16 Best & Worst Honda Pilot Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Honda Pilot is a popular midsize crossover offering plenty of cargo and interior space and lots of tech goodies.

It arrived in 2003 and makes a more practical alternative to a minivan.

To find out about the best and worst years of the Honda Pilot, continue reading!

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Honda Pilot Are:

The best Honda Pilot model years are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2009. The worst model years of the Pilot are 2019, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2011, 2005, 2004, and 2003. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Honda Pilot?

Listed below are the Honda Pilot years that deserve to be viewed as the best of the best.

2022 Honda Pilot

Several standard features (across all trims) were added to the 2022 model year, including full LED headlamps and a bigger 8-inch touchscreen (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay).

2022 also saw the edition of two new trim levels, the Sport and TrailSport, both offering lots of standard features and rugged capabilities.

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2022 Honda Pilot, Kelley Blue Book review:

“Very stylish and roomy vehicle especially if you have children. Our family has recently grown and we don’t regret choosing a Pilot as our family car!”

2021 Honda Pilot

This was the model year wherein Honda decided to make the 9-speed automatic transmission standard – which is notably less clunky than the 6-speed.

It also beefed up the standard features to include paddle shifters, dual-zone climate control, and an automatic stop-start system.

In addition to this, an all-new Special Edition trim was added, fitting in between the EX and Touring trims.

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2021 Honda Pilot, Edmunds review:

“I traded in my Honda CR-V 2017 for the Pilot 2021 SE and so far I love it. The car is very quiet compared to my CR-V, and my family barely hear wind or tire noise. Riding comfort is in general good, but potentially due to the 20-in wheels, we could feel a bit bumpy on bumpy roads…”

2020 Honda Pilot

There were not too many upgrades introduced in the 2020 model year, but a new trim known as the Black Edition (lots of blacked-out exterior parts and all-wheel-drive) was added to the lineup.

The 2020 model is praised for its powerful yet efficient V6 and was notably less problematic than the 2019 model which suffered from engine idle stop-start issues.

  • Edmunds: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2020 Honda Pilot, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I bought the 2020 Honda Pilot Elite for several reasons, cargo, wireless charging and ventilated seats. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect SUV … As a senior citizen, the visibility is great and the seats are very comfortable.”

2018 Honda Pilot

The 2018 model year introduced a shiny red exterior color known as Deep Scarlet, which was designed to attract the modern prospective buyers due to its attention-grabbing looks and sleek appearance. 

The 2018 Honda PIlot sat at the top of its class regarding fuel-economy numbers despite its power and size.

  • Edmunds: 3.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.6 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2018 Honda Pilot, Edmunds review:

“We considered the cheaper and more tricked out Kia Sedona, but AWD and a more solid build won us over. This is a car worth holding for a long time (which helps with depreciation costs). Also considered the VW Atlas, but we just didn’t have confidence that it would last as long as the Honda. It’s also bigger than a Ford Explorer or a Toyota Highlander…”

2015 Honda Pilot

The 2015 Pilot comes in multiple variants, starting at the entry-level LX trim and the high-end Touring trim.

If you are not a fan of the added bells and whistles and would only like a practical vehicle that is reliable and possesses good resale value, the LX trim would be ideal.

The 2015 model was significantly less problematic than the 2016 model year too.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 79 / 100

2015 Honda Pilot, Edmunds review:

“Was really torn between last of the 2015’s vs. new 2-16 redesign…. Saved some$$$ and went with the 2015. After reading all the issues with the transmission, touchscreen, radio probs of the 2016 glad I did…”

2014 Honda Pilot

The 2014 Honda Pilot received high praise from several vehicle review sites, and it was one of the least problematic Pilot models ever produced based on NHTSA complaints.

  • Edmunds: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2014 Honda Pilot, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I love my Honda Pilot Touring. It is equipped with navigation and a Dvd for the rear passengers, along with headphones for the system. This is the best vehicle I have owned for road trips. Gets great gas mileage and a very comfortable ride. Reliability on a Honda product is great and the Pilot is no exception. With its regular maintenance This Honda fits that bill…”

2009 & 2010 Honda Pilot

The 2009 and 2010 Honda Pilots were the newest editions of the second generation.

They came in redesigned with boxier and more upright styling and were far less problematic than their first gen counterparts.

2009 Honda Pilot:

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2010 Honda Pilot:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2009 Honda Pilot, Edmunds review:

“I’m not sure why the magazine writers do not get it with this SUV. Everyone that rides in my Pilot wants one. It is actually my work car, and I put over 30k on it a year. I’m averaging about 23 mpg with a mix of city and road driving. It is the most versatile, comfortable vehicle that I have ever owned…”

2010 Honda Pilot, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I’ve had them all. This is the best handling. My kids love it as well. DVD Player can’t be beat. No repairs, just maintenance. So much storage. Too bad they changed the body. I will keep it forever.”

Consumer Scores For Best Honda Pilot Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Honda Pilot model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds’ 
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book’s
Consumer Rating
JD Power’s
Consumer Rating
2022 Honda Pilot4.0 / 5.03.6 / 5.081 / 100
2021 Honda Pilot3.9 / 5.03.6 / 5.081 / 100
2020 Honda Pilot3.5 / 5.03.6 / 5.080 / 100
2018 Honda Pilot3.8 / 5.03.6 / 5.081 / 100
2015 Honda Pilot4.3 / 5.04.5 / 5.079 / 100
2014 Honda Pilot3.5 / 5.04.5 / 5.081 / 100
2010 Honda Pilot4.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.081 / 100
2009 Honda Pilot4.6 / 5.04.5 / 5.078 / 100

What Are The Worst Years For The Honda Pilot?

The models listed below are the ones you may want to steer clear of…

2019 Honda Pilot

The 2019 Honda Pilot was plagued by issues with the engine idle stop-start feature – owners struggled to get their car back up and running after they’ve come to a stop.

The feature works by turning the vehicle’s engine off when you come to a stop and then restarts it when your foot is taken off of the brake, this is designed to save fuel and improve efficiency.

The 2019 Pilot had a total of 71 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 400 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission jerks
  • Auto engine shut-off will turn off the engine, but fail to restart engine
  • Radio screen not working
  • Infotainment system frozen

2017 Honda Pilot

The most frequent issue experienced by owners of the 2017 Honda Pilot were defects with the engine start-stop feature.

Many owners have complained their vehicle failed to restart after coming to a stop.

The 2017 Pilot had a total of 38 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 620 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Check emissions light on
  • Auto stop feature faulty
  • Hard shifting
  • Hood flexing

2016 Honda Pilot

Not only is the Pilot statistically the most problematic vehicle on this list, it was also “awarded” the “Beware of the Clunker” award by CarComplaints.com.

The 2016 model year was by far the worst affected model when it came to auto start-stop problems.

The 2016 Pilot had a total of 190 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,319 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Fuel injector malfunction
  • Auto stop feature faulty
  • Transmission jerks
  • Transmission failures

2013 Honda Pilot

The 2013 model year was notorious for engine and transmission problems, with several Pilot owners claiming that their vehicles suddenly stopped or stalled for no apparent reason as well as lots of vibrating.

The 2013 Pilot had a total of 123 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 312 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Paint chipping
  • Oil burning
  • Paint peeling
  • Hesitates while driving

2011 Honda Pilot

The 2011 model year had a handful of issues, but the most prominent issue was due to the airbags.

This was due to the infamous Takata airbag recall – the airbags were known to explode at random and fire shrapnel at the occupants.

The 2011 Pilot had a total of 97 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 348 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Premature tire wear
  • Engine light on, misfire
  • Pulsating brakes
  • Airbag recall

2005 Honda Pilot

The 2005 Honda Pilot is the second “clunker” on this list but what was more worrisome was the fact that there were several reports indicating that the Pilot seemed to have a mind of its own, with sudden jerks, shudders, and lurches. 

The 2005 Pilot had a total of 145 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 908 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission fluid leaked into radiator
  • Transmission failure
  • Bad torque converter

2004 Honda Pilot

The biggest and scariest issue of the 2004 model year had something to do with the automatic transmission torque converter.

Symptoms of this issue occurred at around 100,000 miles and the only feasible solution to solve the defect was a complete replacement of the transmission.

The 2004 Pilot had a total of 89 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 618 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission shudders
  • “D” light flashes occasionally
  • Key will not go into the ignition

2003 Honda Pilot

The third and final “clunker” awardee on this list is also the most dated.

There were a lot of mechanical issues with the 2003 Honda Pilot during its release year.

The most frequent issue revolved around a particular powertrain defect, wherein the engine sporadically misfired, leading to safety-related troubles on the road. 

The 2003 Pilot had a total of 255 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 837 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Transmission failure
  • Ignition switch problem
  • Torque converter is making noise

Related: Honda Pilot Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs (Complete Guide)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

According to industry data, the 2016 Pilot is the most problematic year.

Model YearComplaints (CarComplaints.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2022 Honda Pilot118
2021 Honda Pilot13100
2020 Honda Pilot14267
2019 Honda Pilot71400
2018 Honda Pilot18201
2017 Honda Pilot38620
2016 Honda Pilot1901,319
2015 Honda Pilot4294
2014 Honda Pilot68111
2013 Honda Pilot123312
2012 Honda Pilot66189
2011 Honda Pilot97348
2010 Honda Pilot89136
2009 Honda Pilot113157
2008 Honda Pilot36145
2007 Honda Pilot66233
2006 Honda Pilot86289
2005 Honda Pilot145908
2004 Honda Pilot89618
2003 Honda Pilot255837

What Problems Do Honda Pilots Have?

Based on the information we have gathered online, here are the most common issues that you may encounter with a Honda Pilot:

  • Transmission failure
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Paint is peeling off 

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Honda Pilot?

According to cars.usnews.com, here are a selection of the best alternatives to the Honda Pilot.

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Ford Explorer7.7$33,745 – $55,995City: 16 – 27 /Highway: 23 – 28
Kia Telluride8.6$33,390 – $45,190City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 24 – 26
Ford Palisade8.6$33,600 – $48,990City: NA / Highway: NA
Honda Passport8.4$37,870 – $45,430City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 24 – 25
Mazda CX-98.4$35,280 – $47,210City: 20 / Highway: 26
Hyundai Santa Fe8.3 $27,200 – $43,110City: 21 – 25 / Highway: 25 – 28
Chevrolet Traverse8.3$33,700 – $53,400City: 17 – 18 / Highway: 25 – 27
Honda Pilot8.3$38,080 – $51,870City: 19 – 20 /Highway: 26 – 27
Jeep Grand Cherokee8.3$39,000 – $61,675City: 14 – 19 /Highway: 22 – 26
Buick Enclave8.1$42,800 – $57,100City: 17 – 18 /Highway: 25 -26
Dodge Durango8.0$36,995 – $68,195City: 13 – 19 /Highway: 19 – 26
Volkswagen Atlas8.0$33,635 – $51,505City: 17 – 21 /Highway: 23 – 25
Subaru Ascent8.0$32,295 – $45,445City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 26 – 27
Kia Sorento8.0$29,590 – $43,190City: 21 – 24 /Highway: 25 – 29
Toyota Highlander7.9$35,405 – $49,510City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 27 – 29 
Nissan Murano7.7$33,310 – $46,560City: 20Highway: 28
GMC Acadia7.5$34,800 – $48,600City: 19 – 22 /Highway: 26 – 29
Chevrolet Blazer7.3$33,400 – $44,000City: 19 – 22 /Highway: 26 – 29
Toyota 4Runner7.1$37,605 – $52,420City: 16 / Highway: 19
Ford EdgeNA$36,145 – $44,945City: 19 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 28
Jeep Grand Cherokee LNA$40,325 – $62,300City: 18 – 19 /Highway: 25 – 26
Nissan PathfinderNA$34,640 – $49,040City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 25 – 27

Source: cars.usnews.com

Related: Honda Pilot Beeping Problems? (7 Causes & Solutions)

Sources

https://www.caranddriver.com/honda/pilot-2022

https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/honda/pilot

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Honda/Pilot/

https://www.carproblemzoo.com/honda/pilot/

https://www.edmunds.com/honda/pilot/

https://www.kbb.com/honda/pilot/

https://www.jdpower.com/cars/2021/honda/pilot