2005 Honda Pilot: Such meh, much practical

The clock strikes midnight, your phone starts blowing up with happy birthday posts from people you probably don’t know, and you’re legally allowed to hit the road; not with your nosy father nor your scared mother, but by yourself. The days of not relying on anyone to take you places or taking the bus to school are over; you have your own car (sort of for me) and for me it was a 2005 Honda Pilot... Could be worse right? Sorry for the lack of pictures but it’s really not so interesting to look at, plus I’m too lazy to upload pics. Google 2005 Honda Pilot EX-L in Nighthawk Black Pearl if you’re so inclined.

(Full Disclosure: Honda wanted me to drive the Pilot so badly they built one to the exact specifications that my parents wanted (though my mom wish it were red, as did I but my dad wanted black), shipped it to one of the most well-known Honda dealers on Long Island (Honda City), took a crappy 2000 Odyssey off our hands and gave us a good discount since we’ve bought many Hondas from them (though this was our last one). My mother drove the Pilot for 7 years and about 90,000 miles before telling myself and my twin brother we can have this after she leased a Hyundai Elantra. Unsurprisingly she wanted an SUV again, though she wouldn’t switch with me. I was supposed to have a Chevy Tracker (with a manual) but it got totaled. My college also wanted me to bring it so they gave me a parking pass even though the parking lot near my dorm is horrible, but I didn’t mind walking.)

I’m not going to give this car a score, but I’ll list positives and negatives like what Jalopnik does.

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Exterior:

It’s a Honda, but it comes from the time when they knew how to make conservatively styled cars that age quite well. It’s very inoffensive and clean so it’s not ugly nor striking. Since mine is the fully-loaded one it does look semi-luxurious with its black paint and decent looking 5-spoke wheels. It also looks like it sees a lot of use since depending on the season it is outfitted with either ski racks or a bike rack. Overall it’s quite meh though, but at least I never look like a typical young driver or boy racer.

Interior:

It’s worn, but so clean and perfect for driving you and your friends to wherever your hearts desire. Be the movie theater, the Catskills, Hunter Mountain or even to some fancy family occasion, it is the best car in my household for it. 5 people will sit in much comfort and in a pinch 3 additional people can ride in the third-class (er... row). The seats themselves are pretty comfortable, though they don’t hold you in place at all. It also comes from a time where everything is logically laid out and function over form was the norm. I want to switch radio stations? Just press a preset or tune the dial. Need A/C? Just hit A/C. I’ve even developed muscle memory so I can adjust everything without even taking my eyes off the road, that’s how simple it is. Like the exterior, it’s boring but it’s a Honda, what can you expect? Did I mention how enormous this is inside? You can literally fit anything in here; treadmills, giant TVs, illegal immigrants, nuclear bombs, viruses that can wipe out the human race, entire galaxies... You get the point. It’s so useful.

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Acceleration:

It’s got a 3.5 liter J35 V6 making about 255 hp and 250 ft-lbs of torque. 0-60 happens in... 8 seconds? But that doesn’t matter, the way this thing revs is incredible. It starts out slow but than when you hit 4500rpm, it just takes off, it feels like a turbo is kicking in (yes I know that’s just the VEEEEETAAAAAAKKK) but it’s hilarious. But it’s an SUV, so it’s not winning any drag races.

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Braking:

It works, pretty damn well, so if you need to stop you’ll stop...

Ride:

Everyone loves how well it rides, they even think it’s only a few years old... I love the look on their faces when I tell them it’s 10 years old and has about 124,000 miles on it. It just does this so well.

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Handling:

It’s no sports car, but it will take anything I throw at it. Of course it being a mostly front-wheel-drive car it’ll understeer if I take a turn way too fast, though I’m never testing that. It will take on snow with no problem, and it is a good laugh when you find an empty parking lot after a blizzard. Turn off the traction control and enjoy the fun.

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Gearbox:

It’s a 5-speed column shift, it works well... What else should I tell you?


Value:

When it was brand new, it didn’t seem like an amazing value, but the fact that this thing is a cockroach so it won’t die makes it worth it, except for... Wait hang on, I need gas. It gets terrible gas mileage even with a V6. Even if I do all highway driving I’ll only manage 18ish mpg. My dad has got 22mpg but he probably didn’t use the A/C at all and drove like a granny on the Southern State Parkway. It’s at the age where I think we’ll save money by keeping this until it dies, though I want to get something that’s more fuel efficient when I graduate.

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Toys:

6-disc CD changer, DVD player, sunroof... eh that’s about it. I don’t need anything fancy, but I like my leather seats.

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Audio:

Stereo is good, does the job. Now as for the engine itself, even though it’s quiet, it makes the distinctive Honda V6 growl when the VEEEEEEETAAAAAAKKK engages at 4500(?) rpm. It’s so addicting when it does that, and it sounds really, really good. Honda does make the best V6s in my opinion.

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+Roomy

+Reliability

+Stealth factor

+Good highway cruiser

+Can do light off-roading

-Styling

-Gas mileage

-Not a fun car

-Engine note could be louder

-It’s a soccermom car

-No manual

-Too big

-Too useless for my tastes

-No fun

To sum it up- Reluctantly, I’ll keep it, it’s a good car. We have a love/hate relationship with each other.

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