2013 Honda Pilot Preview

Jeff Youngs | Mar 04, 2013
  • Backup camera now a standard safety feature
  • Full-size SUV offered in four trim levels
  • Multi-system four-wheel drive enhances off-road capabilities
  • Rollover sensors added to 2013 model
  • Independent suspension provides car-like handling
  • Proprietary HandsFreeLink Bluetooth connection and USB port are standard


The Honda Pilot is a midsize crossover SUV. It shares a platform and mechanical setup with the Acura MDX, which is the luxury version of the vehicle. Its platform is also common to the Odyssey minivan and the Accord sedan. It has unibody construction with independent suspension and features front-wheel drive or a 4-wheel drive system called Variable Torque Management 4WD (VTM-4). The Pilot seats up to eight occupants with 3 rows of stadium-style seating. Properly equipped, the Pilot can tow up to 4,500 lbs. The 2013 model is little changed from the previous year, but has added a backup camera, rollover sensors, Bluetooth connection, and USB port as standard features. The Pilot is available in four trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring.

Exterior Features

Standard exterior features include a tailgate with lift-up glass hatch, variable intermittent wipers, remote keyless entry, folding power side mirrors, acoustic windshield, rear privacy glass, multi-reflector automatic halogen headlights , and an integrated Class III trailer hitch. The EX trim adds 18-inch machine-finished alloy wheels, body-colored side mirrors, fog lights, and a security system. The EX-L adds a tire-pressure monitor, one-touch power moonroof with tilt feature, and power tailgate with a lift-up glass hatch. The Touring trim includes a trailer harness and body-colored power folding side mirrors with memory and integrated turn signals.

Interior Features

Standard interior features include tri-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control and air filtration, power windows with auto-up/down driver's and front passenger's window, power door and tailgate locks, cruise control, illuminated steering wheel-mounted cruise, audio and phone controls, multi-functional center console storage, tilt and telescopic steering column, 12 cup holders, four power outlets, 60/40-split, flat-folding, sliding and reclining second-row bench seat, 60/40-split, flat-folding 3rd-row bench seat, 229-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with seven speakers, including subwoofer, and a 2 GB CD library. The EX trim adds power adjustment, including lumbar support, to the driver's seat. The EX-L trim upgrades to a leather-trimmed interior with heated front seats and 4-way power adjustment to the front passenger seat, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio. Main additions to the Touring trim are the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition, an intelligent Multi Information Display (i-MID) with high-resolution 8-inch display, a DVD-driven rear entertainment system, integrated second-row sunshades, floor mats for all rows, greater adjustability to driver's seat, and a 650-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers. The rear entertainment system and the navigation system are optional with the EX-L trim. With second- and third-row seats folded, a total of 87 cu. ft. of cargo space is available in the 2013 Pilot.

Optional Features

Stand-alone options for the exterior include upgraded wheels, roof rails, ski attachment, snowboard attachment, surfboard attachment, roof-mounted bicycle attachment, trailer-hitch-mounted bicycle attachment, kayak attachment, crossbars, soft cargo bag, short or mid-size roof box, door edge guards, nose mask, black or chrome side steps, lighted or premium running boards, various trailer hitch accessories, hood air deflector, wheel locks, tent, fender-well trim, door visors, moonroof visor, and trailer hitch cover storage bag. Interior options include all-season floor mats, regular or premium cargo net, cargo liner, cargo organizer, cargo cover, cargo tray, cargo divider, second-row seat cover, and interior bicycle attachment.

Under the Hood

The Honda Pilot's standard engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 250 horsepower and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard. Honda's proprietary Variable Torque Management 4WD (VTM-4) system (optional) delivers power to all four wheels when needed.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy figures for the 2013 Honda Pilot are:

  • Pilot FWD: 18/25/21 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Pilot 4WD: 17/24/20 mpg


Standard safety features include rear-view camera, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution, driver's and front passenger's active head restraints, dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, front side airbags with passenger-side occupant position detection system, three-row side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (insert model year) Honda Pilot receives an overall rating of 4 stars (out of 5 stars): 4 stars for frontal crash protection, 5 stars for side impact crash protection, and 4 stars for rollover crash protection. The Pilot was named a "Top Safety Pick" for 2012 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which gives the 2013 Pilot a "Good" rating (its highest) in all categories.

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