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2006 Honda Pilot Sport Utility

2WD EX AT

Starting at | Starting at 18 MPG City - 24 MPG Highway

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  • $29,545 original MSRP
Printable Version

2006 Honda Pilot Sport Utility

Printable Version

2006 Honda Pilot Sport Utility

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2006 Honda Pilot

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Honda Pilot has been freshened for 2006 with subtle styling updates along with enhancements to some of the interior features. Also, a new front-wheel-drive model has been added that lowers the price of entry for this midsize sport utility.

The 2006 Honda Pilot models offer enhanced safety in the form of three-row curtain air bags that come as standard equipment. Curtain airbags are important because they can provide head protection in an accident; head injuries are the leading cause of death in side impacts and rollovers.

The available navigation system has been enhanced for 2006 with expanded voice recognition capability and Zagat restaurant ratings. A rearview camera is included with the navigation package to assist when backing up, a terrific feature that may sound like a gimmick but proves to be quite handy for spotting children on tricycles as well as for easier parallel parking.

The Pilot is the Honda of SUVs, practical, efficient, reliable, and powerful. It's a crossover vehicle, so called because it's built on a car structure and drives more like a car than a truck, with crisp, predictable handling and a smooth ride. It's not designed to tackle the Rubicon Trail or tow a big, heavy boat or haul a load of gravel.

Capable of seating up to eight passengers, the Pilot is not a small vehicle. It's larger overall than a Toyota Highlander or Nissan Murano. It's wider and offers more cargo space than a Ford Explorer.

A 3.5-liter V6 motivates the Pilot with 244-horsepower and is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The power gets to the ground through either the front wheels, or via an advanced, full-time four-wheel-drive system. Yet the Pilot delivers impressive fuel economy, particularly in two-wheel-drive form, thanks to a fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation system that disengages half the engine's cylinders when not required for acceleration or towing. As a Honda, it promises quality, durability and reliability.

Model Lineup

All Honda Pilot models come with the V6 engine and a five-speed automatic. They offer a choice of front-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (4WD). Two trim levels are available: LX 2WD ($26,995) and 4WD ($28,195) and EX 2WD ($29,545) and 4WD ($30,745). Both are well equipped.

Safety features that come on all Pilots include anti-lock brakes, front-passenger frontal and side-impact airbags. The EX model adds an electronic stability control system that Honda calls Vehicle Stability Assist.

The LX comes with air conditioning, cruise control, AM/FM/CD stereo, power windows, mirrors and door locks, and a rear wiper.

The EX raises the ante with synchronized front and rear automatic climate control, a power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support, an outside temperature indicator, HomeLink garage-door remote, a premium seven-speaker stereo with cassette and six-disc CD changer and steering wheel audio controls. EX can be distinguished by its aluminum alloy wheels and body-colored moldings, mirrors and door handles.

Option packages for the EX include the leather interior ($2,300) with heated front seats and side mirrors. The entertainment package ($3,900) includes the leather package and rear-seat DVD video system. The navigation package ($4,500) adds leather, a satellite-linked guidance system and a rear-view camera. A towing package and brush guards are available as dealer-installed accessories.

Walkaround

Freshened for 2006, the Honda Pilot's styling remains conservative, yet greets the world with a good deal more authority than before. The front fascia is beveled and blunt, with more definition than the 2005 model's mug and much more than the smaller CR-V's fluid wraparound face. These changes are designed to make the Pilot look more like a truck. New complex headlights, a wide, chrome-bar grille and clear-lens taillights raise the bling factor a couple of notches.

The wheel arches are aggressive enough to offset any impression that this is a toy truck, but subtle enough to be consistent with the Pilot's likely hangouts in upscale neighborhoods and suburban mall parking lots. Large Honda badges on the grille and liftgate make it clear that the company is proud of the Pilot, and expects customers to feel the same way.

Honda has limited the amount of matte-black plastic bodywork that seems to be increasingly popular on sport utilities, and we appreciate that. Body-colored moldings give the Pilot EX a more refined, upscale look. The Pilot's only nod to this allegedly rugged SUV-ness is the step on the rear bumper (a good thing) and rubberized plastic guards under both bumpers. Roof rails are standard on the EX, but if you want the crossbars that actually turn them into a true cargo rack, you'll have to get them as an accessory from your dealer.

The Pilot shares its platform with the Acura MDX sport-utility and Honda Odyssey minivan, both highly successful vehicles. The Pilot shares its engine, transmission, all-wheel-drive system, and brakes with the Acura MDX.

Interior Features

The Pilot can seat up to eight, but some of them best be small. The second-row seats are comfortable for adults, but the third-row seats are more suited for children.

Up front, the Pilot's bucket seats are spacious and comfortable. The LX model's manual seat adjustments are simple but effective. A driver's foot rest, or dead pedal, is standard on all models.

The second- and third-row seats are slightly higher than those ahead. This theater seating improves forward visibility for back-seat passengers. The second-row seatbacks recline, albeit with limited range. The second row can slide fore and aft, allowing leg room for the second and third rows to be adjusted according to the size of the passengers. Getting into the third row is aided by the seat design. Flip a lever and the second-row seatback pivots forward while the entire seat slides forward. The seat returns to its original position by pushing on the seat back.

In terms of cargo capacity, the Pilot is among the best in its class. With both rear rows folded flat, the Pilot offers 90.3 cubic feet of cargo space. That's more than the GMC Envoy or Chevy Trailblazer (80.1 cubic feet), Ford Explorer (81.3) or Toyota Highlander (80.6) or Nissan Murano (81.6). Moreover, the Pilot's load floor is four feet wide, allowing full sheets of building materials to fit inside.

Pilot's seating system is exceptionally versatile for handling a mix of cargo and people. Both rows of rear seats are split 60/40. The second-row seat folds away easily via a single lever and drops the seat flush to the floor. There are no gaps in the cargo floor as with some SUVs such as the Ford Explorer.

The driver benefits from excellent visibility in all directions with as little obstruction to sight lines as you'll find in an SUV. All controls are easily accessible by the driver.

In a particularly clever move, Honda made the largest dial in the center of the instrument panel a switch to shift the audio controls from front- to rear-seat audio. Several observers with young children immediately recognized this as the control they would use most, and they appreciated its large size and central placement. The other instruments and controls will be familiar to anyone who has driven a Honda. The company seldom varies much from the layout that for decades has proven to be a model of ergonomics. Most of the Pilot's switches operate with a satisfying, positive action.

All is not perfect inside the Pilot, however. The minivan-like column shifter is spindly and moves in an ovoid path, like that of the Odyssey. The thin, sliding plastic lid over the center console works fine, but is not aesthetically appealing and sounds hollow when you drop a set of keys on top of it. Buttresses on the sides of the center console look like they'll collect detritus. The fold-out cell-phone holder with a power outlet seems at first a nice feature, but blocks the two cupholders in front of it.

Nonetheless, the console provides plenty of storage space in a compartment behind the cell-phone holder. A covered compartment located below the Pilot's center stack provides more storage in the space between the console and the instrument panel.

The Pilot is loaded with kid-friendly features. There's a cup holder for every seat and pockets on the seatbacks in the first two rows. The EX includes a second-row fold-down activity tray with more cup holders and storage for pocket-sized electronic games or fast food, including a little spot that cradles sauce containers.

The optional rear-seat DVD screen measures a huge nine inches diagonal yet it doesn't take up much space when not in use. It's easily viewed from all of the rear seats when deployed from the headliner. Audio and video input jacks are provided for a variety of electronic accessories, from camcorders to portable VCRs to game consoles. The system includes two sets of cordless headphones, with jacks for three mo

Driving Impressions

The Honda Pilot is a joy in daily use. We found it easy to maneuver and park in crowded parking lots. Its road manners seem just a little better than necessary to compete in this class. Pilot was developed primarily for highways and city streets, though its ground clearance, suspension travel and standard tires are fine for light off-highway duty.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine is more than adequate to propel the Pilot. Acceleration is excellent, particularly in the 30-60 mph range that matters most in daily use. With 244 horsepower to propel its 4400 pounds, the Pilot outguns the V6-powered Toyota Highlander. More important, the Honda V6 produces 240 pound-feet of torque from 3000 to 5000 rpm. The 3.5-liter engine features a broad and flat torque curve, very low emissions and good fuel economy. All Pilots benefit from a drive-by-wire throttle replaces a conventional throttle cable with an all-electronic system that relays throttle pedal position to the engine computer.

The Pilot's five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and precisely, even under hard acceleration. Honda's Grade Logic Control system monitors throttle position, speed and acceleration to avoid hunting between gears. The transmission's computer controller holds lower gears longer than normal for better performance going up hills, or to provide engine braking on downhill grades.

The front-wheel-drive model is new for 2006. Compared with all-wheel-drive versions, two-wheel-drive Pilots weigh about 175 pounds less, have a slightly wider track and a tad less ground clearance (7.8 inches for the 2WD vs. 8.0 inches for the 4WD), and thus should deliver slightly superior on-road driving characteristics. The Pilot 2WD also features a cylinder deactivation program that shuts down three of the engine's six cylinders when not needed. Combined with the lower weight, the Pilot 2WD produces impressive fuel economy: 18/24 city/highway for the 2WD compared with 17/22 for the 4WD.

Four-wheel-drive models feature Honda's full-time VTM-4 (Variable Torque Management 4WD) with an electronically locking rear differential. Most of the power is delivered to the front wheels, but Honda's system is a bit more proactive than most all-wheel-drive systems in the way it sends some of the power to the rear wheels any time the driver accelerates. A push-button differential lock improves traction in extremely slippery or stuck conditions by making sure both rear tires get power. So equipped, Honda rates the Pilot for what it calls medium off-road duty, including 30-degree dirt grades. The Pilot does not offer true off-road capability, but it's perfectly capable on gravel, rough dirt roads and two-tracks.

The rack-and-pinion steering provides good feedback. It's speed-variable and smoothly adjusts the amount of power-assist for more feel at high speeds and easier maneuvering at parking lot speeds. The steering wheel returns to center comfortably and intuitively for maneuvers in parking lots and tight driveways.

Ride and handling is more similar to that of midsize cars than it is to truck-based SUVs. The Pilot is stable at highway speeds, nimble in parking lots and sufficiently well-damped to run over winter-buckled and pothole-laden urban streets without discomfiting its passengers. The steering wheel transmits road conditions enough to keep the driver informed without jerking the wheel at every pavement disruption. Passengers in the second-row seats found the ride equally comfortable, but third-row passengers suffered somewhat from being right over the rear wheels.

Unlike some SUVs, the Pilot has enough sound insulation to prevent bumps in the road from being transmitted to the interior as noise. Given their cavernous interiors, it's not uncommon for SUVs to become booming echo chambers on rough roads. Even on Michigan's notoriously ragged freeways, the Pilot's interior remained quiet enough to carry on a normal conversation.

Summary

The Honda Pilot is roomy and comfortable and practical. Its V6 delivers good acceleration. If you need is the family-friendly versatility of a minivan, with the security presented by all-wheel drive and the higher seating position of sport utility, then give Pilot serious consideration. In a world where many SUVs take up far more space than their utility justifies, and drink far more gas than their performance merits, the Pilot is a breath of fresh air.

NewCarTestDrive.com editor Mitch McCullough reports from Los Angeles; Mark Phelan contributed to this report from Detroit.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$26,995
Model lineup:
Honda Pilot LX 2WD ($26,995); LX 4WD ($28,195) EX 2WD ($29,545); EX 4WD ($30,745); EX with leather 2WD ($31,845); EX with leather 4WD ($33,045)
Engines:
3.5-liter V6
Transmissions:
5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags; three-row curtain air bags; driver and front-passenger side-impact airbags with occupant sensing; seatbelt pretensioners; ABS, electronic brake-force distribution
Safety equipment (Optional):
VSA electronic stability control
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Alliston, Ontario, Canada
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Honda Pilot EX 4WD ($30,745)
Standard equipment:
air conditioning; cruise control; 125-watt, seven speaker AM/FM stereo with in-dash cassette and CD player and steering wheel controls; power windows, mirrors and door locks; eight-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support; rear cargo net; Vehicle Stability Assist
Options as tested:
Leather/Entertainment package ($3,900) includes leather first and second row seats, heated front seats and mirrors, 6-CD disc changer and DVD rear entertainment system with nine-inch drop-down screen, remote and two wireless headphones
Destination charge:
550
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$34,135
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
3.5-liter sohc 24-valve V6 with VTEC
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
244 @ 5400
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
240 @ 4500
Transmission:
5-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
17/22 mpg.
Wheelbase:
106.3 in.
Length/width/height:
188.0/77.3/71.7 in.
Track, f/r:
66.3/66.5 in.
Turning circle:
38.0 ft.
Seating capacity:
8
Head/hip/leg room, f:
41.9/57.5/41.4 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
40.9/56.6/37.4 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:
38.9/49.0/30.2 in.
Cargo volume:
90.3 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
4500 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, strut-type with L arm, gas-pressurized shocks and stabilizer bar
Suspension R:
independent, multi-link with trailing arm, gas-pressurized shocks and stabilizer bar
Ground clearance:
8 in.
Curb weight:
4431 lbs.
Tires:
235/70R16 all-season
Brakes, f/r:
vented disc/disc with ABS, EBD in.
Fuel capacity:
20.4 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Honda Pilot Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2006 Honda Pilot Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Honda Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Honda Certified Used Car Limited Warranty extends the non-powertrain coverage by 1 year/12,000 miles from the date of purchase or expiration of new car warranty date. In addition, Honda Certified Used Car Limited Warranty extends the powertrain coverage to 7 years/100,000 miles.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 year or 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 150
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance No
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Honda Pilot Sport Utility

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