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2009 Honda Pilot: Bigger, Better, Butt Ugly?


Honda unveiled their much anticipated Pilot prototype at the 2008 NAIAS in Detroit. Conveying the design features of the production 2009 Pilot, set to make its debut this spring, this 2nd generation Pilot is tougher, smarter, larger, roomier, stronger, bolder, cleaner and safer than its predecessor.
While the specifications of the new Pilot are impressive, there was wide comment about its styling. Tougher-looking, yes, said many auto journalists, but ugly. Some of the descriptors were: “Styled by Isuzu”, “third world styling”, “bland”, “worst looking production vehicle of show”. Sometimes these things grow on you. Most folks have become accustomed to the weird styling of the Ridgeline SUT. Maybe that will happen with the new Pilot.

A More Spacious and Functional Interior


Set in the image of the customer, the 2009 Pilot is what a family SUV should be. Spacious. Still an eight-passenger vehicle, a Pilot hallmark, the 2009 Pilot will handle its family toting commitment with greater ease and efficiency through improved 3rd row access, increased occupant space in all seating positions (the 3rd row fits an above average male with enough knee room to actually sit straight), and enhanced safety. The first row captains’ chairs offer great visibility, while the 60/40 split 2nd row now slides further forward for improved access to the 3rd row. Each side of the 2nd and 3rd rows fold independently for convenient carrying of passengers and cargo, and create a flat load floor when folded down completely.

Committed to Safety
The 2009 Pilot will be Honda’s first application of its exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. The ACE body structure enhances frontal collision compatibility with vehicles of different sizes and bumper heights. It also incorporates a pedestrian injury mitigation design into the front of the vehicle that was designed to help absorb energy in the event of a collision. The ACE body structure will be on 90% of Honda vehicles by the end of 2008.
Powerful, Yet Fuel Efficient
Equipped with a V6 engine, the 2009 Pilot also introduces the latest generation of Honda’s fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management (“VCM“) technology, which operates in 6-cylinder mode for maximum power, yet also has 4- and 3-cylinder modes for efficiency. The current Pilot’s available VCM system works exclusively in 6- and 3-cylinder modes.

Born and Bred in the U.S.
Both the current and the 2009 Pilot were designed and engineered by Honda R&D Americas; the Pilot is assembled in Alabama.


  • Hakeem Mulholland| June 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    The original Pilot is so much better looking than this Isuzu Trooper wannabe. Not only was it better looking, but it had better interior and exterior fit and finish. I’ll always like the old one over the new one.

  • Nick Casson| September 14, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    I was going to replace my 2004 Pilot, But
    this vehicle is so ugly and Izuzu Trooper
    retro I will keep mine for a while longer and hope a redesign is quick!!

  • Honda Shocked| July 1, 2008 at 9:56 am

    This car looks like the old Saturn Vue. What were they thinking? The old Pilot is much prettier. Did they have to sacrifice looks for fuel efficiency?

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