Vehicle Overview

Honda launched the midsize Pilot sport utility vehicle for 2003, billing it as "not too big, not too small." Larger than the company's compact CR-V and youth-focused Element, the Pilot replaced Honda's Passport.

New for 2005 was a 255-horsepower V-6 that operated via a drive-by-wire throttle system. Upper gear ratios in the five-speed-automatic transmission were modified to yield smoother transitions. All trim levels added a tire-pressure-monitoring system.

More standard features, including a Maintenance Minder and three-row side curtain-type airbags, go into 2006 models. For the first time, a two-wheel-drive version with Variable Cylinder Management is available. The VCM system can automatically switch the Pilot's 3.5-liter V-6 between six- and three-cylinder modes to improve fuel economy.

Under new Society of Automotive Engineers testing standards, Honda's V-6 engine is now rated at 244 hp and 240 pounds-feet of torque. Actual performance is the same.

Three versions are available: LX, EX and top-of-the-line EX-L. Honda's Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability system and XM Satellite Radio are standard on the EX-L. A new rear camera is integrated into models with the navigation system.

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    Preparing to Drive
    You still need to exercise the same care when accelerating, steering, and braking that you would in a twowheel drive vehicle. 1. Make sure all windows, mirrors, and outside lights are clean a ...

    Opening the Hood
    1. Park the vehicle on a level surface, and set the parking brake. 2. Pull the hood release handle under the lower left corner of the dashboard. The hood will pop up slightly. 3. Push up th ...

    Armrest
    To use the console lid as an armrest, slide it to one of its three positions. ...