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2009 Honda Pilot Test Drive

With design improvements to the new 2009 Honda Pilot,  a 680 mile test drive was given to the first one that we drove back to our dealership in Nashville, Tennessee. This test drive has enabled me to give you this Accurate report of the new 2009 Honda Pilot 2WD Touring.

As many of you know, I am the inventory purchaser for Accurate Auto Sales.  Even though we are a fully independent, non-franchised business, our sales team is  more than just a used car lot. At Accurate, we specialize exclusively in the sales and service of Honda and Acura vehicles. Our Sales Department travels considerable distances to obtain the Honda and Acura vehicles that you want and this pursuit requires a trip to Central Florida nearly every week to attend the dealer auctions, where American Honda is a major consignor.

Yesterday, I purchased several Acura and Honda vehicles from American Honda, via dealer auction. These vehicles included a 2008 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan  with 8 miles on it, a 2008 Honda Accord LX-P Sedan with 8 miles on it, a 2007 Honda Pilot EX 4WD with 17,038 miles on it, a 2005 Honda S2000 with 34,693 miles in it, a 2005 Acura RL with 42,082 miles on it and a 2009 Honda Pilot 2WD Touring with 12,243 miles on it.

The reason I could obtain this 2009 Honda Pilot so early in the model year is because it had been driven as a company car for American Honda and had been included in the pre-sale inventory with the rest of the Honda and Acura vehicles offered that day


The biggest improvement with the introduction of the 2009 Honda Pilot Touring is not having to choose between Navigation or RES/DVD….Since the Honda Pilot was introduced in 2003, if a buyer wanted a “loaded” Pilot, they had to choose between  Navigation or the Rear Entertainment System. If they wanted both factory installed options, and wished to stay in a Honda built SUV, they would have to opt for a 2003 to 2006 Acura MDX Touring with a 189 in the middle of the vin or a 2007 / 2008 Acura MDX with a 284 or 288 in the middle of the vin. Starting in 2009, the Honda Pilot Touring is available with both Navigation (including back-up camera) , and the Rear Entertainment System (RES / DVD).

Some of the other notable changes and  “creature comforts” involving this 2009 Honda Pilot Touring include:

1. The relocation of the gear shift from the steering column to the center instrument panel. American Honda had already moved the gear shift on it’s Odyssey vans between the 2004 to 2005 body style change and starting in 2009, the gear shift in the Honda Pilot has been moved as well. Personally, I like the move because many of our customers, especially women appreciate the unobstructed center console area but do not like the gear shift location on the steering column in the 2003 to 2007 Honda Pilots….The Acura MDX has always had the gear shift in the middle of the center console and that is a notable negative with many of our customers.

2. Additional headroom. Another positive, especially for the taller folks, is the additional headroom in the 2009 Honda Pilot. While the 2003 to 2007 Honda Pilots already provide ample headroom for most, especially when compared to the lower roof line of the Acura MDX, the added size of the 2009 Honda Pilot interior provides an open and roomy environment whether riding in the front seats, the center or the third row.

3. Driver’s Memory Seat. First introduced by American Honda in the late ’80s on the Acura Legend, this “creature comfort” has probably saved countless relationships. American Honda currently incorporates  Driver’s Memory Seat in all 2007 and up Acura models, the 2005 to current Honda Odyssey Touring and the 2009 Honda Pilot Touring. The switches for this can be seen in the same photo that shows the rear hatch switch below. The switches for the memory seat are to the right of the inside door handle.

4. Parking Sensors. Again, first introduced in the Honda production of vehicles on the 2005 Honda Odyssey Touring, these sensors are located on the front and rear bumpers. In the event the bumpers are getting too close to something while parking, the sensors activate an audible signal inside the vehicle which informs the driver. This is incorporated on the 2009 Honda Pilot Touring Edition and can be switched off in the event the driver does not wish to hear the signal.

5. Power Rear Hatch. First introduced on the 2005 Honda Odyssey Touring, is the Power Hatch. Starting in 2009, the Honda Pilot Touring has a control button on the inside of the left front door, a control button on the inside of the hatch itself and a control button on the 2 master keys. At the push of any of these control buttons, the hatch will automatically open or close smoothly and effortlessly.

6. Lighted Running Boards. While this might seem minor, I personally think that this indicates a direct courtesy that American Honda gives the female Honda Pilot buyer. Most of our customers like running boards to help them get into the Honda Pilot, the Honda Ridgeline the Honda CRV, the Acura MDX and the Acura RDX. If a lady is wearing a nice dress or skirt, a black running board can be a hard-to-see obstruction in the right environment, so American Honda illuminated it when unlocking the vehicle or opening a door. Not only does the lighting of the running boards look good but it also serves an important purpose.

The new 2009 Honda Pilot Touring is a very nice vehicle. However, the one negative that I give it is a considerable blind spot behind the rear doors. This blind spot is a result of the larger rear pillar post that supports the roof and is large enough that extra caution must be taken when changing lanes while driving.

In closing, I am personally impressed with the 2009 Honda Pilot Touring. I am also glad to see that American Honda chose to make the Honda Pilot an individual vehicle that stands on it’s own instead of being looked at as “in the shadow of the Acura MDX“. With the introduction of the 2009 Honda Pilot and the factory equipment associated with the Touring model, the Honda Pilot is equally equipped when compared to the higher models of the  2007 and up Acura MDX. In addition, the Honda Pilot can be bought as a 2 wheel drive or a 4 wheel drive unit, unlike the Acura MDX, which is only available in SH-AWD (4WD).

See how good MPG (miles per gallon) was on this 2009 Honda Pilot Touring during our 680 mile real-world test drive,     Click here.

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