Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years [Models]

Throughout this guide, I’ve compared every Honda Pilot from 2003 to this year’s model and highlighted the best and worst models.

Make sure you choose the best Honda Pilot model year and stay away from the worst. You can use this guide to determine the best and worst Honda Pilot model years.

Our comprehensive guide analyzes real-world data and extensive research to find the best and worst model years in this popular SUV.

Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years [Models]

As a result of our thorough analysis and industry expertise, we’ve meticulously compiled and categorized each Honda Pilot model year based on reliability ratings, maintenance costs, and owner feedback.

Throughout this article, we’ll cover the best and worst features of each Honda Pilot generation, as well as potential problems you should know about.

If you have this information at hand, you will be able to make a more informed decision when purchasing your next Honda Pilot.

Now, let’s get started.

Honda Pilot Generations

A family SUV choice for over a decade, the Honda Pilot has proven to be reliable since its introduction in 2003. The car’s spacious interior, robust performance, and safety features have made it popular among consumers.

To give you a better understanding of the evolution of this venerable SUV, here is a quick look at its generations:

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

Choosing the right generation for your needs requires an understanding of the changes and updates that occur with each generation.

Honda Pilot Best, Neutral and Worst Years

Our ranking and categorization process takes into account a variety of factors, including:

  • Reliability reports (surveys) from owners
  • Maintenance costs on an annual basis
  • Rating for safety
  • The reliability score of Consumer Reports
  • Owner satisfaction score according to Consumer Reports
  • Recalls, investigations, and complaints filed with the NHTSA
  • Owner ratings on Edmunds
  • Owner ratings from JD Power
  • Owner ratings from Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB)
  • Owner ratings on VehicleHistory
  • Owner ratings on

Based on their respective Best, Neutral, and Worst Years, the following tables are provided:

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
3rd generation (YF 5/6)2018 20202019 2021 20222016 2017
2nd generation (YF 3/4)2009 20152012 2013 20142010 2011
1st generation (YF 1/2)200620072003 2004 2005 2008

“Neutral Years” are those in which neither the good nor the bad shine. The performance and reliability of these products are average, without any notable issues or standout features.

You should keep in mind negative factors such as a high NHTSA rating can reduce the reliability of a vehicle and, subsequently, its overall rating.

In the following paragraphs, we will explore each generation’s best year, neutral year, and worst year.

Honda Pilot 4th Generation [2023]

A new generation of Honda Pilot enters the market in 2023, bringing numerous advancements and raising the bar for its class. In addition to the new exterior design, the interior as well as the front fascia have been completely redesigned to reflect Honda’s latest design language.

Honda Pilot 4th Generation [2023]

Furthermore, Honda has introduced a number of safety and technology upgrades. With its large, high-resolution touchscreen, the 2023 Pilot provides advanced infotainment functionality. There is also a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto as standard features, ensuring passengers remain entertained and connected during their trip.

A host of new safety features have also been added to Honda Sensing, such as traffic jam assist and low-speed braking control. For the 2023 Pilot, Honda also improved the powertrain to boost its fuel efficiency and performance.

Potential buyers should, however, be aware of potential teething issues when purchasing any newly introduced model. A few minor problems may occur during initial production runs, but they are usually resolved by subsequent model years. Keeping an eye on consumer reviews and recalls for the 2023 Honda is always a good idea.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 3rd Generation [2016 to 2022]

In 2016, the Honda Pilot third generation was introduced with a major redesign. The vehicle’s styling was more modern, streamlined, and less boxy than its predecessor.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 3rd Generation [2016 to 2022]

It was also Honda’s first time introducing new technologies and performance improvements, but there were some glitches along the way.

The Best Years: 2018, 2020

As of 2018, Honda has introduced Honda Sensing as standard equipment on all trim levels, which addresses some of the points raised in the earlier models of the generation.

A number of features are built into this system, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and collision mitigation braking. In addition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were made standard on the infotainment system.

A further enhancement was made to these features in the 2020 model. In its upper trims, it featured a 9-speed automatic transmission, which contributed to its superior fuel economy.

The Honda Sensing system, now standard on all Hondas, also helped the vehicle to achieve a high safety score.

The Neutral Years: 2019, 2021, 2022

There are three models of Honda Pilot in the neutral category for 2019-2021-2022. Their safety and technological features were the same as their best years, but no significant changes were made or severe issues were encountered.

The models offered good fuel efficiency and performance as well as reliable, comfortable family transportation.

The Worst Years: 2016, 2017

A number of difficulties were encountered in the early years of the third-generation Honda Pilot, 2016 and 2017.

NHTSA complaints for these models were the highest of all generations.

There have been a lot of complaints about engines, electrical systems, and powertrains, which significantly affected the vehicle’s reliability.

Although the design was modern and new features were introduced during these years, reliability issues affected the potential buyers’ decision to buy during these years.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 2nd Generation [2009 to 2015]

A boxier design and improved safety features were featured in Honda Pilot’s second generation, introduced in 2009.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 2nd Generation [2009 to 2015]

In addition to good towing capacity and off-road capability, the interior was redesigned to be more comfortable and spacious.

The Best Years: 2009, 2015

Introducing the second generation with a bang, the 2009 model was a hit. In addition to the V6 engine, it had a powerful 3.5L V6 engine that produced 250 horsepower.

Among its strengths are a higher fuel economy, a more spacious interior, and a larger cargo area. In addition to stability control, anti lock brakes, and side curtain airbags, it also had advanced safety technologies.

Among the second generation models, the 2015 model stood out again. It was equipped with a new, more efficient 6-speed automatic transmission, which improved fuel economy and smoothed transitions.

In addition, Honda’s LaneWatch feature was implemented throughout the vehicle, further enhancing the driver’s visibility.

The Neutral Years: 2012, 2013, 2014

There are no neutral years for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 models. Despite not introducing any groundbreaking changes, they maintained the Honda Pilot’s reputation for reliable, comfortable, and strong performance.

In addition to the powerful V6 engine and spacious interior of the successful 2009 model, these models carried forward many of the features.

The Worst Years: 2010, 2011

The Honda Pilot second generation is considered to be at its worst in 2010 and 2011.

There were safety concerns and reliability issues with the 2010 model due to airbag and engine problems.

A number of issues have been reported with the 2011 model, including issues with the airbags, engine, suspension, and steering.

In addition, these issues significantly impacted consumer satisfaction ratings and damaged these models’ overall reputations.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 1st Generation [2003 to 2008]

Honda introduced its first-generation Pilot midsize crossover SUV in 2003, marking the company’s entry into the market. The car was praised for its spacious interior and smooth ride, as well as its powerful V6 engine.

Best & Worst Years for Honda Pilot 1st Generation [2003 to 2008]

The Best Years: 2006

As far as the first generation is concerned, the 2006 model stands out. A number of improvements were made to this model in terms of performance and comfort. In addition to its 3.5L V6 engine, the car had a 5-speed automatic transmission and produced 244 horsepower.

Besides the rear entertainment system and navigation system, the ’06 Pilot had electronic stability control and side curtain airbags, which were both innovative at the time.

The Neutral Years: 2007

The 2007 model year belongs to the neutral category. Despite the lack of significant changes, the Pilot continued to carry forward the qualities that made it popular – reliability, spaciousness, and performance from the V6.

In this model, the interior and exterior design were tweaked slightly, but the reputation of this model remained the same.

The Worst Years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008

First-generation Honda Pilot models are considered the worst years of 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008.

The initial 2003 model was plagued by issues with airbags, the power train, and the electrical system, resulting in a high number of NHTSA recalls.

In 2004, there were also problems with the power train and airbags, as well as discomfort and safety concerns caused by an uncontrollable loosening of the driver’s seat.

There were problems with the airbag system, power train, electronic stability control, and service brakes on the 2005 model.

In addition to the airbag issues, the 2008 model’s otherwise reliable performance was marred by airbag problems.

Common Problems With The Honda Pilot

To help you decide which Honda Pilot model you should drive, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common Honda Pilot problems.

Common Problems With The Honda Pilot

Transmission Failures

It is probably the transmission failure problem that Honda Pilots run into the most often. It is a good thing that this problem mostly affects the 2003 model. Pilot models with other transmissions may, however, experience isolated transmission failures. 

You should never take on a vehicle that has a known issue, such as a transmission failure, as it is one of the most expensive repairs you can make. In addition, transmission failures can make it hard for drivers to control their cars, even causing accidents. 

Excessive Oil Consumption

Oil consumption is one of the most common problems among SUVs, and the Honda Pilot has had this problem in several different model years. Once you know that your SUV might consume oil, especially after 100k miles, this won’t be a huge issue, but if you’re not aware of the possibility, it can be a serious problem. 

You can overheat your vehicle if you let the oil get too low, but only if you let it become too low overall. 

In the same way that you would handle an oil leak, you can do this by keeping a can of oil in the trunk and topping it off every couple of weeks. You will have a hard time maintaining your vehicle if you don’t cut down on oil consumption. 

Peeling Paint

In areas where the weather is wet or rust is prevalent, peeling paint can pose a greater problem than a cosmetic issue. 

It’s worth knowing that peeling paint may require you to repaint your car at some point, even if you don’t think it’s serious enough to prevent you from buying a car. 

Recurring Fault Codes 

There is usually no danger associated with recurring fault codes, except when they conceal a real problem. 

Your Pilot triggers these when its sensors detect a problem that doesn’t exist. If you or your mechanic notice recurrences of fault codes, you will usually be able to identify them quickly. It’s not the fault codes themselves that cause problems; it’s the fact that your Pilot has taught you not to take them seriously after you’ve already been trained not to. 

If you interpret a legitimate fault code as a false alarm, you may damage your vehicle unintentionally.

Fuel Injector Failure

Another common Honda Pilot problem is fuel injector failure, and it can be an expensive problem to fix. Honda Pilots from recent generations tend to have this issue more often than earlier models, particularly the 2016. 

 Due to the fact that it usually shows up around 60k miles, most vehicles tend to experience this issue early on. 

If you are considering buying a Honda Pilot, you might want to research this issue before committing. The price to fix it can be several thousand dollars.

Brake Issues

The warped brake rotors on 2003-2017 Pilot models are causing vibrations while braking, according to frustrated owners. Due to the fact that these vibrations occur at high speeds, it can be quite unsettling. People have reported hearing clunking noises while braking in some cases. A faulty brake pad shim was responsible for the problem, according to experts.

The broken component can easily be replaced, so the issue is easily resolved. It can cost as much as $30 to $80 to replace a brake pad. However, if the brake rotors need to be replaced, you’ll have to shell out $100 to $200, not including labor.

Electrical Problems

Electrical problems are fairly common with the 2020 Pilot, although they are less common than other issues. It has been reported that some owners of the 2020 model have experienced electrical problems with the navigation system, instrument panel, and infotainment system. These issues are usually preceded by clicking or ticking sounds coming from the dashboard, according to several reports.

The Service Bulletin #A19030B claims that loose wiring is likely to be the cause of this problem. Unfortunately, reconnecting the wiring under the dash did not resolve the issue.

Is The Honda Pilot A Reliable Automobile?

When purchasing a vehicle, you need to make sure it is dependable and capable of completing the task at hand. In addition to having been around for a long time, the Honda Pilot has won the trust of its customers due to its reliability.

There is no doubt that the Honda Pilot is a reliable vehicle. Among its class, the Honda Pilot earns high marks for reliability, friendliness, and comfort according to J.D. Power studies. With a reliability rating of 78 out of 100, the Honda Pilot 2021 is one of the best cars on the market.

As Honda’s largest and most comprehensive vehicle, the Pilot offers you safety and comfort on your journeys through its power and dependable performance. Additionally, you will not have to spend as much money on maintaining the Honda Pilot as you would some other SUVs.

Which Honda Pilot Models Are Good To Buy Used 

Finding a reliable used car isn’t the only thing to consider. In order to find a good used car, you need to find one that can handle a lot of mileage, was well maintained by its previous owner, and has a lot of miles on it. 

As a result, the 2010 Honda Pilot is a good choice among older models. The 2009 model has a lot of modern conveniences, but reliability has been improved, making it a better long-term investment. 

Most models released between 2015-2020, except for the 2016 release, are likely to meet your needs.

Is The Honda Pilot A Good Investment?

It is essential to know whether your car will retain its value if you decide to resell it. As far as the Honda Pilot is concerned, its value is well maintained. During the first five years of ownership, the price of a Honda Pilot will decrease by about 40%, which is fantastic and makes it a fantastic vehicle in general.

In other words, if you decide to sell your automobile, you would be able to get a very fair price for it. They have excellent resale values, far exceeding those of similar cars; however, if you want to sell them for a profit, you’ll need to maintain them well.

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Why is the 2003 Honda Pilot model particularly notorious?

There is a particularly high rate of transmission failure among 2003 Honda Pilot models, one of the most serious and expensive repairs a vehicle can need. As a result of transmission failures, there is a serious financial burden and a potential safety concern.

What makes the brake issues in Honda Pilot models between 2003 and 2017 notable?

Some Honda Pilot owners reported vibrations and potentially unsettling noises during braking as a result of warped brake rotors. It can be costly to repair the brake rotors even if the affected components are generally fixable.

Are Honda Pilots typically reliable?

Even though Honda is known for building excellent vehicles, this reputation doesn’t extend to every Honda Pilot model. The majority of model years can be considered dependable, but staying away from 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016 is a must.

How much does a used Honda Pilot typically cost?

There have been 20 versions of the Honda Pilot, and an early model with high mileage can sell for three thousand dollars or more. For those who need reliability, a newer Pilot is a better choice. A good grade is given to the 2019 Honda Pilot when it comes to dependability. As reported by CoPilot Price Pulse, this vehicle typically costs $30,968. Because of modest inventories and high demand, this amount represents a 16% premium.

Which Honda Pilot years should potential buyers avoid?

There are a few model years of the Honda Pilot that buyers should avoid: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016. The reliability and consistency issues of these years are often criticized.

What are the most common problems associated with problematic Honda Pilot models?

During these years, Honda Pilots are more likely to suffer transmission failures, excessive oil consumption, peeling paint, recurring fault codes, fuel injector failures, brake problems, and electrical problems.

Is the Honda Pilot a good car to purchase?

When you stick with reliable examples of the pre-owned Honda Pilot, you’ll be making a smart purchase. These are the best model years for the Honda Pilot.


You will now be able to choose the ideal Honda Pilot model year for yourself much more easily. As time passes, you will be able to gather useful data about the newest Pilot models.

How have you found the Honda Pilot to be in your personal experience? Is there a particular generation or year that you enjoy most, and why?

Those planning to buy a Honda Pilot will find your insights very useful. Let us know what you think and what you’ve experienced in the comments section.

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