’s mission was to continually innovate with the newest, most bleeding-edge technology features, proving this SUV was capable of rolling with the times. However, this evolution was merely laying the groundwork for a total redesign of the model that truly brought it into the modern era.

Third and Fourth Generations

The Honda Pilot’s third generation is where the vehicle became what it is today. The 2016 model hit the ground running with an assortment of high-caliber improvements, including the emergence of the Honda Sensing safety suite of technology features, which brought a variety of high-tech safety measures that increased awareness and provided protection against potential hazards. This model’s iteration of the 3.5-liter V6 engine was the most powerful yet, capable of producing 280 hp and keeping drivers going with an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway, for 23 MPG combined.[b]

This iteration of the Honda Pilot was, by far, the most dynamic and safe model to date, and it had nowhere to go but up in the next few years. The 2017 Honda Pilot introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for streamlined smartphone connectivity, the 2021 model made a fluid and adaptable nine-speed automatic transmission standard across all trim levels, and the 2022 model year saw the first versions of the Sport and TrailSport trim levels, which helped the Honda Pilot take the leap to a bonafide adventure SUV.

Most recently, the Honda Pilot’s fourth generation began in 2023, which was a significant year for this vehicle. The 2023 Pilot provided the most dynamic iteration of its tried and true engine, with an output of 285 hp. This iteration of the Pilot features incredibly dynamic handling with the help of an improved i-VTM4 all-wheel drive system, making this SUV capable of maintaining traction and keeping drivers in control whether they are driving on pavement or dirt. This version of the Pilot also offers the most cargo and passenger space this vehicle has ever seen. The fourth-generation Pilot is still being built today. If the model’s past history of innovation is any indication, we’d say there’s a bright future for Honda’s midsize SUV on the horizon.

A tan 2008 Honda Pilot is shown from the rear parked on a field.

Find Whatever Version of the Pilot Suits You at Klein Honda

For two decades, the Honda Pilot has been a staple three-row SUV in the automotive industry. With significant improvements in the way of power, efficiency, technology, and comfort seen with each passing year, Honda’s continued dedication to giving drivers more and more of what they’re looking for truly makes the Pilot an iconic model. Here at Klein Honda, you’ll find those two decades of excellence on our lot in every form you can imagine. With a variety of used Honda SUVs at your disposal, finding the level of performance and comfort you’re looking for is as simple as can be. There’s a lot of utility that a used Honda Pilot can offer, and we’re eager to help you find the right model for you at Klein Honda. Check out our selection today!

[b] Based on EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Mileage will depend on model year, trim, and condition of the vehicle. Your mileage will also vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.