Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years

The Honda Pilot has been a mainstay in the midsize SUV market since its debut in 2003. With its blend of reliability, practicality, and family-friendly features, the Pilot has earned a loyal following over the years. 

This guide will deeply dive into the best & worst Honda Pilot years, exploring their performance, features, and overall value to help you decide when choosing your next SUV.

Honda Pilot Generations

Since 2003, the Honda Pilot has been popular with families seeking a dependable SUV. Its spacious interior, strong performance, and safety enhancements have garnered a dedicated fan base.

The base model of the Pathfinder comes equipped with several features that are only available in the higher trim levels of the Honda Pilot.

Here’s a brief look at the different generations of the Pilot to illustrate its development over time.

1st generation (YF 1/2)2003-2008
2nd generation (YF 3/4)2009-2015
3rd generation (YF 5/6)2016-2022
4th generation (YG 1/2)2023-Present

Honda Pilot: Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When we rank and categorize, we take into account a range of factors, which may include but are not limited to:

  • Best years for Honda Pilot based on owner-reported reliability surveys
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumers report reliability and satisfaction scores.
  • NHTSA recalls and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • Vehicle history owner ratings

The chart compares the Honda Pilot’s performance throughout the years, using data from the above sources. This will help determine the best years for the Honda Pilot.

The table categorizes each generation’s corresponding top, middle, and bottom years. It focuses on identifying the most favourable years for the Honda Pilot.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (YF 1/2)200620072003
2nd generation (YF 3/4)200920152012
3rd generation (YF 5/6)201820202019

The Honda Passport’s positioning in the SUV lineup offers a compelling middle ground between the CR-V and Pilot. With its larger size compared to the CR-V, the Passport provides increased cargo space and a more commanding road presence without sacrificing manoeuvrability.

Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years: 1st Generation (2003–2008)

Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years

The first-generation Honda Pilot, spanning from 2003 to 2008, marked a significant milestone for the midsize SUV market.

It boasts a powerful V6 engine, a spacious interior, and impressive towing capacity, making it a top choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Many consider the 2005–2008 models the best years for Honda Pilot due to their enhanced features and improved safety standards. 

With refreshed styling, refined interior components, and advanced safety technologies like stability control and side curtain airbags becoming standard in these later models, they set a new benchmark for midsize SUVs of that era.

The Best Year Honda Pilot: 2006

The 2006 Honda Pilot boasts a robust 3.5-litre V6 engine, delivering 244 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. This engine provides a perfect balance of efficiency and performance, making it an ideal choice for drivers seeking power and reliability in their vehicles. 

With the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds, the 2006 Honda Pilot’s engine can easily handle various driving situations.

This model year showcases Honda’s commitment to engineering excellence by offering a smooth and responsive driving experience.

The V6 engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, ensuring seamless gear shifts and optimal fuel economy. 

The Neutral Years: 2007

The Honda Pilot underwent a significant transformation that solidified its reputation as one of the best vehicles in its class. This was the year the Pilot received a full redesign, marking a shift towards a more refined and upscale appearance. 

When considering which years to avoid when purchasing a used Honda Pilot, it’s important to note that significant improvements were made in subsequent model years that addressed many of the issues prevalent in 2007.

Potential buyers should understand the specific issues associated with the 2007 Honda Pilot years to avoid unpleasant surprises after purchase.

In later models, Honda implemented improved technologies such as advanced traction control systems and fuel efficiency.

The Worst Years: 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008

2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008 were roller coasters for Honda Pilot owners. The first-generation Honda Pilot faced various issues, including transmission problems and reliability concerns. 

Many drivers reported significant transmission failures, leading to costly repairs and frustrating experiences on the road.

These years saw disappointed owners grappling with unforeseen repair expenses and an increasing lack of confidence in the vehicle’s long-term reliability.

These turbulent years also paved the way for valuable lessons in automotive engineering and quality control. As Honda responded to the issues encountered during these years, it ultimately led to improvements in future iterations of the Honda Pilot.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 2nd Generation (2009–2015)

The second-generation Honda Pilot, spanning from 2009 to 2015, represents the epitome of versatility and reliability in the midsize SUV segment. 

Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years

This model has endeared itself to families and adventure-seekers, boasting a spacious cabin, refined ride quality, and impressive towing capacity. 

The years with key enhancements such as 2012 and 2013 make for particularly compelling options for individuals seeking a reliable yet stylish SUV that can accommodate various lifestyle needs without compromise.

The Best Honda Pilot Years: 2009, 2015

The best Honda Pilot years of the 2nd generation, 2009 and 2015, stand out as compelling options for anyone in the market for a reliable SUV.

The 2009 model marked a significant overhaul, introducing a smoother and more refined design than its predecessors. 

With its spacious interior, advanced safety features, and powerful V6 engine, the ’09 Pilot quickly gained a reputation for being an ideal family vehicle that didn’t compromise on performance or comfort.

The 2009 and 2015 Honda Pilot models are prime examples of excellence within their respective timeframes. Their reliability, performance, and modern features position them as frontrunners in midsize SUVs. 

The Neutral Years: 2012, 2013, 2014

Entering the neutral years of 2012–2014, the Honda Pilot emerged as a stalwart in the SUV market, offering a blend of reliability and functionality.

The 2012 model introduced subtle aesthetic updates and a smoother ride, positioning itself as one of the best Honda Pilot years.

In 2013, enhancements to fuel efficiency and technological features further appealed to the Honda Pilot. It proves that safety measures reflect a commitment to meeting consumer needs while staying ahead of the curve. 

As 2014 rolled around, changes in exterior styling refreshed the appearance without compromising its practicality or rugged appeal.

The Worst Years: 2010, 2011

The 2010 model struggled with transmission issues that plagued many owners, leading to widespread frustration and dissatisfaction. Despite its reputation as a reliable family vehicle, this black mark tarnished the Pilot’s image for those two years.

There were reports of premature brake wear and peeling paint, further marring an impressive vehicle lineup. This unfortunate combination left a sour taste for many Honda enthusiasts during this period. 

While subsequent years saw improvements and refinements to address these issues, it’s clear that 2010 and 2011 remain among the most challenging chapters in the ongoing evolution of this beloved SUV.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 3rd Generation (2016–2022)

The 3rd generation Honda Pilot, from 2016 to 2022, has been regarded as one of the best years for this popular SUV.

Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years

With their spacious interior, smooth ride quality, and strong V6 engine, the 2016–2022 models offer a compelling combination of comfort and performance. 

The refined exterior design and advanced safety features further enhance the appeal of these vehicles.

The Best Honda Pilot Years: 2018, 2020

The 2018 model brought significant upgrades, including a refined interior, sleek new design elements, and advanced safety features that set a new standard for the SUV market. 

With its powerful V6 engine and smooth handling, the 2018 Pilot excelled in performance and comfort, making it a top choice for families and adventure seekers.

The 2020 model retained the spacious interior and ample cargo room that made previous Pilots popular while adding subtle design tweaks for a modern look.

With improved fuel efficiency and strong reliability ratings, the 2020 Honda Pilot proved to be one of the best options in its class.

The 2018 and 2020 Honda Pilot models from the third generation offer impressive performance and luxurious comfort—an ideal combination for anyone seeking a stylish yet practical SUV option.

The Neutral Years: 2019, 2021, 2022

The years 2019, 2021, and 2022 mark a period of neutrality for the Honda Pilot model. The automotive industry experienced a shift towards electric vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems; these years represent a period of relative stability for the Honda Pilot. 

With minimal changes to the exterior design and interior features, these models maintained a familiar and reliable presence in the market. This consistency may appeal to consumers looking for a tried-and-true SUV without major surprises or innovations.

Potential buyers can leverage this neutrality by customizing these models with aftermarket upgrades or personal touches to make them uniquely their own.

The Worst Years: 2016, 2017

The years 2016 and 2017 were undeniably turbulent for the automotive industry, with several high-profile recalls and production issues plaguing car manufacturers worldwide. The Honda Pilot managed to stand out as a beacon of reliability and performance. 

Despite the challenges faced by many automakers during this period, the Honda Pilot’s reputation for quality and durability remained unscathed.

2016 and 2017 can be considered some of the best years for the Honda Pilot, as these models saw significant technological upgrades, safety features, and overall driving experience. 

With its spacious interior, powerful engine options, and impressive fuel efficiency for its class, these years marked a turning point for the Honda Pilot as it solidified its position as a top contender in the midsize SUV segment.

Honda Pilot 4th Generation (2023)

The 2023 Honda Pilot 4th Generation impresses with its standard features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

These modern amenities cater to the needs of tech-savvy passengers, providing seamless connectivity and entertainment options for long journeys. 

Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years

Not only do these features enhance the overall driving experience, but they also demonstrate Honda’s commitment to keeping up with the latest trends in automotive technology.

Drivers and passengers can enjoy enhanced convenience and connectivity in the 2023 Pilot. These standard features represent significant advancements in entertainment systems that elevate the appeal of this popular SUV.

The integration of these cutting-edge technologies makes the 2023 Honda Pilot one of the best years for this vehicle line.

Features as standard demonstrate Honda’s focus on meeting evolving customer needs while maintaining its position as an industry leader in innovation and customer satisfaction.

Honda Pilot Average Resale Values

These modern iterations of the popular SUV offer a winning combination of reliability and desirability, reflected in their robust resale market performance.

By prioritizing these standout years, savvy consumers can make an informed investment that will hold its value over time.


The best & worst Honda Pilot years have proven to be nonreliable, nonversatile, and versatile SUVs, with each model year offering unique advantages and drawbacks.

It is essential for potential buyers to carefully research and test-drive different model years to find the one that best suits their needs.

By weighing the pros and cons of each year’s offerings, consumers can make more informed decisions when purchasing a Honda Pilot.


Is the best-year Honda Pilot available in hybrid or electric models?

No, the best-year Honda Pilot is not available in hybrid or electric models.

Is the Honda Pilot a good car to purchase?

Yes, a pre-owned Honda Pilot is a smart purchase if you stick with the most reliable examples.

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