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2015 Honda Pilot: Used Car Review

Editor’s note: You may also want to read Autotrader’s 2013, 2014, 2016 or 2017 Honda Pilot review.


The 2015 Honda Pilot is a roomy 8-passenger SUV with generous second- and third-row passenger room and cargo space behind the third row. It features a lift gate with a separate opening glass hatch, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, hill-start assist and a host of safety features including four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions for child safety seats, 3-row side-curtain airbags, active front-seat headrests and front airbags with a passenger-detection sensor. New for 2015 is an SE model which comes standard with a tilt-and-slide power moonroof, SiriusXM satellite radio, a DVD rear-seat entertainment system and pewter gray alloy wheels. The top-of-the-line Touring model is dropped for 2015.

The Pilot can carry up to eight passengers and offers 87 cu ft. of cargo space with the second- and third-row seats folded. The standard 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 features Honda’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system, which idles two or three cylinders during light cruising to save fuel. Honda’s Active Noise Cancellation works through the audio speakers to minimize low-frequency rumble that can occur when the VCM deactivates cylinders.

The Honda Pilot is a good used-car choice for growing families with active lifestyles, and it’s one of the top-selling 3-row crossover SUVs. See the 2015 Honda Pilot models for sale near you

What We Like

Standard backup camera and Bluetooth; four LATCH positions for child seats; recline and slide second-row seats; solid feel; outward visibility; comfortable seats; generous cargo space

What We Don’t

Flinty ride quality; noisy at highway speeds; white-faced gauges; boxy styling

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2015 Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter 24-valve single-overhead-camshaft V6. Equipped with variable valve timing and a dual-stage intake manifold, the 3.5-liter V6 makes 250 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. The 2-wheel-drive (2WD) Pilot receives an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, while 4-wheel-drive (4WD) models net an EPA rating of 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. All models are equipped with a 5-speed automatic transmission. 4WD versions can tow up to 4,500 pounds, while 2WD Pilots are rated to tow only 3,500 pounds.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Honda Pilot is available in LX, EX, SE and EX-L trims.

The LX‘s standard equipment includes Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and audio streaming, a backup camera, USB connectivity, a high-res 8-in intelligent multi-information display, 17-in steel wheels, automatic front and rear air conditioning with air filtration, auto headlamps, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, remote keyless entry, a 7-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder and subwoofer, a compass, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, a trailer-hitch receiver, 3-row seating for eight passengers, cloth upholstery, split fold-flat second- and third-row bench seats, dual front- and side-impact airbags, overhead airbags and power locks, windows and mirrors.

The EX trim upgrades to 18-in alloy wheels, the HomeLink system, a power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, steering-wheel audio buttons, heated door mirrors, chrome exhaust tips, a security system, fog lamps and an outside-temperature gauge.

SE gains SiriusXM radio, a power tilt-and-slide moonroof, a 115-volt power outlet and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

The EX-L adds a leather-trimmed steering wheel, first- and second-row leather seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, a power front passenger seat, a reverse-sensing system, a conversation mirror and a power lift gate. Optional EX-L packages add satellite-linked navigation, an upgraded 10-speaker surround-sound audio system, roof rails and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.


The Pilot 3-row crossover SUV has been a top seller in its class, meaning the availability and selection of used examples should be good. Honda’s excellent Variable Torque Management 4-Wheel Drive (VTM-4) gives the SUV all-weather capability for northern climes with snowy weather, but the standard front-wheel-drive system with traction control is sufficient for most driving situations and doesn’t hurt its resale value. This is the last of the "boxy"-looking Pilots before a complete redesign in 2016, so there may be some bargains out there.

To get a good idea of the 2015 Pilot’s price range, investigate the Kelley Blue Book used-car values at You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued no recalls for the 2015 Pilot as of the publication of this report.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA crash tests gave the 2015 Pilot a 4-star overall rating, with a 5-star rating for side impacts but four stars for frontal impacts and rollover performance.

The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2015 Pilot Good ratings for moderate-overlap front and side impacts, as well as roof strength, head restraints and seats, but handed out a Poor rating for small-overlap front impacts.

Honda sold the 2015 Pilot with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty including 24-hour roadside assistance, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-distance corrosion-perforation warranty.

Honda certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles must be younger than 6 years old and have no more than 80,000 miles on the odometer. Every CPO Pilot undergoes a 150-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, extending the basic new-car warranty to 48 months or 48,000 miles and powertrain coverage to 7 years or 100,000 miles from the date when the vehicle was first sold, whichever occurs first.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Chevrolet Traverse As with the Pilot, Chevy’s Traverse can seat seven. Its second-row seat slides fore and aft, and the third-row seats can accommodate adults. Cargo space tops the Pilot’s. Safety gear includes optional lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems. For 2015, it gains Siri Eyes Free tech for iPhone 4S and later models. The 288-hp 3.6-liter V6 is rated to tow up to 5,200 pounds.

2015 Toyota HighlanderToyota’s largest crossover got larger and roomier for 2014, with fresh styling, a sportier ride and room for up to eight passengers. For 2015, it continues with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive with a fuel-saving 187-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or peppy 3.5-liter V6 that packs 270 hp. Highlander’s interior design features an innovative storage shelf under the dash and a Driver Easy Speak system that can broadcast parental messages to unruly children in the aft rows. An AWD-only gas-electric hybrid version offers 231 hp and a 27 mpg city/28 mpg hwy EPA rating.

Autotrader’s Advice

The Pilot is the same highly popular and very livable midsize family crossover it’s always been but loses its IIHS Top Safety Pick rating for 2015 due to more stringent small-overlap front collision standards. In terms of livability, the EX, SE or EX-L are smart choices because they include most of the equipment buyers are looking for. The EX comes with alloy wheels and a power driver’s seat. The SE adds SiriusXM radio, a power moonroof and rear-seat DVD entertainment. The EX-L brings heated leather seats and a power front passenger seat, plus the option of navigation.

Look for well-maintained lower-mileage examples or, even better, a Honda certified pre-owned Pilot. Always get a vehicle history report, and even though none were announced as of the time this report was filed, make sure the Pilot you are considering has had all applicable safety recalls performed by the dealer. 

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  1. The “boxy” styling of this generation still looks modern, and has a solid masculine character.  To my eye it is FAR preferable to the nondescript soccer mom blob of the later model years, those look way too much like the nondescript Nissan and Buick 3 row models.  Sloped roof lines and rounded bodies = much less efficient use of space, and needlessly restrict rearward and side views for the driver.  I disagree with all the “cons” mentioned in this review, the 2015 base (LX) model 17″ wheels look really good (and replacement tires cost less than 18″ or larger ones), ride is smooth and quiet at highway speeds (unsolicited, many of my passengers have mentioned this). Seats have all day comfort, color of the gauges is a personal preference and not an objective comment, most will think they look just fine.  No idea what “flinty” ride quality means, these ride nicely.  Base model is very nicely equipped, with 3 zone climate controls, power mirrors, trailer hitch, remote door locks, individual tire pressure monitors, power windows that open remotely, vanity lights on the visors, same motor and trans as the upper trim levels, 8″ backup display, an ok stereo w/subwoofer, lots of useful storage. AWD has never got stuck during Colorado winters, including some big blizzards that left many FWD vehicles stranded.  The actual cons are; non-intuitive climate and audio controls (my biggest long term gripe), a cruise control that varies 2-3 mph on hilly roads (annoying but not a big deal), and the need to change the VTM-4 fluid every 15K (same difficulty as a typical DIY oil change).  The base LX model is a home run for the price point.   

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