Discover Best and Worst Honda Pilot Years to Avoid Vs Best Reliable Years

Patrick Oziegbe
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Are you searching for a reliable and safe used car that won’t break the bank? Look no further than a pre-owned Honda Pilot best year- a popular midsize crossover SUV with three-row seating!

But before you start your search, knowing which model years are worth looking at for purchase and which model years to avoid is essential.

From pesky airbag malfunctions to transmission troubles, some Honda Pilot models have a history of issues and common problems you don’t want to deal with.

So, save yourself the headache and steer clear of 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2016 models, and look out for the proven best years for Honda Pilot to order.

With this knowledge and much more from our site, you can confidently navigate the used car market and find the perfect Honda Pilot.

Honda Pilot Years to Avoid

best years for honda pilot
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Let’s discuss some Honda Pilot model years reported to have issues. Specifically, avoid the 2003, 2005, 2013, and 2016 Honda Pilot.

These years have had documented problems with transmission, electrical systems, and engine performance.

To help you make an informed decision when buying a used Honda Pilot, I’ve broken down common issues by category.

Transmission Problems

The transmission issues you might experience with older Honda Pilot models have been mainly reported in the 2003 and 2005 vehicles.

These problems include transmission failure, which might lead to costly repairs. In these older models, torque converters have also been known to cause difficulties.

To avoid these issues, consider newer models, as Honda has improved their transmissions’ design and overall reliability in recent years.

Electrical Problems

An area where Honda Pilots have encountered some challenges is with their electrical systems. In particular, the 2013 and 2016 models have had reported electrical problems.

Consumer Reports has listed these model years as having below-average reliability. Potential issues could involve wiring, sensors, or even the infotainment system.

When choosing a Honda Pilot, check for any recalls or outstanding electrical issues before committing to a purchase.

Engine Problems

When looking at older Honda Pilot models, engine problems might also be a concern. The 2013 model has been identified as having some engine issues, although these are less common than the transmission and electrical concerns.

Proper maintenance and routine check-ups can help minimize these problems in older vehicles. However, if you prefer a Pilot with fewer issues, consider opting for a different model year.

By knowing the Honda Pilot years to avoid and understanding the common problems associated with those years, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing a used Honda Pilot.

Newer models or even other Honda models like the CR-V might better fit your needs. Remember, maintaining your vehicle with regular care will help ensure a smooth ride and increase the overall longevity of your Honda Pilot.

Reliability Ratings and Owner Complaints

Understanding the reliability ratings and owner complaints is crucial. In this section, we’ll discuss the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s findings and Consumer Reports’ reviews to help you make an informed decision.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Honda Pilot model years to avoid are 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2016.

We had transmission and fuel consumption issues these years, especially in the first and second-generation models (2003-2017).

The most common problems with Honda Pilot include:

  • Transmission failure
  • Fuel consumption issues
  • Instrument panel malfunction

The latest models released from 2019-2022 are much more reliable, so if you’re looking for a used Honda SUV, consider these newer models.

honda pilot years to avoid
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports also highlights specific Honda Pilot model years to avoid. The 2003 Honda Pilot consistently receives poor ratings due to many owner complaints and issues.

Regarding the best Honda Pilot year, 2022, 2021, and 2020 models have been praised for their reliability and performance.

To help you further with your decision, here’s a summary of the best and worst years for Honda Pilot:

The Best Years for Honda Pilot:

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2018
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2010
  • 2009

Worst Years:

  • 2019
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2013
  • 2011
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003

Keep these insights in mind as you search for your perfect Honda Pilot. Always check for owner complaints and conduct thorough research before purchasing even the best years. This will help you find the most reliable Honda Pilot model that suits your needs and preferences.

The Best Honda Pilot Years

When searching for the best Honda Pilot years, it’s essential to consider options that offer desirable features and reliable performance.

In this section, you will find a list of the Honda Pilot best years and a brief explanation of why they stand out.


These years are considered some of the most reliable in the Honda Pilot lineup, with fewer reported issues.

During this time, Honda Sensing and adaptive cruise control were not yet standard, but these Pilot models received high marks for fuel economy and overall reliability, making them excellent choices.

2013 and 2014

Honda Pilot owners appreciated the improvements in these model years, such as introducing the more fuel-efficient Earth Dreams V6 engine.

Although these years still lacked modern features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, they remain dependable among the most reliable vehicles.


Often mentioned as one of the best Honda Pilot years, the 2015 model received a refresh in design and features.

This year, Honda Sensing, a suite of safety technologies, provides a more convenient and secure driving experience. Plus, it continued to uphold the reputation for low, excessive oil consumption.


The 2018 Honda Pilot stands out for its comfortable and spacious interior, making it one of the best cars for families.

Newer models like the 2018 version offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard features and better fuel economy, making them more environmentally friendly.


If you’re looking for the latest and greatest, the most recent Honda Pilot models (2021-2023) offer the broadest range of features and technology, including an updated infotainment system, wireless charging, and many other conveniences.

These newer models are also praised for their advanced safety features and overall performance.

Comparisons with Competing Models

You should see a few close SUV rivals to Pilot and how they stack to each other.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a smaller SUV compared to the Honda Pilot. The CR-V might suit your needs if you want a more compact and fuel-efficient option.

The CR-V offers a comfortable ride and is known for CR-V excellent reliability. However, the CR-V has less interior space and seating capacity than the Honda Pilot.

Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander is another midsize SUV that competes with the Honda Pilot. Both vehicles offer seating for up to eight passengers, but the Highlander tends to have a slightly higher price tag.

On the upside, Toyota is known for its long-lasting vehicles, and the Highlander boasts a smooth, comfortable ride. It is worth considering if you value reliability and a reputation for quality. However, there are few Highlanders with issues.

Nissan Pathfinder

Another competitor to consider is the Nissan Pathfinder. This SUV also offers seating for up to seven passengers and has a user-friendly infotainment system among amazing beauties if you purchase a model considered the best Pathfinder.

Although it might not be as polished as the Pilot, it’s worth looking at when comparing features and price points. And avoid Pathfinder years with nagging issues.

Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is popular among American SUV buyers, offering style, performance, and practicality. The Explorer has a more rugged appearance than the Honda Pilot and a slightly higher towing capacity.

However, depending on the specific model year, the Ford Explorer may need to catch up to the Honda Pilot regarding fuel efficiency and overall reliability.

When considering the best SUVs for your needs, it’s crucial to research each model’s features, reliability, and performance.

Contact other pages on our site and 3rd parties like Kelley Blue Book for in-depth reviews and pricing information. Additionally, take each vehicle for a test drive to get a feel for their handling and overall comfort.

Honda Pilot Maintenance and Costs

Standard Features

The Honda Pilot has multiple standard features contributing to its overall appeal. Some of these features include:

  • A powerful V6 engine,
  • Advanced safety features like lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and collision mitigation braking system,
  • Comfortable cabin with ample seating for up to eight passengers,
  • User-friendly infotainment system.

These standard features make the Honda Pilot popular for families and individuals seeking a reliable, spacious, and comfortable SUV.

Fuel Economy

When considering the Honda Pilot, fuel economy is an essential factor. Based on various model years, the Pilot’s fuel economy ranges from 18-20 mpg in city driving and 26-28 mpg on the highway.

However, older models, such as those from the past, may experience lower fuel efficiency due to transmission and fuel consumption issues.

Therefore, choosing a model that provides reliable performance and fuel efficiency is essential.

Cargo Space

The Honda Pilot SUV offers ample cargo space, a significant advantage for those seeking a versatile vehicle.

With all rear seats folded down, you can enjoy up to 83.9 cubic feet of storage, while folding down just the third row increases space to 46.8 cubic feet. Even with all seats in use, you’ll still have a respectable 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space available.

While the Pilot boasts considerable cargo space, maintenance costs, and joint problems should be considered when purchasing this Honda SUV.

For example, some worst model years have higher probabilities of experiencing transmission issues, which can be costly to repair.

On average, the annual maintenance cost for a Honda Pilot ranges around $600; however, this could increase when considering the potential for more significant repairs.

Pilot’s Buyer Guide: What to Look for

You should pay attention to the model years with the best reputation for reliability and minimal issues.

For instance, the model years 2007-2009, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2021-2023 are considered some of the best years to buy. Avoiding the worst years, such as 2003, 2005, and 2016, is crucial.

Features to consider when choosing a Honda Pilot include passenger capacity, engine performance, fuel efficiency, and safety features.

Evaluate each used Honda Pilot for any signs of excessive wear or previous accidents, and always test drive the vehicle to ensure it operates smoothly, with responsive handling and a comfortable ride.

Pricing and Value

Also, please note the market demand, which might directly affect the prices. For example, a low-priced, excellent-condition Honda Pilot may be hard to find due to their popularity in the used car market.

To determine a fair price, consider factors such as the vehicle’s-

  • Age
  • Mileage
  • Overall condition
  • Features and options
  • Service History

Research comparable vehicles in your area and consult online resources like Kelley Blue Book to get an idea of the market value for a specific Honda Pilot year and trim level.

When negotiating with a seller, use the collected information to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to walk away if a deal seems unreasonable.


Ford Explorer

These are The WORST Ford Explorer Years to AVOID at All Cost

Interested in the Ford Explorer? Be aware that not all models are reliable. Some have hidden problems that could be costly. We’ll highlight the Ford Explorer years to avoid due to known transmission and steering issues:
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