Parts – US/Canadian 70%.
Assembly – Lincoln, Alabama USA
Class: – SUV
Cars: – Accord, Accord Hybrid, Civic, Civic Hybrid, CR-V, Element, Fit,
Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline, S2000.
“An Automotive Love Affair”
By Joseph Mavilia 2009 Honda Pilot
This week we’re looking at the 2009 Honda Pilot which I haven’t tested for 5
model years. Surely you would expect the price to be higher with inflation
but the downward force on price increase is the technology and robotic
assembly and computer aided design (CAD) that simply gets better every year
and keeps the cost down. In dog years 2004 was a lifetime past. In fact I
tested it in March of 2003. Consider the price then was $27-33,000 as
compared with the 2009 at $28-40,000. Even if this SUV were not better, it
would have improved its value to the consumer considering price alone.
Amazingly however, at the same time, it has NOT improved in fuel economy for
a similarly powered engine and drive train. It is virtually the same, except
for the rules of measurement that by 2004 standards today’s fuel numbers
would be a bit higher. But it would not be enough to sneeze at.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I expect most would be disappointed with
the improvement in mileage performance. So I would definitely look more
closely at the Hybrid versions.
The recognized competition dynamics have changed in that many have evolved
upward to the luxury brands so the grouping is closer together. That is the
case with the Honda Pilot which has grown up and become more sophisticated.
In addition 15 of those listed in Recognized Competition were not there 5
model years ago. A few others have been discontinued and all have scaled
down in size, except the Suburban. It will be interesting to see what the
changes are in the next 5 years. Do you think there will be any of these
remaining in 5 years in this utility class? They surely will be if we find
another more efficient and cheaper power source, because people obviously
appreciate the large comfort of the SUV and made it part of the fabric of
Handling & Performance:
Great car to drive. Powerful. Good Crest Test through the mountain course.
Not much change in overall appearance in the past 5 years.
Fit and Finish:
Cost of the automobile is relative to the cost of all goods and services. I
believe the falling cost of consumer electronics and other home based
features put into the automobile is a major reason for the slow climb in car
prices generally. Consider those things you have in your home that you also
have in your car. Radio, TV, DVD, MP/3, Heating, Air Conditioning,
Comfortable easy chair type seating, Entertainment centers etc., which
equates to home away from home convenience.
Features and Conveniences:
Abundantly endowed. There isn’t much left out of what could be added to make
us feel right at home. The bad news is it’s not free. Just look at the range
in price from model to model.
Resource – www.safercar.gov
Truly there is a smorgasbord of cars so you can have pretty much what you
want and if you opt for what you “Need”, the cost will be a whole lot less.
But if you’re thinking what I’m thinking this class family vehicle should be
tricked out completely because it will be used for the entire family where
such outings demand entertainment centers to keep passengers occupied on
longer trips. I say, spend it here and ratchet down the commuter car where
you are alone in the vehicle.
Honda Pilot $28-40,000, Buick Enclave $35-39,000, GMC Acadia $32-40,000,
Hummer H3 $33-43,000, Saab 9-7X $43-49,000, Dodge Durango Hybrid $45,040,
Subaru Tribeca $30-34,000, Saturn Outlook $30-36,000, Chevrolet Suburban
$40-53,000, Mazda CX-9 $30-35,000, Chrysler Aspen $35-37,000, Jeep Grand
Cherokee $30-45,000, Lexus RX 350 $38-39,000, Ford Edge $26-35,000, Ford
Explorer $27-38,000, Ford Taurus X $28-33,000, Mercury Mountaineer
$27-34,000, Lincoln MKX $37-39,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $29-39,000,
Chevrolet Traverse $28-41,000, Hyundai Veracruz $ n/a, Toyota 4Runner
$27-36,000, Toyota 4Runner $29-39,000, Toyota Highlander $28-35,000, Kia
Borrego $26-33,000, Nissan Pathfinder $27-40,000, Dodge Durango $28-40,000.
Lots to choose from, good value over time, abundant standard equipment.
Disappointing fuel economy.
3.5 liter 250 hp V6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, 4-wheel drive,
4-wheel power ABS disc brakes with electronic brake distribution system,
variable assist rack and pinion power steering, 100K mile tune ups, front
side and side curtain air bags, stability control, tire pressure monitoring
system, remote keyless entry, security and immobilizer system, child LATCH
system, Navigation w/voice recognition and rear view camera, DVD rear
entertainment system with 9″ display and wireless headsets, Bluetooth hands
free link, stereo w/6 in-dash CD, XM satellite radio, climate control,
driver 8-way power seat, tilt & telescopic steering wheel, heated front
seats, 60/40 split fold down 2nd & 3rd row seats, power windows and locks,
cruise control, power tail gate, power moon roof, front and rear parking
sensors, 17″ allow wheels, auto on off headlights, fog lights, heated power
mirrors and integrated class III trailer hitch.